Aditya Seal, the other boy from Student Of The Year 2 managed to capture everyone’s attention right in the trailer. With his beard and moustache shaved for this role, it took me a little while to realise that he is the same actor who played Shekar in Tum Bin 2. But did you all know that Tum Bin 2 is not the first Bollywood film Aditya has acted in? His journey as an actor began in 2002 with Ek Chhotisi Love Story. So, to know more about him, I met him for an interview.
Running a little late, he apologised as soon as he entered for keeping everyone waiting. He finished a couple of interviews before mine and since it was past afternoon, his team asked him to have his meal. “I don’t want to break the flow. Let’s finish this,” he said. Since we were doing a print interview, I told him to go ahead with the meal but he politely refused. Soon after, we began our interaction. Sitting across the sofa, we spoke about a number of things from him being a brat in school to Student Of The Year being an important film in his career, his love life and much more.
Excerpts from our chat with Aditya Seal:
MM: You started your journey as an actor in 2002 with Ek Chhotisi Love Story. Can you tell us something about that film?
Aditya Seal: I think I was 13 or 14, at that time. And I wasn’t a 13/14 years old, who is a 13/14-year-old now. Our brains were not so developed back then. So it actually happened over an audition. I remember going to Hiranandani where they were auditioning. My dad got to know about it and we went over there.
I hated learning lines to audition. And this was the first audition ever where they said you could keep the script in your hand and say it. I said, ‘Woah’. I remember they had served us Domino’s pizza. I had that, gave the audition, got a call in the evening saying “Aditya, you’ve been selected. Why don’t you come down we’ll do the formalities and everything“. I went there and I said, ‘Okay, sir. Tell me more and when do we start‘. They said, “Tomorrow 9 am on set you will know everything“. We started the very next day, and then finished the film in 16 days, top to bottom. And then whatever kaand happened, happened after.
Yes, whatever the entire controversy was, it happened after. I had no idea about the film. We shot it differently. I had separate shots, the action was shot separately. They just made it look like I was watching everything, but I had no idea what was happening. The first time I saw the film was in Gaiety Galaxy. We had a premiere over there and it was me sitting in between with my mom, dad, grandmom and granddad, and we witnessed the magic altogether.
How awkward was it for you?
Honestly, I didn’t realise what happened at that time because I was immature, a late bloomer and didn’t know what was happening. I think my parents freaked, but they didn’t speak anything in front of me, but I heard them saying, “Yeh kya karwa diya“.
If I’m not wrong, you were also pursuing cricket.
It was around the same time, maybe before slightly. Was it after, I don’t remember actually. So yes, I was pursuing cricket, I wanted to be a cricketer. I think I was decently good at that. Then suddenly my height shot up and when my height shot up, this bone (on the knee) just popped out, randomly. I wasn’t hurt, there was no accident, nothing at all.
Then I had to go to the doctor and he said that this will subside only when my height stops growing. I was around 19 or 20 and by that time it was too late and I couldn’t play cricket anymore because even if you’d touch it, I’d be down with pain, I would be on the floor. I had to give it up.
If given a choice to go back, would you still continue with cricket?
I wish I was. Not that I could choose either or, but I wish I could do both. Yes, cricket is fantastic. I watch it a lot, play a lot.
Was it after Ek Chhotisi Love Story only that you were sure about being a part of Bollywood?
See, I was quite immature to understand what I wanted to do. It was my father who paved the way for me and I trusted him blindly. Why wouldn’t I? Jab thoda bohot hosh sambhala, tab tak I had understood that this is something I wanted to do, and then I just went for it. I felt I was comfortable doing it, people liked me. And then I said, ‘Chalo yaar, let’s continue this’. And here I am!
Coming to SOTY 2, it’s a big film, a Dharma project, how important is this going to be in your career?
Very, very important. I think in my career, I’ve been missing eyeballs, be it Tum Bin 2 or whatever, though we thought we had a winner, something went wrong. Here (SOTY 2) I get the eyeballs that I need and it’s very important because it’s set in a way, positioned in a way. A lot of people get to know you after you do a Dharma film. So it’s extremely important. And I have shown what I can do. For the first time ever, I have danced in a film, I have done fight sequences in a film and I just get to showcase everything I have. So I hope they like it.
Talking about your co-stars Ananya Panday and Tara Sutaria, how is it just being around them? They must have come with a new set of energy.
Absolutely, that is something you needed for Student of the Year 2. It had to be new and fresh. I think, on purpose, what they’ve also tried to do is keep a very young crew. The average age must be 26-27 (years). It’s just the vibe that these girls created, you go back to the times you were in college. We have forgotten that, but they take you back to college. You play off them because they are actually playing their own age, so it’s nice to have that. It makes it easier for me, as a character, to be like, you gotta play it like this, play the way she is playing it.
