Coming up this Friday is Vikram Bhatt’s return to the horror genre with Shaapit. Debuting in the film is Shubh Joshi who landed the role in the film after Vikram Bhatt saw him on the reality show Bollywood Club. The actor is new to the big screen, but not new to acting. He has six years treading the boards of the theater and says that that was his “grooming ground” to prepare him for films. Meet Shubh as he talks struggles, landing Shaapit and his experiences working on the film!
How your journey started towards Bollywood?
Shubh Joshi: I have always been a part of local theater in Nainital. I had done theatre there for almost 4 years. Then DD channel came to Nainital for a reality show and that was the time when I thought for the first time to come to Mumbai and make a career in acting. I came to Mumbai and joined Kadar Khan Theater for one year. That was my grooming ground.
Have you taken any formal training for acting?
Shubh Joshi: I am from middle class family. Naturally they did not want me to come to Mumbai and try my luck in Bollywood. In fact, they were totally against it. Still I wanted to follow my dream, so I came to Mumbai. To survive I started modelling and at the same time struggled for a chance in films. When I had come here I had thought that it will be so easy to get a chance. But it was not like that. Before Shaapit, I had given five to six hundred auditions and it was always ‘we will let you know.’ There were some days when I did not have money for food and I slept with an empty stomach. Where was there scope and money for a formal training for me? My 6 years of theatre has been my teaching ground.
How did you get Shaapit?
Shubh Joshi:I was a participant of a Reality Show called Bollywood Club on Zoom and at that time Vikram Bhatt was there as a judge to promote his film 1920. After seeing my performance Vikram-jii came on stage and told me that he had really liked my performance. He even promised me a good role in his next film. And true to his , he called me for narration of Shaapit. And here I am, getting the chance of my life.
What was your reaction when Vikram told you that he will take you in his next film?
Shubh Joshi: I have seen many reality shows and although many times the judges give promises, no one has kept it. So I wasn’t sure if Vikram will come back to me. Before him, even Anees Bazmi-jii had also told me the same thing, but he never reverted or approached me like Vikram did. I have seen Vikram Bhatt’s movie Footpath and I was big fan of his. I had always dreamt of working with big directors like him, but had never thought that he will be the one who will give me my debut film. So, when he called I was definitely shocked, but at the same time extremely happy.
What is your role in the film, and tell us something about the film?
Shubh Joshi: I am playing a parallel lead of a friend of Aaditya Narayan. I am playing a guy who is very a positive thinker and thinks good for all. As a friend he has to face a lot of problems for his friends. Basically Shaapit is horror film but Vikram has given it many other moods too. It has romantic angle, the horror approach and is full of adventure also.
Was there any difficulty that you faced during shooting?
Shubh Joshi: There is one scene in film where I’m under water in bath tub. AC is on and this had really chilled the water. I had to keep my eyes open and stay in for a long duration. I was not able to breathe and was feeling so cold, but I could not shiver. It was so very difficult. It took us three days to get the perfect shots.
How was your shooting experience with Vikram Bhatt?
Shubh Joshi: He is the Godfather to me because he gave me my first work. He showed confidence in me when I was struggling with the world and was at rock bottom. As a director, he is very clear about what he wants from his actor and he always manages to get it too. He is not one of those directors who force people to work extra hours unnecessarily. His pre-production work is very clear and precise. He knows what he wants and explains it to his artiste. So, there is no wastage of time on the sets.
As a person also he is very nice and supportive. After we started shooting for Shaapit, on the 15th day of shoot I lost my mother. I had not met her since 2-3 years ago. Naturally I was very upset and was not able to focus on my work. I was giving re-take after re-take. Vikram came to me without losing his cool kept his hand on my shoulder and said, “this is your golden opportunity and you have got it only because of your mother’s blessing. Your mother is gone, you can not undo it. But in the life of a newcomer this kind of opportunities come once. This is your one and last chance to prove yourself.”
How was working with Aaditya Narayan and Shwetha?
Shubh Joshi: Aaditya is very nice and a multi-talented person. While shooting we built a good rapport and had great tuning. We both were hard workers and very focused. Shwetha is a very pretty girl and a good actress too.
Do you believe in superstitions like a Shaapit place or bhoot or any other things like that?
Shubh Joshi: Yes, I do believe in this kind of thing. I believe that another world does exist. I come from a small town like Nainital so we do think that it exists. Such things are believed by everybody there. Some admit it, some don’t.
You can see how his debut performance turns out this Friday, March 19th when the scary Shaapit hits theaters! We wish him the best of luck!