Amit Sadh’s performance of an alcoholic but righteous cop in the web series Breathe is being lauded by all. The series gives this fantastic actor ample moments to shine despite having a stellar name like R Madhavan as the antagonist, and Amit manages to incredibly impress. It is almost pitiful for Bollywood to have overlooked this fabulous actor for years. While other actors often regarded as “underrated”, like Rajkummar Rao (who starred alongside Amit in Kai Po Che) and Ayushmann Khurrana, are finally being hailed, Amit is yet to get his dues as a performer. But things appear to be changing after Breathe. In his own words, Amit said, “I could have never expected that the response could have been like this at all. Very, Very overwhelming. My phone is going on and on. I hope this never stops.” We hope so too.
We met up with Amit for a conversation and just as much as a talented actor, he is a charming host. As we sat down in his living area, with a giant portrait of Muhammad Ali looking over us, he was all pumped up to answer my questions. Here is how the conversation went.
What is the most overwhelming response you have received from someone?
The kind of things people say! When Sultan came or Kai Po Che came, people said ‘good acting’ and other adjectives and superlatives and it finished. For Breathe people are discussing the character as if the character is a real person. And Amit kind of has a password to talk about Kabir. They are treating Kabir as a live human being and discussing his life, his journey through his portrayal. The kind of things people are saying, they are… I never thought as an actor that my work, craft or portrayal of a character will be discussed with such an applause, craze and understanding.
Your acting has always received good reviews.
I have been lucky that people have been giving me more chances and appreciated.
Though despite getting rave reviews we don’t see you very often on screen. Why don’t you get good work?
I have a thing, if you don’t see me often but you see me in Breathe, you will take me away with you. Or when you see me in Gold. You will think that you see me less but whenever you see me it is worth it. I will rather do quality work, meaningful work that has an impact on audiences and critics. I don’t want to gain their perception in one film, I have time. What I am bothered about is me – the human being me, the actor me. Till the time you, your readers and my critics are acknowledging me, I am happy. People discussing Kai Po Che and Sultan back in the day and today are actually giving me their validation.
How did Breathe come to you?
So, Vikram Malhotra who is the producer from Abuduntia had signed for a film called Fanney Khan, with Shivam Nair, after Kai Po Che, a lot of people don’t know that. So he was the first guy, who actually believed in me. Of course, that movie did not happen. He just called me one day that he is going to make a web show for Amazon Prime and he wants me to do it. And as usual, before getting any work, 10 people tell the producer to not cast me. It is my karmic debt to prove people wrong. Vikram then told me that some people have said Amit won’t be able to play this role and he is too young to play such a complex character. But then he said, “I have firm belief that you can, so just let us wait for one month. I will convince everyone and you are doing it.” The first shot that I gave (for Breathe), he was there and told me that “You are Kabir Sawant”.I thanked him for his belief and asked him to wait for the last shot and told him that he will be proud of me and his head will rise in pride that I did not let him down.Yesterday, he called me at quarter to twelve and said that he is very proud of me and that my life is going to change in the morning. I told him that I have been waiting for that for the past 14 years and hope it changes now.
This was one of my questions and you brought it up… Has it ever happened that you auditioned for a role but lost it out to someone because of recommendation?
Certain things keep happening. I don’t give a fuck. I don’t care. I might sound arrogant but I have a philosophy. I care about myself, my behaviour, my conduct, my goodness, my learning. There is an abundance of work if you don’t give me work in acting, I know how to clean and how to drive. If you don’t give me work, I will go and work somewhere else. But I am grateful that I have met people who have supported me. I am lucky I have people who believe in me. They are fewer people but they are powerful people, and their power in the love and belief they have in me. There are a few producers who give me work and few people who back me and I am happy with that.Who can’t understand me or don’t give me work, one day they will. That is my guarantee.
What was the toughest scene for you to shoot for Breathe?
The entire role is tough. To play such a complex and damaged guy who is yet the hero is a thin line. I had two options. One was to act, which is an easy way. And the other way is to become him. To feel his pain, wrath, pathos, and to live with it each day till the work is done. It was painful and very difficult and emotionally draining. But when people today call me talking about Kabir Sawant in a more real form, than Amit Sadh, that is my reward.