“I remember on my first day of the shoot, Raju (Hirani) sir sent Priya (Dutt), my picture, telling her ‘this is the girl who is playing you’, and she said, ‘oh my God, she does look like me’. Now, I would like to know what she feels after watching the film,” Aditi Gautam said talking about portraying Priya Dutt in Sanju. The Rajkumar Hirani directorial is grabbing eyeballs for its perfect casting, with Ranbir Kapoor as Sanjay Dutt leading the bandwagon. But, here is a newcomer whose resemblance to Sanjay’s sister Priya Dutt is eerie and striking.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpres.com, Aditi said, “While doing a biography or playing a living character, there is so much that you have to reveal from the body language to the way the person looks, talks and carries themselves. So I feel it is a lot more challenging compared to playing a fictional character.”
Laughing at how people fail to identify her in real life, Aditi shared, “To be honest, I really don’t know if people are recognising me the way I look. Yesterday, we had our (Sanju) screening and Paresh (Rawal) ji didn’t recognise me at all, because he has never seen me with long hair (laughs). Then Ranbir was like – she is your daughter sir. So if my own cast can’t recognise, I don’t blame the audience!”
“I’m getting calls and people want to know who the girl playing Priya Dutt is. The response is great. I’m overwhelmed right now,” she added.
Talking about her preparations to get into her part, Aditi shared, “I haven’t got a chance to meet her yet. But yes, I did see a lot of her interviews, throughout from her young days, like Rendezvous with Simi Garewal to Jeena Isi ka Naam Hai. I understood the kind of bond she had with Sanjay Dutt and her father. You realise that at the end of it, she is just a simple girl in the family. She is the younger sister and a daughter.”
Sanju also stars Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirana, Dia Mirza, Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor and Vicky Kaushal. Joking about how it was playing the sister to one of the nation’s heartthrobs and superstars – Ranbir Kapoor, Aditi said, “I feel we are over the whole stereotype and stigma that once you play a sister, you can never play a certain different character or you can never romance the person. We have Priyanka Chopra who played Ranveer Singh’s sister in Dil Dhadakne Do and his wife in Bajirao Mastani. That’s the reason why I chose this film. Secondly, because it was a Raju Hirani film. I couldn’t say no to it.” So will she want to romance Ranbir in any film? “Of course! Doesn’t it go without saying?” she remarked.
Aditi Gautam on Sanju co-star Ranbir Kapoor
“Ranbir is a very talented guy on set. I’ve had my scenes with him and as an actor, I have learned a lot from him. He would make you very comfortable, will give you your space at the same time. He is really fun to work with,” Aditi added while talking about working with Ranbir.
And how was it being directed by Rajkumar Hirani, one filmmaker in Bollywood with a hundred per cent success rate? “He is just amazing. As much as I talk about him, will be less. I’ll never be able to define him completely. I think even if I had got a blink-and-miss role, I would’ve taken it. He makes his films in two years. I mean, who does not want to work with Raju sir? And he is so good at his job. He just knows how much he wants, what, where is it supposed to be done, how he is going to portray his characters to everything. That’s the beauty about him,” she shared.
I asked her how much of a creative liberty did Raju Hirani take to convert a real story onscreen, and she said, “Raju sir has shown the true Sanjay Dutt. He has shown the right and wrong decisions of that man’s life, throughout his journey in a very transparent way, which I think is commendable.”
Aditi has also been part of two Telugu films – Neninthe and Vedam. Credited as Seiya Gautham in the southern film industry, she revealed how her experience from regional cinema came handy in Bollywood. “Yes, because we already know what camera facing is, what cinema and filmmaking is all about. Like what I have performed today has a lot to do with my experience in cinema for whatever time I’ve been here,” she explained.
The actor also shared what she has learned from being a part of Sanju and Bollywood so far. “My whole perception about Bollywood being very starry and all of that, that’s definitely not there. They are all very nice and humble people. Second, things that I’ve learned in my acting from Raju sir, from Paresh ji. I take a lot back from Sanjay Dutt as well. The man has got through his struggle and has stayed strong, his family, his friendship, all of it is just amazing. I’m going to take all of this back with me,” she said.
“I have a lot of fond memories, from every day, because it’s my debut. It is always going to stay with me forever. I don’t think I could have a better debut,” she signed off.