“Figure what makes you tick.”
+Photographed by Rohan Shrestha #whiteTseries
currentMood: What does mindfulness mean to you?
Prateik Babbar: So many things actually – healthy mind, body and soul. I think it’s being the best version of yourself. Be nice, humble, approachable, aware and alive.
cM: As an actor, the spotlight is always on you. Is that stressful?
PB: Sure, it does add to stress because you literally have hawk eyes on you and your life. One learns how to take it in their stride. You’re scrutinised, and you’re criticised and you’re put down – if you take all of this with a pinch of salt and be absolutely spot on, on your job, I think it’s the best way to be. I mean yes, it is a not-so-normal lifestyle but then you can also inspire and be a role model. And that’s what I want to take away. I’ve obviously gown over the years and I’ve come to terms with the criticism and you know the pinpointing. Knowing all of that, if you can give back something that is relevant, that resonates, that’ll make a difference, that’s it. You have nothing to worry about.
cM: Do you think celebrities often feel the need to put on a show – because they can’t be honest about what they’re going through for the fear of either being judged or losing work? How real can an actor be?
PB: Part of the game is to put on a show and make everything a bit more larger than life and give the audience something to watch and be excited about. But in terms of talking about dark space, that is a personal choice. If you’re comfortable within your own skin, it just allows you to be precisely who you are. You’re not bothered about how people perceive you. For example, I had a huge drug and addiction problem for many years. And I chose to come clean about it. That was my personal choice. I just wanted to reach out and let people know who I was, and what had happened to me. I didn’t want the fans, admirers, people who knew me, to have this perception of me as a happy-go-lucky cool guy who is an actor, you know whose parents have been actors and probably lived a hell of a good life, flamboyant life. No, I did not lead a good life, no I did not have it like you think I did. So that was my personal choice to come clean about this.
“If I’d just kept it together..but then I lost it.”
cM: What was the toughest phase of your life? How did you over come it?
PB: I went through dark phases that had to do with drugs, self destruction, rebellion and all of that. Started taking drugs when I was about 13 and went to rehab a couple of times. When I was absolutely clean for three and a half years, I’d started settling down in the industry. I hadn’t received 100% success and recognition, but I was on my way there. And if I’d just kept it together..but then I lost it. I slipped again and my demons crept back up. I had too many questions and no answers. Always about my mother and my family situation. Add love and broken relationships to it, and it was an absolute mess. This lasted for six years and within this
period I lost my grandmother and almost died of a drug overdose. God literally gave me a second chance to live. Surviving the overdose opened my eyes and I changed my perspective on things..you know what I mean? I was like, hang on a minute..what am I doing? I’m addicted, falling deeper and deeper into this trap because I just want to escape. I don’t know what I want to do or who I want to be. I was complaining all the time, was angry, obnoxious, hated everyone and my family. But this shook me up, I pulled my socks up and realised it’s time to self resurrect..and that’s where it all began. It’s been a new life since and I’m very grateful. Long way come, yeah long way..there’s no looking back now. I’ve got blinkers on and focussed on the goal.
“Figure out what you’re good at and make that your drug.”
cM: What would you tell someone who’s going through something similar?
PB: Figure what you’re good at, besides drugs and alcohol. Something that satisfies your soul creatively. Collaborate, create and focus all your energies there. I mean, what’s more important? Sitting around and doing drugs, drinking and thinking you’re the king of the world when no one else thinks it? Or then trying to do something that you’d be remembered for (in the right way). Figure out what you’re good at and make that your drug. That’s what I did. That’s what helped me. If I was acting and creating, if I was thinking of new ideas or whatever, it kept my motor running. This was my approach and it worked 100% and I think it can work for anybody. You just need to figure what makes you tick. Life is too short. Way too short. So you have to get out there and be the best version of yourself instead of jeopardising everything by being a fucking drug addict or an alcoholic or flaking on your job. Have the willpower to do the right thing. There’s definitely no harm in trying..
cM: As Carrie Fisher said, “Take your broken heart and make it into art”..
PB: There we go, puts it into perspective.. yeah absolutely.
cM: Do you think our generation is stressed and doesn’t know how to cope?
PB: Stress pots, yeah everyones a stress pot. But then you have to find your releases. It doesn’t have to be alcohol or drugs, why can’t you get up and go for a run? Why can’t you go to the gym? Why can’t you create? Make some music. Educate yourself. Why does it have to be that you are in depression? Why does it have to be that we escape and use more pathetic ways to escape? Face it head on.
cM: Perhaps people resort to habits that aren’t constructive because it makes it easy to forget reality instead of dealing with it?
PB: That’s the choice we make you know. We need to know right from wrong and we need to have the will power to do the right thing. Because if we’re doing the wrong thing we’re just existing. I don’t believe we’re born to exist. We should be born to make a fucking difference, you know what I mean? That’s what we’re born for, to make a fucking difference. People need to realise that, people need to believe that. We’re intelligent people. So what if you’re an addict, put yourself in a fucking rehab. Instead of just crying about it, you put yourself into a fucking rehab.
cM: You’ve taken up theatre as well, do you prefer that over movies?
PB: Yes I do! I am absolutely addicted to that adrenaline on stage. That instant applause, that instant reaction instead of waiting one whole year for the film to release and to then get one. This is right there and then, and I believe it makes me a better actor. Because there’s no take 2, there’s take 1. So its that much more concentration, focus, and awareness – it sharpens your skills. But I absolutely love films too! If you just have to compare both the mediums, acting in a film gets a little more mechanical than stage. On stage you know you’re free-flowing and that’s just another high for me.
cM: Are there any plays that you’re currently working on?
PB: Yes, Six – a play that we’ve been doing since 2016. We’ve done 20-25 odd shows this year as well. It’s been changed to ‘Riddles’ now. It’s a homosexual drama where I play homosexual. It’s quite an intense play.
cM: If you had to choose between Dhobi Ghat and Umrika, which one is your favourite?
PB: I love Dhobi Ghat and Umrika. Both are very precious projects for me. The former opened at the
Toronto Film Festival and the latter at Sundance! I couldn’t ask for anything more! It was a dream come true.
cM: What projects are you currently working on?
PB: I’ve been filming with Tiger Shroff, for Baaghi 2, where I’m the lead negative. Say hello to the new bad guy! I’m very excited about it. Then I’m doing a film called Mulk, directed by Anubhav Sinha, starring Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, Majoj Bajpai, Randeep Hooda and myself. These two films are going to go on floors now, we start prep soon and they should release sometime early next year.
Interviewed by: currentMood
Last modified: October 30, 2018