Sidharth Malhotra’s journey from ‘zero creativity’ modelling, facing ‘jail-like’ auditions, to assisting Karan Johar in My Name Is Khan

Written by The Frontier Post

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NEW DELHI: Many said Sidharth Malhotra has arrived after his career got a jump with Shershaah last year. Playing Captain Vikram Batra gave him the spotlight, which was much awaited. “There are many new producers and directors today who want to make good and different kinds of films.

It doesn’t matter if you have a relative in the industry or not,” Sidharth told indianexpress.com in an interview dated 2014. According to him, what mattered was the choices you make. “For me, the most difficult move was when I chose to quit modelling, and applied for a position of an assistant director,” he said. On Sidharth Malhotra’s birthday today, here is looking back at how his career started.

When Sidharth Malhotra faced the camera as an actor for Karan Johar’s Student of the Year, there wasn’t any hesitation. That’s because he’s been modelling since 18. Sidharth went on to do advertisements, walked the ramp at Paris and Milan, and even won the Face of the Year at Gladrags men’s pageant in 2009. But it wasn’t something he saw himself doing forever.

Sidharth said though fashion shows and photo shoots helped him “groom, get into shape and figure out what works for me, in terms of clothes, fashion and health,” it gave him “zero space for creativity.”

“You don’t use anything other than your physical appearance to advantage. And I wanted to challenge my potential. So at the age of 21, I decided I wanted to pursue something that would excite me a little more. And I quit,” he told us.

Sidharth got rejected in his first audition for an ad. Later, he bagged a big one for Ponds opposite Sonal Chauhan for which they shot in Bangkok. Today, he doesn’t look back at those auditions fondly. He told DNA in 2017, “(It is) Only maybe for people who are frustrated and have to make ends meet, they know they have to survive such auditions.”

“At auditions, they make you feel terribly small and unimportant because there are hundred like you roaming around. That’s why I digressed and became an assistant director. It was a very negative environment. It didn’t help me grow and kept me in the same loop,” he added.

A chance audition for a film in Delhi helped Sid find a direction. Though the film never happened even after waiting for six months because the makers wanted a “bigger actor”, but Sidharth realised movies fascinated him. And unlike others who approached production houses seeking a role in a film, he applied for the job of an assistant director instead. He bagged one for My Name Is Khan. Soon, he was on set with the biggest names in the business – Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Karan Johar.

Sidharth Malhotra confesses that he was “at the bottom of the film industry’s food chain”. He was among the juniors as it was a big film with a humongous crew. It was still a huge learning experience for him. In his words, it showed him how a film is made in shots and pieced together. It taught him camera angles and direction methods, and the technical know-how that came handy to him when he faced the camera for SOTY.

The road to SOTY wasn’t easy too. Before the movie came to him, the actor gave several auditions for TV. But the sight of hundreds of aspirants dressed up similarly and queuing up was disheartening. “Then someone would come and ask me to say something random like, ‘Naam bolo,’ in a weird way. It was like a bloody jail where you have to say your name, number and act out something. People used to ask me to do some stupid, imaginary car-driving, or enact some lines or talk in some weird accent,” he said.

For the unversed, Sid played a small role of Jaichand in Rajat Tokas starrer Dharti Ka Veer Yodha – Prithviraj Chauhan.

Student of the Year was indeed a dream debut for him. He went on to be part of interesting projects like Hasee Toh Phasee, Ek Villain, Kapoor & Sons and Baar Baar Dekho. While praises continue to come to him for Shershaah, Sidharth has films Mission Majnu, Thank God and Yodha in his kitty in the coming months.

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