By Vinayak Chakravorty
Sidharth Malhotra confesses nervousness as he gears up for the release of ‘Shershaah’, his ambitious new film slated for an OTT release on August 12.
This is the first time he is playing a real-life hero and the protagonist happens to be Param Vir Chakra recipient Captain Vikram Batra, hero of the Kargil War.
“I was aware his family would watch the film, and that made me nervous. We wanted them to watch the film,” says Sidharth, opening up for a chat. The film’s trailer was earlier released on the eve of Kargil Vijay Diwas here.
There was an element of anticipation too, for the actor. He tells you ‘Shershaah’ is “a dream that started five years ago”, and talks of how the project changed a few hands before Karan Johar and Dharma Productions took it up, to ready it for release.
These past months have been hectic, wrapping up the project, and now flying up all the way to Dras for the trailer launch and promotional interactions with select media.
“The recurring emotion has been of passion,” says the actor, on what goaded him all along, for what could be the biggest release of his career yet.
In ‘Shershaah’, Sidharth plays Captain Batra and his twin brother Vishal, siblings with very different personality traits. Which role did he find tougher to imbibe?
“It wasn’t easier or harder playing either role, because I wasn’t portraying a double role in the traditional sense. It was more about portraying two real-life characters, in what has been my first real-life film,” he explains.
The conversation moves to the film settling for an OTT release, what with cinemas only cautiously opening up post-pandemic lockdown. The plus point, as Sidharth notes, is this gives the film viewership across 200 countries.
“The plan was always to go for the big screen at inception, but there are no theatres around. On the other hand, we reach 200 countries on OTT, and that’s the biggest distribution we could have hoped for,” he says.
These days, the bigger the film and stakes, more the chances of social media reactions, which could go either way. Sidharth is glad his ‘Shershaah’ journey has seen a largely positive reaction on the net. Overall, he underplays talk of trolling that stars of his generation are often prone to face.
“We have been trained to ignore it,” he says, about tackling toxicity, adding: “It all depends on how you deal with it. I choose to look at the positives.”
“Look at it this way. Social media also means bigger access. A while back, there was the print media only. Then came electronic media, and now social media expands reach. It’s not always bad. The other day a fan sent me gifts thanks to social media awareness of the film. You need to move ahead with technology,” he sums up.