Jatin Sarna Interview
Jatin Sarna made a mark in films with a pivotal role in Sacred Games and one of the starring roles in 83. He is one of those actors for whom theatre became the main gateway to acting. Alongside films, he continues to act in theatre and performs the lead role in popular play, KHIDKI. The interview briefly chronicles his journey.

 By Tarun Agarwal

What role has theatre played in your career?

Theatre has made me what I am. I studied theatre at Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts for two years and learnt everything about acting. I learnt voice modulation, emotional exercise, body language, and most important - discipline that goes into being an actor in theatre. I have acted in more than thirty plays. I had no godfather or any connections in the film industry. If I said that I wanted to be an actor in films, people would have laughed at me. Theatre gave birth to me and we always must go back to where we were born.

How difficult was it for you to get good parts in theatre?

I was lucky in this aspect. Most of the plays that I have done are in lead roles. There are a few that I have done in which I have played a second fiddle, but I have done plays in lead roles mostly. I had this confidence that I am meant for doing meaty roles.

Now that you have made it in films, what role does that theatre play in your life?

I have performed more than fifty shows of KHIDKI. It was initially a solo performance which we were preparing for a theatre festival. But later, we added a female cast to it. I also did CHIDIYA AUR CHAND. I think it is a play with potential but one which we have not yet performed as per our satisfaction. Even now when I do a play, I want focus and discipline from me as well as the co-actors and directors. I want all of us to be in the rehearsals. To do well in theatre requires hard work and discipline. Without that it cannot be successful. Since I have done KHIDKI so many times, it is something I can perform comfortably.

What was your journey like in films upto the time you got that breakthrough role in Sacred Games?

I had no connections in the film industry. When I saw Hrithik Roshan the first time, the way he was launched, I also felt that maybe someday I will be launched like the way he was. But I did not have any godfather in the industry, so it was not possible. Gandhi To Hitler was eventually my first film. I came to know that there were auditions taking place for this film and I went for it. I got selected. Thereafter, I kept doing whatever roles came my way. What played an important role in me getting Sacred Games was that I did an important role in Meethuriya Gangsters. The film was directed by Zeishan Quadri, who wrote Gangs of Wasseypur. This is how Anurag Kashyap came across me first. Later, I went to Mukesh Chhabra looking to find work. He told me to audition for Sacred Games. He liked my audition. So did Anurag Kashyap. It was an aim I had in mind that I wanted to be directed by him.

How have you faced the lull periods in your career?

There was a very bad phase of two years in between. I had come from Delhi and was staying with a friend. There was a real lull. I had faith in god as well as confidence that it would happen and that I was meant for something significant.

What are your aspirations for the next one or two years?

To act in lead roles in films and OTTs. To do important, prominent characters. Even if there is just one scene in a web series or a film, it should leave a mark. I have acted in roles for both friendship and money. But that is not who I wish to be. I wish to surprise my audience every time they see me on screen. I do not like to repeat what I have already done.

Any advice for theatre actors?

Yes. Have passion and patience.

How did the pandemic affect you?

I am happy that me and my family have emerged from it safely. That is the most important thing. Due to the pandemic the release of my film 83 got delayed. I am happy at the appreciation that I received upon the release. Overall, I am just happy that I came out of the pandemic safely.

(Tarun Agarwal is the author of Hope Factory: Business Ideas For Everyone, and has directed a short film, Honesty Weds Dishonesty. )

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