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Veteran actor Shatrughan Sinha was at his wittiest best while addressing an audience at Kala Academy Black Box at the International Film Festival of India, as part of the FTII workshops. Calling himself a friend of society and an artist, his meet and greet encounter was one that was honest, inspiring and of course entertaining

When the ‘Khamosh’ actor spoke


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Admitting that he hadn’t prepared much to speak at the concluding workshop of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) at IFFI 2016, the actor whose one dialogue ‘Khamosh’ still rings our ears, was present to speak to cine enthusiasts and those have an inclination to make it into the film world as actors.

He made it quite clear that he has not been an invitee of the festival: “I have not been invited by the organisers of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), but am here because of FTII- my alma mater, through Entertainment Society of Goa.” He was a bit discontented about not being given a proper accreditation despite being a part of the festival.

Encouraging those present, and who have the inclination to become artistes/actors he said, “Acting can be done by anyone. It is not tough. If you’ve taken to the mirror in the right direction, if you have the courage and determination and most importantly passion, anyone can become an actor,” he maintained, before saying that if he could become an actor, anyone else can in today’s time. “Art and culture saved me in school as I was bad in academics,” he said.

A noted actor turned politician he said that he joined politics because he thought he could contribute to society in a different way. “If good people don’t join politics we have to be governed by bad people”, he said. He joked about how while his parents wanted him to become a doctor, he wanted to be an actor but as fate would have it, as a politician he was central minister for health.

He also advised the aspiring actors to ignore those who mock or don’t believe in them. Referring to one of Mahatma Gandhi’s quotes he said: “Consistency and persistence will grant you success and respect.”

Talking a bit about how he made it big he said that the key was in being unique, not copying or imitating anybody. “You see people copying me or using me as their role model. I never copied anybody; I have proved to be different from the others. I don’t compromise on originality,” he said before adding that his famed dialogue ‘Khamosh’ is used and overused that today it’s not meant to just say ‘shut up’, but is also used very romantically.

He used the opportunity to reveal that his actual name is Shatrughna which he changed to Shatrughan as suggested by the late acclaimed director Mani Kaul who had told him ‘naam se kaam chadega’. He spoke about how there are struggles in attaining success, recollecting when he used to be even without food some times. He also went on to say that today, stars like him, including Amitabh Bachchan had to struggle for they came without any industry backing. “Sometimes the journey with twists and turns is more important. Your tough demeanour during the course of the journey will help you get the final result,” he said adding that Raj Kapoor was, is and will always be his inspiration.

An active campaigner against the use of tobacco, Sinha said that he decided to quit smoking after he was out of breath while shooting a 55 second action shot with Rajesh Khanna. “I took some time, but gave it up without the use of any alternatives,” he said.

Talking about the director-actor relationship Sinha maintained that cinema is a writer’s and a director’s medium without which, actors cannot perform their best. He said: “Actors just look at their role, while a director looks at everything in totality.” He believes that there should be a teacher-student relationship between experienced directors and actors. “Where a director is not that experienced, it should be at least like friends,” he said.

Known more for his negative roles, Sinha said he would play any roles offered to him. “In fact I played a villain’s role not like a villain but as a character, which was liked not just by boys but girls, too,” he said before adding that while most people who play villain roles are expected to do rape scenes, he hated it despite being nominated for best supporting actor in the movie ‘Paras’ where he has a rape scene. “I took a vow never to shoot rape scenes again. Many tried to persuade me to do rape scenes and that’s part of a villain’s character, but it was something I wouldn’t give into,” he said.

On being asked about what he feels today for not being part of two great films, ‘Sholay’ and ‘Deewar’, he said, “Sholay didn’t happen because of human error as I was very busy. I am sad and happy, sad because I wasn’t part of it, happy because my friend Amitabh Bachchan who played the role initially offered to me attained huge success and respect on an international platform.”

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