‘PLEASE DON’T PULL MY CHEEKS’
Darsheel Safary, the cutie from Taare Zameen Par, is ready to be a leading man in Bollywood
He is no longer the child prodigy who broke millions of hearts in Taare Zameen Par. Once upon a time — okay, it was 2007 — Darsheel Safary was the youngest actor to be nominated for Best Actor alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De.
A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Now Darsheel is poised for his debut as a leading man.
“I am 20 now, no longer the kid from Taare Zameen Par. It’s surprising how people remember that film and my character Ishaan to this day. And I don’t mind. In fact I love it… as long as they don’t pull my cheeks,” laughs Darsheel, who is now playing the lead in a teenage rom-com that deals with one-night stands. Bachcha badaa ho gaya hai! “I knew you were going to say that. But I was hoping you wouldn’t,” Darsheel mocksighs. “I did quite a few films as a child, including Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children. But it’s Taare Zameen Par that I am known for. Fair enough. But I’ve moved on. I am a grown-up. The transition from child actor to a leading man has been smooth. I did theatre in between. I think I am now a passionate student of acting and cinema.”
This new film just fell into Darsheel’s lap. “It’s one of those things that are bound to happen in life. I didn’t want to make my debut as a leading man in any random love story with six songs, two new girls, and three location changes. I wanted to do something that would reflect my own state of mind and the way people of my age react to love and life. This was what I wanted.”
Darsheel describes the moment he walked into the producer’s office. “It was like a treasure house. There was a handmade poster of Sholay, visuals of Baahubali and Robot. The place felt like I belonged there.”
Darsheel’s debut film goes on the floors next month. The young actor says with great excitement, “We start in March and finish in 40 days. I am super-excited because the film talks a language that I do, and discusses young people’s preoccupation with dating, breaking up, one-night stands and lack of commitment.”
Darsheel Safary; a still from Taare Zameen Par (inset)