Sushant Singh Rajput Was Overweight During Kai Po Che! Audition, Reveals Director Abhishek Kapoor

Director Abhishek Kapoor, who has worked with late actor Sushant Singh Rajput in celebrated projects like Kai Po Che!  and Kedarnath, recently opened up about the star in an interview. Speaking to Siddharth Kannan, Abhishek Kapoor talked about his bond with the late actor, who made his Bollywood debut with the filmmaker’s Kai Po Che!  “I remember Sushant being very overweight when we auditioned him and my condition to him was that, I showed him a picture of an American actor and I said, ‘You got to look like this because you’re a cricketer.’ He wouldn’t say much. He was not a man of too many words. But in 3 months, he worked so hard and he would be there at six in the morning for cricket practice, the gym training and by the end of it, he looked like it,” he said.

When asked how Abhishek Kapoor – who tends to not repeat actors – came to work with Sushant Singh Rajput again in Kedarnath, the director said that he had offered Sushant Singh Rajput another film Fitoor as well, but it did not work out. Explaining further, he said: “I remember after Kai Po Che!  Sushant was probably one of the most sought-after actors in the business. Every filmmaker was considering him at that time. They loved him in the film… Sushant’s character dies [in the film],  and he is a cricketing guy, so a lot of attention went towards him.”

Adding that Rajkummar Rao and Amit Sadh, who also feature in Kai Po Che!  are also “powerhouse” performers, Abhishek Kapoor said: “I had a connection with him [Sushant Singh Rajput]. I wanted to cast him for Kedarnath. I thought he was just right.”

Speaking about Sushant Singh Rajput’s spiritual journey, Abhishek Kapoor said: “When I went for the first recce, I went with him and Sara [Ali Khan]. I remember in the beginning – he is a man of science– he was not as spiritually into it as he was by the time the film was over.  In the beginning, he was not sure. He had also gone to the facility where they are experimenting on the God particle in Switzerland. There they have a huge sculpture of Shiva. Spirituality finds you at the right time. It found him when we were making the film. In a science place like that, he experienced the presence of Shiva there and connected the dots… We both discovered the power of Shiv ji while making this movie. And he just got deeper and deeper into it.”

While talking about Kedarnath, Abhishek Kapoor said that he was working with Sushant Singh Rajput after a gap of seven years. He mentioned, “There was a slight change in him as an individual but he worked so hard. In that movie, Sara’s first day of the shoot – and even the first day of Sushant’s shoot  – we were shooting a rain sequence up there in Kedarnath. It was so cold…It must have been one or two degrees in the night. All night, they were drenched in the rain. He led the way. He did it first.  Sara saw him doing it and she also realised that okay if this guy is doing it, I will also do it. That’s what drove her to do it. If I had to take him out of the equation and expect somebody else to go through that kind of pain for that shot, I don’t think anybody would be able to do it, independent of the example that he set.”

Adding that Sushant Singh Rajput was a “bit disturbed” in those days, the filmmaker said: “He was a bit disturbed in those days. There were a lot of articles about him which were very unpleasant. I know Sushant. He was a very strong guy mentally and physically he could take on anything. He was a great guy. I do remember that there were many articles about him. And he was just braving the storm and I think he was finding himself to be very isolated and quite helpless…He was drifting away in those days.”

About the aftermath of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, Abhishek Kapoor said that the issues with the industry that were highlighted needed to be discussed. He expressed, “It was very sad, what happened. It just needed to be addressed and I’m glad it got addressed. Just the prevailing scenario and the unabashed manipulation that was going on in the industry through so many forces. And I think there has been some change that has come after his passing.”

 Director Abhishek Kapoor and Sushant Singh Rajput worked together in Kai Po Che! and Kedarnath     

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