Come the 7th of December, Singapore's historic Chijmes Hall will remain privy to the presence of a bevy of movie stars and who's who of the film industry from all across Southeast Asia. The 19th Century Gothic styled chapel, that was featured in the hit Hollywood production Crazy Rich Asians, will play host to the Grand Awards and Gala Final of the Asian Academy Creative Awards. One among the nominees is Shrey Bhargava, who sat for an exclusive chat with Connected to India.
Born in India's Uttar Pradesh, Bhargava now plies his trade in Singapore. The actor-director also wears several other hats but prefers to keep it short and sweet. "I consider myself primarily a performer," he told CtoI host Himanshu Verma during the course of the conversation.
The actor received his nod as the Singapore representative on the main night for his performance as Vijay Kapoor in the period drama Titoudao. Now, he's up against nine other actors, including India's Prosenjit Chatterjee, for the silverware. But acting wasn't the first choice for this talented 28-year-old.
Getting bitten by the acting bug
"Wow, I would say I was 7 years old, watching Lagaan when I decided I wanted to be a cricketer actually," he shared, radiating confidence. "I love that movie so much and the Cricket World Cup was happening during 2003, so, I was a big fan of both cricket and Aamir [Khan] I thought I wanted to become a cricketer."
Actor Shrey Bhargava | Connected to India
But it was a self-realisation which made him choose an alternate career. Bhargava figured out a hack- if he cannot score runs and fulfil his cricketing aspirations in a country of billions, he can at least imitate the role. Thus came acting. The Titoudao star credited screen icons, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, as idols but picked the former as the bigger influence.
Shah Rukh Khan's charisma, Aamir Khan's versatility
"Aamir specifically, because well Lagaan was one of my favorite films to date, but just his versatility. In all the roles that he plays, he's always so different and he can go into all kinds of roles, and the movies that he's made have always had such a profound impact. Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots, I mean those were iconic movies at the time which really shaped my sense of you know I want to be an actor that not only is convincing as an actor of course, but I can tell a story that touches people's hearts, so, that was a big inspiration."
But there was also no shortage of praise for Bollywood's quintessential romantic hero. Bhargava admitted getting bowled over by King Khan's charisma.
"Of course, Shah Rukh [Khan] with his charisma, gosh to have that level of charisma on screen. I can only hope and dream I could be a fraction of that, right," he said. "But just his persona, how he carries himself, how he's so articulate in his words, in his public persona, it's something I really look up to and really respect."
Keeping it original
Speaking about his own approach to acting, the actor-director likes to keep it authentic, though he admits getting influenced by contemporaries.
"Well, you know every role is different, so, I try not to borrow and copy too much. I mean you have to, you get inspired of course," he said. "I always try in the roles that I take up, in the new roles that I take up, to be inspired but always make original choices."