Prior to the release of their Netflix dramedy Dasvi, lead actors Abhishek Bachchan and Nimrat Kaur look back upon their teenage days, reflect on the nerves they now feel that could get as close as it gets to feeling the board exam jitters, and give a special piece of advice to their 16-year-old selves.
Sneha Menon Desai: Dasvi, the word, is a mood. After school, what's the closest you've come to feeling those nerves in life?
Abhishek Bachchan: Pretty much every Friday before a film's release.
SMD: Is it similar?
AB: It's probably worse. I was, dare I say, pretty nonchalant about my exams. I loved going to school, I loved learning. I wasn't particularly fond of examinations, nor do I feel that they are indicative of your intelligence. But yes, the time of film releases isn't the best time to be an actor.
For me, having been born and brought up in this film industry, I understand the importance of a Friday and what it can do to you, your career and family. The importance and relevance of that one day is very important.
SMD: You grew up seeing so many Fridays.
AB: Yes, but weirdly, it didn't matter as much then, I feel. I think that was because they did so much work. It obviously did matter but I think today there's a lot more pressure. I feel very bad for the younger generations that have come in now. The audience was a lot more patient and tolerant of actors earlier, they gave them a few more chances. Today, it's your first film or they don't [give you another chance]. Perhaps that could be a reason why it's more stressful for me now, because when I started in 2000, the audience were already transitioning. They knew what they wanted but they would still give you a little bit of leeway.
Nimrat Kaur: I don't envy the kind of stresses that you [Abhishek] have faced and seen. This is only my third film even though I have been working since The Lunchbox. For me, it is the first day on set that is like that biggest examination you have to take. I'm very jittery on my first day on set. I'm a mess.
SMD: Abhishek, I recently saw your dad's post calling you his heir – it was all things sweet – did you get a chance to ask him what he really meant?
AB: Yes, it's actually a line from one of my grandfather's poems. He has actually written it quite often but it's the first time he wrote it with regards to me. I was incredibly touched and moved. I mean, what more would a son want than an endorsement from their father right – especially if your father happens to be your idol, hero and the best at doing what you do? The only sad part about it is that he's not in town. He's in Rishikesh for a shoot, so I can't even go up to his room and give him a hug. So, I suffice with just facetiming him.
SMD: If you had to give a piece of advice to your 16-year-old self, just ahead of your 'Dasvi,' what would it be?
AB: 'Take it more seriously.' It is one of the regrets that I have looking back at that phase of my life. I wish I had a lot more focus. I understand the true ramifications of it a lot better today than I did 22 years ago. Back then, I was just this fresh, off the boat, out of college youngster who wanted to be an actor and was just more than happy to get a job. After trying to do so for a period of time, I was just excited to work with JP saheb (JP Dutta). But there's a level of gravity that you need to carry into doing that. It's a huge privilege to be featured on screen. Don't take that lightly.
NK: For me, it would be: 'Nothing's the end of the world.'
SMD: It's almost the opposite of what he said but I love how they both make so much sense.