Spot­light Be­tween and 35

With two back-to-back film re­leases slated this month, theatre and film ac­tor Jag­jeet Sandhu is an­tic­i­pat­ing meatier roles and unique char­ac­ters

India Today - - CINEMA - mm _ By Sukant Deepak

Cut to fif­teen years ago—his rel­a­tives and oth­ers in his na­tive vil­lage Him­mat­garh in Pun­jab would al­ways laugh when­ever he said that he wanted to be an ac­tor. It was the time when no one in his vil­lage had seen the face of a univer­sity and act­ing meant per­form­ing on the streets. But 26-year-old Jag­jeet Sandhu, who made his de­but with Taran Mann’s Pun­jabi film Rupin­der Gandhi (2015) and started do­ing street theatre ever since he was in class IV, al­ways knew that he would un­dergo rig­or­ous for­mal train­ing to un­der­stand the nu­ances of this art form. “The Na­tional School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi was the ul­ti­mate aim. Though it didn’t work out as I was un­der­age, and there­fore had to seek ad­mis­sion to Pan­jab Univer­sity’s Theatre Depart­ment in Chandigarh. But I have no re­grets” he says.

Sandhu, who also per­forms with Nee­lam Mans­ingh Chowdhry’s theatre group The Com­pany and was seen in her lat­est pro­duc­tion Dark Bor­ders and Deepa Me­hta’s film Anatomy of Vi­o­lence. He is ex­cited about his forth­com­ing films, both of which will be re­leas­ing this Au­gust. “Vikram Thori’s Rocky Men­tal (Au­gust 18) and Rupin­der Gandhi 2 will see me in ab­so­lutely dif­fer­ent roles,” says the ac­tor who was also seen in Qissa Pun­jab (2015), di­rected by Jatin­der Mauhar.

Ask if he feels any dif­fi­culty os­cil­lat­ing be­tween theatre and cin­ema, and Sandhu is quick to as­sert, “I don’t let their tech­niques in­ter­act and have equal re­spect for both the medi­ums. So, there is sel­dom any con­fu­sion,” says the ac­tor who is now look­ing out for scripts that go be­yond the set for­mu­lae. He feels that work­ing with young di­rec­tors who are not averse to try­ing some­thing new would be an en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “Slowly but surely, Pun­jabi film di­rec­tors are re­al­is­ing that the au­di­ence has ex­po­sure to in­tel­li­gent cin­ema from other In­dian lan­guages and abroad. Their ap­proach is chang­ing,” says Sandhu.

Cut to present—when­ever he vis­its his vil­lage, ev­ery­one wants a pho­to­graph with him.

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