‘PLEASE DON’T PULL MY CHEEKS’

Darsheel Sa­fary, the cutie from Taare Zameen Par, is ready to be a lead­ing man in Bol­ly­wood

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - Front Page - Sub­hash K Jha htc­ity@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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)

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