Strapping and unconventional, this actor has proved his mettle with every performance, including rave reviews for Gehraiyaan. HELLO! unearths the secret to his easy confidence and the conviction behind his craft.
His Instagram bio reads, “Hustle Se Hasil”, a sign of the conviction this dynamic young man brings to his work. The face of Bollywood’s young and restless today, this former chartered accountant gave up counting numbers to win hearts at the box office. Siddhant Chaturvedi rapped his way into our lives as MC Sher in Gully Boy and has now cemented his place there as Zain in Shakun Batra’s Gehraiyaan.
The 28-year-old has an unconventional appeal and easy-going confidence that endear him to everyone he encounters, his self-assured and focussed nature an added bonus. There’s a child- like enthusiasm balanced by clear-sighted maturity in Chaturvedi, as he articulates his responses. How would he define brand Siddhant Chaturvedi?
“It’s bound to change over time, but right now, it’s all about aspiration and charting my path,” he says. “I’ve made my own way through the jungle. There have been thorns, puddles, hard and soft surfaces, but I’ve made my way. Be it the scripts I choose or the brands I endorse, they are all a reflection of my aspiration.”
Chaturvedi likes to describe himself as the “representative of many hopefuls” in this hard- to-crack industry. From playing a conman in Bunty Aur Babli 2 to an ambitious, smooth talker caught in complicated relationships in Gehraiyaan, he’s shown his range and versatility and declared that he’s here to stay.
“I want to show people that if I can do this, so can they. There are many others more talented than I am, many whom I auditioned with and many who were part of my theatre group who are waiting for that big break. I want to tell them to not give up and never compromise on their beliefs.”
As we converse, we can’t help but picture Prashant Kanaujia, the teenage cricketer from web series Inside Edge, and MC Sher from Gully Boy, who mentored Ranveer Singh’s Murad to channelise young and restless today, this his angst through hip hop. Gauging our train of thought, Chaturvedi laughs: “I’m nothing like any numbers to win hearts at the box office. Siddhant of my characters! It’d get boring if I played myself on screen. I may as well be a chartered accountant in a firm. I save my real self for such interviews.”
Before Inside Edge, Chaturvedi debuted with web series Life Sahi Hai. These success stories made Zoya Akhtar approach him for Gully Boy, when we could say for certain that he had arrived. Given the varied range of each of these characters, he shares an anecdote dating back to before he was cast in Bunty Aur Babli 2.
“Adi sir [Aditya Chopra] had asked me whether I was open to doing a commercial film. I told him I had grown up watching Bollywood films. Govinda movies were my jam. I can sing, dance and master the masala aspects of movies in my sleep. It was the genius of Zoya that made me play MC Sher with such conviction. I want to experience all that the industry has to offer.”
Much of Chaturvedi’s appeal lies in his straight- forwardness, an aspect of his nature that was on full display in the viral video with Gehraiyaan co- star Ananya Panday. At a newcomers’ roundtable, Panday had alluded to her own struggle despite her film background, to which Chaturvedi had quipped: “Jahaan humare sapne poore hote hai, waha inke struggle shuru hote hai [their struggles begin where our dreams get fulfilled].”
The proverbial outsider, the actor attributes his success to his deep sense of self-belief. Describing life post Gully Boy as surreal, he says: “Even when I went through rounds of auditions, I believed in myself and knew I’d make it because I’m honest with my craft.”
So what does stardom mean to his new-age actor? “It’s never been about the money, fame, or paparazzi attention for me. I’m a simple guy who goes home to his family at the end of the day. Stardom, to me, is having the luxury to choose the scripts and characters I want to essay, not portray just the ones I’m asked to. I’m grateful I get to do so.” “I’m determined to never compromise. Even when seeking work, I picked only what resonated with me. They say beggars can’t be choosers. Well, I chose even when I was a beggar,” he shares with a mischievous grin.
Currently in the news for his electrifying chemistry with Deepika Padukone in Gehraiyaan, Chaturvedi admits he had spent the past two years gauging audience taste.
“You need to produce really good content to retain viewership. I’m mindful of that. Writers and stories dictate content. I know I don’t want to repeat anything that I’ve done. I look for new, exciting challenges that will redefine me and my journey.”
Although Bunty Aur Babli 2 may not have lived up to expectations, the actor says having a movie release and offers in hand are validation enough that he’s on the right path. Just three films old, Chaturvedi’s next is a horror-comedy flick, Phone Bhoot, with Katrina Kaif and Ishaan Khatter, a project that he’s thrilled about.
“It’s a wacky comedy, a genre I was too excited to try my hand at. It’s a story about ghostbusters and offers unlimited entertainment. Ishaan is an awesome actor, one of the best we have, and Katrina is gorgeous; she lights up the screen,” he shares excitedly.
Chaturvedi has two more projects in the pipeline: romantic thriller Yudhra with Malavika Mohanan and coming-of-age drama Kho Gaye Hum Kahan with Ananya Panday and Adarsh Gourav.
Surviving in the Hindi film industry is no piece of cake, and a challenge that not many can face unscathed. But Chaturvedi knows the tricks to stay grounded and true to himself.
“Humility is key. You need to be clear about what you want but never forget where you came from and where you are headed. My mantra has always been to keep moving forward. My responsibility is to entertain and inspire people through my craft, and in my capacity as an actor, I’ll do as much as I can.”
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s August 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!