In an exclusive chat with ETimes, Jatin talks about his journey as an outsider, his equation with Manoj Bajpayee, his last conversation with Satish Kaushik and a message to Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Gulmohar is very much liked by the audience. How does it make you feel?
The kind of love and appreciation we are receiving for Gulmohar is a very special feeling. As actors, we want the audience to connect with the story and I am glad that people can connect with it. All of us were completely engrossed in our characters and by the end of the shoot, we had become like one big family. From the very first day of the shoot, a strong bond was formed between all of us.
How was your rapport with Manoj Bajpayee on the sets?
We talked about many things. He had seen my previous work in The Great Indian Murder, which was directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia. He gave me his feedback that he really enjoyed my work. I have grown up watching his films and idolize him as an actor. So it’s been a huge thing for me to work with him, to sit down and talk about my work and his personal experiences because I look up to him. I got my personal masterclass on acting from him. It was a dream come true.
You have been a part of many projects like Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, The Great Indian Murder, Delhi Crime 2 and now Gulmohar. Does it make you feel like you’ve finally arrived?
I don’t know whether I have come or not. And I don’t even know how to do it. I have been a complete outsider. I belong to Haryana, brought up in Delhi and I come from a typical middle class family. Neither did I know anyone from the industry nor anyone from Mumbai. When I came to the city in 2016 to fulfill my dreams, I didn’t even know where I would live. So when I started doing theatre, I felt that finally my dream of becoming an actor was coming true. So it was also a big deal for me to reach there. And acting in films was like winning an Olympic gold medal for me. My parents were very proud when I finally started earning money, as they were not really sure whether I could make acting my profession or not.
You have worked in the upcoming film Patna Shukla with Satish Kaushik. Would you like to remember your last conversation with him?
My last conversation with Satish ji was only 2-3 days before his death. He also wished me Holi and told me that he wanted to meet me. I had a wonderful relationship with him. He was planning to produce and direct a film for me. He was a gem of a person. I really enjoyed chatting with him. He talked about the time when he came to Mumbai, his childhood memories and different experiences in life. He is also a resident of Delhi’s Karol Bagh, so I used to connect with him a lot. He used to guide me how to do certain scenes on camera. I am deeply saddened by his departure.
You have mostly played negative roles on screen. Does it turn you on more?
I kept doing roles that came my way, be it negative or positive. The emergence of OTT has taken away the fear of being typecast in certain roles. People are not afraid to take risks and experiment with different things. It is a good time for all the actors now. I am open to all kinds of stories and roles.
Being an outsider, have you made any friends in the industry?
Yes. I have. But he is mostly busy with his work so we don’t meet that often. If I had to count, Rajkumar Rao, Divyendu Sharma, Jaideep Ahlawat, Vijay Verma, Jaswant Singh Dalal, Sharib Hashmi and Prateek Gandhi would definitely figure in my friend list. I don’t even need to ask him for help if I ever have a problem. I have faith that He will be with me in times of trouble.
You got your big break with Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. Tell us about your relationship with Nawazuddin Siddiqui?
People really liked that film and I am still getting messages for my performance. It feels great when the audience remembers and appreciates you. It was a fun and entertaining film. Many times people recognize me from this film when I am sitting in a restaurant or a public place. This was my first full-fledged assignment with Nawaz.
I have good relations with Nawaz bhai. If you are sitting in a closed room with him and both of you are totally involved, you will definitely come out with something or the other. He is very down to earth. He is a cooperative person. I was a newcomer but still he respected me a lot and worked with me. I am fortunate to have worked with such a great actor. Whenever I have met him, he has encouraged me a lot.
Nawaz’s family issues have become public. what would you like to say to him?
As actors, we have to be very sensitive and sensitive. This is the nature of our work. We are all emotional athletes. We have to be very practical in the outside world which is completely different from the reel world. We should give her some time to deal with her problems. I don’t like it when such personal issues come out in public. It should not happen. I am supporting for Nawaz bhai. I am sure whatever he is going through in his personal life, he will come out of it with grace, dignity and respect.