Prateik Babbar: No one helped when needed
Prateik Babbar talks about making a comeback to films
Having featured in last week's release, Mulk, Prateik Babbar says he worked hard to overcome his drug addiction and return to acting. In his bid to resurrect his career, the actor approached his industry friends for work, but says they turned their back on him.
The actor completes a decade in the industry this year and reflecting back, he says it was a roller-coster ride with its own share of ups and downs. "It has been fair bit of struggle, fair bit of celebration. Everyone has some sort of struggle. This is my struggle but I never gave up. The hunger helped me, I am hungry for work so I am here," Prateik told PTI in an interview.
"I have realised acting is my heartbeat and my lifeline. It's been one hell of a roller-coaster ride. I am very fortunate for this phase I am in. I am grateful that I am here today and no looking back anymore. I am ready to go, hungry and passionate and positive and I am more confident now," he adds. He was among those rare breed of actors who bagged a Filmfare Award for their debut film after he starred in 2008's "Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na", alongside another debutante Imran Khan. A string of flops and his addiction to drugs had a damaging effect on his career but as he has overcome all these setbacks, Prateik believes he is a survivor and is a more evolved person now.
"Unfortunately, I was enslaved into all the wrong habits, so I couldn't communicate and express. I didn't have the mindset and resources. I actually started acting upon it in 2016 after my grandmother passed away. "I had a very tough time with my drug abuse phase I feel lucky to have survived. I realised that I need to come clean so that I get right positive thoughts and act upon it," he says.
In his bid to resurrect his career, the actor approached his industry friends for work but they turned their back on him. Prateik says facing rejection was "heart-breaking" and "demotivating" but he was hopeful to get work. "I knew I had to be seen. I tried all avenues and reached out to sort of all people. I wanted to work be it theatre, that were done on a small scale or short films." "I worked for absolutely no money because I was worried about people forgetting me. It was a gradual process. I was making an effort to get back to the game. I really wanted to get back and the hunger has made me reach here. I don't want to lose it now."
There have been instances in Bollywood when people have rescued one of their own but Prateik says that was not the case with him. "The industry supports and stands by everyone. Everybody stood by me as a sweet kid, like Smita's ji son and Raj ji's son but nobody stood by me when it came to work. "Nobody was ready to work with me. I didn't have the capacity to work. In terms of pushing me for work or saying 'Take him for a film,' that did not happen. It was my own battle," he says.
The actor's latest release is Anubhav Sinha's Mulk, alongside Rishi Kapoor and Taapsee Pannu. In the film, he plays Shahid Mohammad, a misguided youth whose actions lead to devastating consequences for his family. "Shahid is a misguided youth and it is very unfortunate that he falls into a vicious, dark trap, that leads him to terrorism. But in no way he is a negative character as he doesn't want to be a terrorist. There is uncertainty and confusion. It is unfortunate circumstances that he gets trapped into," he says.
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