Ahan Shetty made an impressive film debut last month with Sajid Nadiadwala’s Tadap opposite Tara Sutaria. I remember being blown away by the intensity he possessed just in his eyes and his action skills were also exemplary. It’s about to be two months since the film’s theatrical release, and now Tadap is all set for its digital premiere tomorrow. An excited Ahan got into a candid conversation with me where he spoke about the film and changes he has seen since.
It’s been close to two months since the film’s release. Are you still getting response and feedback from people?
Surprisingly, yes. I was just talking to someone yesterday about it that the film is still playing in theatres in London. People watching the film internationally have been messaging me to appreciate my performance and the film as a whole. The love is still coming in and hopefully after January 28, more of it will come.
Even amidst the pandemic, you were able to have a grand launch with a star-studded premiere and all. Considering the situation around, did it make you feel more grateful?
Definitely, I was very grateful towards Sajid sir. We started filming in 2019, and were 80 percent done when the pandemic hit. We had to take a 10 months gap and start reshooting. For him, as a producer to just hold on to the film for a theatrical release after everything, just showed how much he trusted me. I was grateful that the film was able to release theatrically and have a premiere.
Speaking of the wait, when I spoke to your director Milan Luthria, he had told me that you got so anxious once that you called him to ask if the film was going to happen at all. How did that anxiety play with your mind?
There was anxiety but at the same time, the whole world was going through so much that I just couldn’t think of only myself. The whole world was at a standstill. So, I wasn’t really thinking about the film so much in the sense that what is going to happen. Of course, I was a little anxious and stressed but I had surrendered completely to the film. Milan Luthria is a National Award-winning director and Sajid Nadiadwala is one of the biggest producers that we have, so I trusted them completely. They knew what they were doing and I just trusted them blindly. We did have a 10 month gap, but I was still training every day during that while because I knew that someday lockdown will be lifted and I had to go back and shoot. It could have been a three week lockdown or a nine month lockdown, everything was so inconsistent that I had to be ready for anything.
For you to be able to give numbers at the box office the kind that Tadap did, when you were just a debutante, that too amidst the pandemic, how did that success affect you?
To be able to do the kind of numbers we did during a pandemic definitely boost my confidence. But at the same time, I don’t want it to get to my head. I don’t think I have made it or I am a successful actor yet. Maybe a few years down the line and a few successes under my belt, I might be able to say that I have made it. But right now, I just want to be on my toes and give my 100 percent to everything I am doing.
Your chemistry with Tara on screen was stunning. How is that equation behind the scene and do you still stay in touch?
We got along really well. I met her the first time during the screen test for the film. And whatever you see on screen is because of the fact that we are so comfortable with each other behind it. I haven’t spoken to her in a while since after the film she got busy with Heropanti 2 while I was also travelling and then got down with Covid. But we still share that comfort.
In the last two months, a lot has changed for you with all the appreciation, love and recognition. What is Ahan Shetty’s current state of mind?
Definitely a lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same as well. A lot more people recognize me now but I have such a good group of people around me who don’t let it get to my head and keep me grounded. It is funny how sometimes people would recognize me and say hi, and what goes in my mind at that time is that I wonder do I know this person or should I. I forget that now that I have been a part of a film, people will recognize me now. Even when I was in London and was getting stopped, that feeling came back. So, that is something that has changed, but I am still the same.
It was really refreshing to see a grand launch like the one Ahan had after so long, as ever since the pandemic hit, such instances have become almost extinct. Tadap will now get to hit a whole new demographic as it releases digitally tomorrow, and I am sure it will gather as much love here as well.