Only 16 years old and never having thought of becoming an actor, Manjot Singh has won a lot of praise for his debut as an actor in Dibakar Banerjee’s Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! In fact, he won the Critics Award for Best Actor at this year’s Filmfare Awards Ceremony! Today, I, Amanda Sodhi, present you with an in-depth interview with this young Delhite, in which he talks about how he bagged the role of young Lucky in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, incidents from the shooting and audition process, life post-OLLO, his upcoming film, and much more!
You never thought of becoming an actor and now you've won the critics award for your performance in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! This must be a very exciting moment for you. What was the experience like at the awards ceremony?
I am so thrilled to receive this award because this is the first award of my life and I still can’t believe that I have got it. I feel on top of the world. Well this is only the beginning and I have yet to go very far...the award ceremony was too good, which I could never think to be a part of....Red Carpet welcome, media all around, all big stars shaking hands with me and congratulating me for my achievement…
I came to know that the auditions for Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! were going on and they needed a Sikh boy for young Lucky’s role. I went for the auditions and was selected.
Tell us about the audition process. Did you do any preparation beforehand?
No, I did not make any preparations for the audition—I simply went. I had to go three, four times for the make up and the eyebrows test, then I was called for the workshop in Manali to observe Abhay Deol’s actions—the way he talks, the way he walks, the way he stares, his expressions, his pet dialogue like "kyun nahi kar sakta?," his smile, his bindass attitude, his aggression and friendliness, etc.
How was it like when you first met Dibakar and the rest of the Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! team? Are there any memories of the shooting experience you'd like to share with our readers?
When I met Dibakar sir for the first time, he stared at me and told me not to get nervous. Perhaps he was comparing my face with Abhay Deol’s. He saw my audition and selected me. He has a wonderful team, all are so friendly, nice and helpful. They made me feel very comfortable at the shooting. Abhay Deol’s jaw is broader than mine. So, I had to wear cheek pads during the shooting so as my jaw looked broader. Once I drank water and swallowed one pad by mistake. The entire crew tried to help me out. I even tried vomiting but it didn’t work. I still don’t know if it came out or not!
Now that you've gotten a great response for your performance in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! , are you thinking about taking up more acting assignments? Do you want to be an actor full time once you complete your studies?
I would love to work in more movies and ad films after my board exams of 10th class. Yes, if given a chance, I would like to continue in this field after my studies.
How are your friends, teachers, classmates, colony-waale and all reacting now that you're an actor? How different is life for you now? Are you getting more involved in theater and plays at your school?
I am getting bundles of appreciations and wonderful response from everyone I meet. I feel so honored when people recognize me and appreciate me—“Are you the same guy? You’ve done a great job! Wish your role was much longer”…Autographs, photographs, phone calls, crowd wanting to shake hands with me, etc. All is beyond my imagination. I get more importance wherever I go. It gives me great pleasure.
Your brother, Sehebjot Singh also appeared in the film as Lucky's younger brother. How did that happen?
When I went for the auditions with my brother, he was asked to do this short role. He agreed.
Would you like to tell our readers a bit about your family?
My father is a businessman, my mother is a housewife and I have only one elder brother, 21, who acted as Lucky’s younger brother in the movie, who is studying in Australia. That’s my whole family.
Coming from a Sikh family which has maintained its identity, does your family and/or do you feel concerned at all about how your career as an actor will shape up later on, as there are very few Sikh actors who have been able to maintain their identity in Bollywood, as in wearing a pagdi?
It’s good to know that Sikh people are getting more chances now. And, as for as I am concerned I am proud to be a Sikh but I have not thought that far…
Tell us about your upcoming projects. I believe you are appearing in Imitaz Ali's film starring Saif Ali Khan....
That’s right. I have a very small role in Imtiaz Ali’s upcoming movie, yet to be named. At present I am busy preparing for my board exams. Rest after the exams!
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our PlanetBollywood.com readers?
I am 16 and studying in Hillwoods Academy, Preet Vihar, East Delhi. I like to watch movies, chat with friends, go out for parties, touring abroad, etc… And, I love to play football.
It's been a pleasure interviewing you Manjot! Here's wishing you the very best with your studies and with films!
Thank you so much for everything. God bless you.
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