Prateik Babbar, the Next Big Thing

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Prateik Babbar, son of the late Smita Patil and Raj Babbar has been named “The Next Big Thing” by CNN-IBN’s Entertainment Editor Rajeev Masand. The young actor made everyone sit up and take notice with his nuanced performance in the hit film Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na as Amit. In a conversation with Masand he talked about Jaane Tu, acting, and many other filmi things. Here are some highlights from that interview.

When asked when did he first know he wanted to act he replied, “I think after Donny Brasco. It was when I wanted to become an actor. Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. I was like this is what I want to do and this is what I can do. There was Donny Brasco, there was The GoodFellas, there were so many Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino films. I think they just did it for me. I was like that is just what I want to do now.”

About landing the role of Amit in Jaane Tu Prateik said, “I was doing a lot of production work before that with Mr. Prahlad Kakkar and he actually happened to send me to this audition. So I went and I did it and I nailed it. They liked me and that was that. I knew Imran from before – we have a lot of common friends – so I was like, ‘hey why not’. Let’s go have some fun on the sets.”

He said that they had a wonderful time on the sets but that Abbas Tyrewala, the director, was always there to rein them in if need be. “It was a ball though. Abbas let us do our thing, but in case we got out of hand, he would tell us what to do.”

Prateik said he is a big fan of Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan and their films have inspired him since he was young, “A lot of Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan films. I think Main Khiladi Tu Anari and god, there were so many. I think Main Khiladi Tu Anari was like my favourite film.”

Acting is in his blood since his mother Smita Patel was also an actress; sadly she died when he was very young. “I think sometimes she is just this imaginary person. I think now I know a little about her from her films and what people like Naseer sir have told me about her. I keep hearing things about her everyday and about her sisters. So I do know a bit about her – she was a great human being and a very dedicated actress, you know just a great person at heart and that reflected in her movies I think.”

When Masand asked, “What are your favourite films of your mother’s?” He replied, “There was Chakra which I really liked. The way she portrayed her character was so real. I think Naseer sir was brilliant in that film as well. He was like wow. Then there is Mirch Masala in which you see a lot of attitude and she plays with her eyes a lot. Then there is Namak Halal, Shakti. She had this really sweet aura, something that really comforted you.”

Talk then went on to films that Prateik would have loved to be in and he listed Dev D and Rock On!!, “There was Rock On!! and there was Dev D. These were like wow and I can just imagine myself in these films. I am sure I would have nailed a part in them.”

The talented actor will next be seen in Dhobi Ghat with Aamir Khan directed by Aamir’s wife Kiran Rao.

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