He made his debut in a film which also featured Ram Kapoor and Sunny Leone. The film, unfortunately, bombed at the box-office and Navdeep Chhabra flew off to Canada to do acting workshops and then, came back to tinsel town with a fresh thought. In this interview, the actor talks about his new short film ‘The Meeeting’, the failure of his debut film, the kind of stereotypes an actor faces, the biggest challenge he has faced as an actor and upcoming projects.
You made your debut with ‘Kuch Kuch Locha Hai’ in 2015. ‘The Meeeting’ is one of the very first assignments you have done since the film. Why did you take such a long break?
In this industry, your value is directly proportional to the number of hits you deliver. ‘Kuch Kuch Locha Hai’ was my first film and unfortunately, it did not do well. Working on the film was a film was a good learning experience as I got to work with actors like Ram Kapoor. Everybody put in a lot of hard work and effort behind making the film but the end result was not something we were proud of. I was actually doing another film with the director (Devang Dholakia). That film got shelved and he asked me to work on this film. In hindsight, I believe he did not have the experience or the skill to pull off a feature film. Most people struggle for a while before getting their first film but my struggle started after the failure of my first film.
Was it difficult to get work after the film failed at the box-office?
Yes, it was difficult to get work as the film was a major disaster. Having said that, I did not get a lot of negative publicity from the film as it was not riding on my shoulders. But, I understood the value of Friday with that film. I went to Canada and did theatre workshops. I got a lot of opportunities there but I wanted to fulfil my dream of working in Bollywood. I came back again and decided to start everything on a fresh note.
Was it easy to approach people after you came back to Mumbai?
It is never easy to get work. Every actor, in a way, is struggling every day. There is so much competition, so you have to constantly up your game. But this time, I was more confident and aware about things.
How did this short film happen?
Aneeta (Patel) and I used to do acting workshops together in Barry John’s acting institute. She later ventured into direction. One day, he asked me to come to her place as she wanted to narrate an idea. I was very excited to hear the script as I always wanted to play a romantic hero. If you are very tall and have a good physique, people tend to stereotype you as an action hero. I wanted to break that image and was keen on doing romantic roles. I am happy that I finally got an opportunity to do so with this short film.
When did Hamara Movies come on board?
Anita had already released two films with them. When Hamara Movies saw this film, they wanted to release it on their platform. I feel extremely privileged to see my film up on their channel as they are a very reputed brand. The film has got a large number of views and I am sure it will continue to reach out to more people.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an actor who has had no connections in the industry?
Every person goes through a different kind of struggle. It was not difficult to get the first film but my struggle started after that. To make people look beyond the failure of my first film was the biggest challenge for me.
What are you doing next?
I am in talks with somebody for a web show. Web has tremendous potential as you can tell a story over a longer period of time. I was living abroad when I discovered Netflix and got hooked to it. I wished something like this would come to India. Today, all the big platforms are here and it is a great time to tell stories. I am open to working in all kind of mediums. I just wish to play challenging roles.