The teenager was recently seen in the adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Booker Prize winning novel. CS caught up with Darsheel to find out what he has taken away from the film and what lessons he’s learnt from Bollywood:
My New Year’s gift
It was the night of December 31 two years back when dad told me that I was doing a film based on Salman Rushdie’s novel. So, it was a nice new year’s gift for me. I was in the eighth grade then. I didn’t know what the film was all about until I attended one of the script reading sessions. It seemed slightly complicated to me. Everyone else was well-versed as they had read the book before. I would sit and observe all the veterans around me. My elder self in the film, Satya (Bhabha) uncle, and I would meet up often to discuss how he would walk and talk while playing the role. We had to have similarities.
Everyone around me was speaking fluent English and this was a first for me, as I am more used to Hindi and Gujarati. Sometimes, people would speak so fast and with an accent, that I would not understand them. So, in the beginning, I had to ask Deepa (Mehta) ji all the time to explain things to me. But, later I got a hang of it so well that I started speaking English with an accent and Deepaji had to remind me every now and then to speak in Indian English. The atmosphere on the sets would always be light-hearted. But Deepaji would make sure that I knew that I was doing a tense scene and so I had to act accordingly.
While shooting for the film, I learnt patience. I was supposed to have a prosthetic nose during the film and I would have to come one-and-a-half hours early to get the make-up done. So every morning, there would be two people glaring at my nose. At first, it was really irritating, but then I got used to it. The make-up guys who had come down from Canada were really good. They got me some nice music and I would listen to it while they worked on my nose. So all-in-all, I had some fun people to work with and nobody ever bullied me. I have gained a lot of valuable experience at a young age. I have had the opportunity to work with veteran actors and I feel lucky. I am sure when I grow up, all this knowledge will come to use.
My classmates tease me saying, “What’s up star?” But they treat me like any other friend, and that’s the best part. They are very helpful. After Taare Zameen Par, I went to school after a two-month break. In that time, they had covered the portion filling four notebooks. All my friends helped me cover the portion. So, I know that they are always there for me. After any project that I do, I am not worried about catching up with my studies. Also, no matter how good or bad my performance is in a film, all that matters to my friends is that I am in that film.