Can you share some anecdotes from the sets of Student of the Year 2 that we do not know about yet?
So Punit (Malhotra, the director) has a habit, it’s not a habit, he just does it on purpose, he’s funny like that. So he just tries to flirt, it’s very harmless. The girls he flirts with, he’s been doing that with them forever and they are like, “What will you do? Just get out of here. Punit just shut up and go”. But he just keeps harmlessly flirting, there’s nothing to it, but it is so hilarious. That’s how he is. And I have pictures of that. Slyly I have taken pictures and videos. Now he knows that I have it.
How were you as a student in school?
I was a brat. Yeah.
Have you gotten into trouble?
Yeah, lots of time. I have been slapped by girls a lot. I was harmless, I didn’t do anything, I would just trouble them, and at times, I would trouble them a lot, but not in a dirty way. At times they couldn’t take it anymore. I remember being slapped thrice by a girl. There was this one girl who chased me down and I was running for my life and I have never been more scared in my life. I said, ‘Agar main iske pakad mein aa gaya na toh aaj mujhe peet degi ye’.
And college toh bunk hi kiya hai pura. My attendance was like 3 per cent or something like that. All my friends and I used to go to Mocha in Juhu and have fun over there. Great, great days. The friends that you make back in the day, they still remain. They are still my best friends, we’re 6-7 of us.
You are playing a character with grey shade in the film. Do you want your filmography to be a mix of all kinds of roles?
Absolutely, it has to be everything. It has to be something on the lines of Shah Rukh Khan. He’s played the baddie in be it Baazigar, be it Darr, be it Anjaam, and he’s played the best of guys. He’s also played a dwarf, he’s played a fan, he’s done Chak De! India, yaar. I want to do everything, but right now, I want to play a serial killer. Yes, it interests me, this stupidty interest a lot.
Moving on, the content of the film is important, but do you think that even reach and exposure that a film has is equally important?
See honestly, I would love to do something which includes both because eventually, you are never happy when the producer loses his money. So content is king, most definitely. Uri, content, but it had a massive reach. So a balance of both is something very important.
But, at the same time, if something excites me a lot and I know maybe it’s not very commercial, I’ll still do it because I am doing this for my creative satisfaction and I need to give myself that at times.
You are still carving your path as an actor in the industry. But how secure are you in your space?
I am extremely secure. I’m not worried about the competition. I read about what people are doing and I am very happy. People succeeding makes me very happy. It doesn’t trouble me. It just inspires me. Vicky Kaushal inspires me. I think with web space opening up, with the audience becoming more receptive to new content – be it Badhaai Ho, Andhadhun – I think there is a lot of stuff available now, it’s just who bags it. Something good will come.
As an actor, how easy or difficult is it to sustain in Bollywood?
Very difficult. You constantly have to recreate yourself. You can’t keep doing the same thing, the audience will eventually get bored of it. Even if you try and experiment, it may or may not pay off.
What I believe, what Ranbir (Kapoor) has done, his films may have worked, may not have worked, but he has worked because he is always done justice to the characters and the roles he’s played. I really adore that. There’s not been a film where I felt that it was a bad performance by Ranbir, never. The films may be good or bad but he was brilliant. So he recreates himself every single time, and that’s very important. It’s difficult, but you got to keep doing it.
What has kept you motivated in your low phases?
I believe a lot in ‘The Secret’. I keep telling myself ‘you’ll be the king of the world someday’. I don’t know in what way, how that’s going to happen, but I keep saying it, and I believe it by now. So I know there’s something bigger for me in store, and that just keeps me going. And my father’s support has been immense. I think that he is my biggest critic, but also my bigger fan. He’ll just keep motivating me.
My dad’s worked all his life since he was a teenager, he is still working. And he doesn’t tire at all. That inspires me. My grandfather kept working until he was 85. These people around me automatically motivate me. So, I don’t need any other motivation or inspiration. I have it in my family, have it in my blood.
There have been reports about you tying the knot with Anushka Ranjan.
Who has spread this? I have no idea, I really want to know. It’s been eating my head. Matlab not at all.
It was surprising to read that.
I said ‘what?’, I’m thinking about Student Of The Year 2 releasing, what are you guys talking about me getting hitched and engaged. Not at all. I’m very much focused on my career right now. There is no chance of me getting hitched or engaged at all. This is all false rumour, it’s BS.
But is Aditya Seal in a relationship?
I am great friends with her, she is a fantastic girl. I enjoy spending time with her and we would make a great pair but we are not.