Mom Smita an inspiration for my role: Prateik Babbar

The actor talks about his new film, India Lockdown, in which he plays the role of a migrant worker and recalls his days in the Capital

The poster of India Lockdown

Young and dynamic Prateik Babbar was born to renowned actors, Raj Babbar and Smita Patil. His pedigree gave Prateik a certain level of cushion when he entered the film industry.

Over the last 14 years, Prateik has established himself as a popular actor. He is known not only for his roles but also for his loving fans.

His mother Smita died at the age of 31 while giving birth to Prateik. While not having known her personally, Prateik has watched all of her mother’s films to learn acting and cinema craft.

As a mature actor, he now chooses his own characters and script.

Prateik, 36, who separated from his first wife Sanya Sagar, a film producer, before marrying Priya Banerjee, made his acting debut with Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na (2008). Since then, he has performed a variety of roles in 17 films, including several hit Bollywood movies such as Baaghi 2, Mulk, Ek Deewana Tha, Mumbai Diaries, Cobalt Blue, Dhobhighat, Bachchhan Paandey, Chhichhore and [web-series] Four More Shots Please!

Babbar has done justice to all his roles, whether it be that of a paying guest (in Cobalt Blue), Munna (in Dhobhi Ghat) or Madhav (in India Lockdown).

Prateik spoke to Patriot about his recent role: Excerpts from the interview:

Q: What kind of a role have you played in India Lockdown?

A: In the movie, I play the role of a migrant worker and depict how poor migrant workers are going through hardships. The film is a tribute to my late mother, Smita Patil, as it was her performances that inspired me to get into these rural characters.

Q: What’s your personal experience working with noted filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar?

A: It is absolutely a pleasure working with someone who has been honoured with the Padma Shri and received the national award five times.

Q: Who are your favourite actors in Bollywood?

A: My favourite actors are Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and my father (Raj Babbar).

Q: What kind of experience have you got working in the web-series Four More Shots Please?

A: Four More Shots Please! is a very popular show and I enjoyed working in it. The audience loved my character Jeh Wadia in this web-series. Hence, I am open to playing all these roles in various media.

Q: The audience connects you with your parents. Does it help in bagging roles and gaining popularity?

A: Yes, it is true in a way. My mother was a legend. The audience also connects with me due to my parents’ background as film actors. But I am not getting big offers of films because of my parents’ influence. It is correct to say that being born into this family has given me recognition and am proud of this fact. But as an actor, I have to prove myself by working hard.

Q: Can you elaborate?

A: As I said, it is not because of my parents alone that I am in the film industry. I am working hard and I am focussing on my goals. I am working 24X7 to achieve my goals. I have to focus on my work and devote plenty of time to doing better in my films.

Q: How do you recall Smita Patil’s films?

A: I have seen all of my mother’s films — Mandi, Bazaar, Manthan, Namak Halaal, Ghulami… I have seen them all. I love those real-life characters which she played in several films. I have learnt alot from these films and her characters and I got inspired to do different kinds of roles.

Q: Do you feel more comfortable working in web-series or films?

A: Mediums do not matter to me. Everything depends upon the craft, the story and my character. I am comfortable in both mediums. The story should attract me.

Q: There is a lot of mature content being shown in OTT these days. It can affect teenagers. As a young actor, what do you feel about this?

A: That’s true. OTT has pushed the boundaries and people are accepting it. Everybody gets influenced by this medium. But there is a choice. Nowadays, children and teenagers are very smart. They are capable of choosing good or bad.

Q: What are your memories of Delhi? Do you miss Delhi?

A: I have many interesting memories of Delhi since my childhood. I have relatives in Delhi. My aunt (Manya Patil Seth) lives in Delhi. Although I am working in Mumbai but I love Delhi and feel sad whenever I miss it.

Q: Any unforgettable memories from schooldays

A: Yes, I still recall going to picnics with my classmates. There are girls who I still keep in touch with. I also remember bunking classes in school and still recall those memories from childhood.

Q: What would you like to say about your role in Bachchhan Paandey?

A: I played a goon and I had to learn Awadhi language for that film. Now, I am happy that I have done justice to the role but it was extremely challenging at that time. Superstar Akshay Kumar, who plays the lead role in the film, has been my hero and I have admired him since my childhood. I loved working with him.

Q: How do you choose scripts now?

A: Basically, the story and the whole script need to resonate with me as an audience first. I need to understand whether it will connect with the audience. The rest follows it… director, producer, dates etc.

Q: How do you like acting?

A: I am always passionate about taking up various roles and love facing the camera. That gives me satisfaction and I enjoy the process thoroughly. I am hungry for roles and want to work with good people.

Q: What would you like to say about your role in Mulk?

A: I feel happy that my performance in Mulk got appreciated by the audience.

Q: Any message for aspiring actors?

A: I would advise younger or upcoming actors to work hard and work with honesty. They should love their gurus and respect them, appreciate their work then success will be yours.

Q: How did you get interested in Four More Shots Please?

A: When the producer talked about this project, I got excited since I liked the story because this is based on new-age women, who are unapologetic, live according to their choices and are empowered. I liked it because it’s a different kind of role and it gave me a lot of appreciation and popularity.

Q: Do you like acting in different mediums?

A: Yes, as an actor I love to perform a variety of roles and the medium does not matter. Nowadays, the digital platform is as important as going to a theatre. The audience’s choice is changing too. There are various OTT platforms. All platforms are very important for an actor. As an actor, I have to work in a lot of mediums to get exposure and entertain my audience. That is my duty and I am always ready to do this for my fans.

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