Hrithik Roshan starrer Super 30 has opened to positive reviews. The film, helmed by Vikas Bahl, revolves around the story of Anand Kumar, the ace mathematician from Bihar who trains underprivileged children for the IIT entrance examination under the Super 30 program. While television actor Mrunal Thakur plays Hrithik’s love interest, another small screen star, Nandish Sandhu, has made his debut with the film as Pranav Kumar, Anand’s younger brother.
Starting his career as a model, Nandish made his TV debut with Kasturi. But it was Uttaran that changed the actor’s fortune. The much-loved show made Nandish a popular star overnight. Last seen in Yeh Vaada Raha, the actor shared that he is now eyeing Bollywood.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Nandish opened up about Super 30, working with Hrithik, criticism and controversies around the film and more.
Excerpts from the conversation.
How did Super 30 happen?
Well, it was not something that just fell into my lap. I went through the entire process that usually happens in a film’s casting. I was called by the team, they told me about the role, we did auditions, screen tests and numerous meetings before I was finalised. I even met Pranav Kumar, the character I had to play. It was actually a long process.
What was your first reaction when you got to know you will be playing Hrithik Roshan’s brother?
It was amazing. I have always watched his films and followed all his work. As it was my first film, I was lucky to be working with Hrithik. Also, the most thrilling part was that I got to do a real life character in my debut project.
What kind of preparation went into the role?
I feel fortunate, as for a while now, I was longing to play a ‘real’ person. This was not only a good role but a great film with an amazing script. I have prayed for such a good debut and I couldn’t have asked for more. It is a performance oriented character that anyone would love to do.
Although not much is known about Pranav Kumar, Anand Kumar, in all his interviews, has spoken about the importance of his brother’s role in forming Super 30. What were your initial challenges of playing him?
The film is about Anand Kumar and his struggles. And his brother has been a constant support and an equal in this journey. They have such a beautiful bond. The challenge was definitely to bring that same bond and chemistry alive on screen. But honestly, with Hrithik sir around, it actually became a cakewalk. More than being extremely talented, he is a great human being. He really made me comfortable. And I think the bond that we built did translate on screen.
This being your debut film, were you apprehensive of Hrithik hogging all the limelight as Super 30 is mostly his film?
Everybody wants to do a lead role in a big film. But fortunately, times have changed and today, what really sells is a good story. The audience has become smarter and films are more about characters than heroes. Everybody who does a justified job gets accepted. There is no stigma or typecasting. And I can confidently say this as next week my film Family of Thakurganj as a lead is also releasing. We have overcome that phase. Just look at how Vikrant Massey or Rajkummar Rao have built their careers. If you are talented, people will pay to watch you.
Even before it could release, Super 30 got clouded by controversies. As someone who is just starting his Bollywood career, did it affect you in any way?
No, it didn’t make any difference. As a team, we decided to just concentrate on the film and our parts. Super 30 has a great script, a touching and inspiring story, which is high on emotions. We couldn’t let these things distract us as that would have spoiled all our efforts. We knew the law would take its course. But that time, we chose to focus only on our film.
The trailer also garnered criticisms with people mocking the accent and the darkened skin colour of the characters…
I have realised that all this is a part of a movie release. Positives and negatives will come your way. But when you know why have you done those things, all these comments don’t matter. Yes, if you did it half-heartedly or without conviction, it would have shaken us. As a team, we were confident and everything was well-thought out. We knew we had made a good film.
How different is the functioning of TV and films? Any plans of getting back on the small screen?
Honestly, for now, I want to focus on films. I started my journey on television and I have immense respect for the medium. But there’s a lot to learn as an actor for me right now. As for the differences, everything is different in the mediums be it the creative process or even how it’s shot. In films and now even on the web, there is a lot of thought given and there’s time to prepare. There is so much of detailing involved, that you need the time. With TV, creatives are changed within hours.
What are you taking back home from Super 30?
Lots of memories and learning. The best thing is that I am completely inspired by the story. Also, the kids, who have worked with us, have left a huge impact. They were not trained actors but have done a brilliant job. Their purity of thought, intention and emotion have left me touched. That’s the basic key to any performance and every actor should learn from them.
What’s next for you?
There’s Family of Thakurganj next week. And then I am in talks for another good project, but I am not allowed to talk about it. I will be making an announcement after a few weeks.