Pippa actor Anuj Singh Duhan, who played Lieutenant Tejinder Singh Sidhu in the Raja Krishna Menon directorial, opens up to team Free Press Journal about the feedback received from the army man’s kith and kin, the friendship he shares with co-star Ishaan Khatter and how he wants to demystify the notion that models can’t act
Speaking about the reception received for his role, Anuj shares, “It's definitely been an overwhelming week for me, since Pippa's premiere on OTT. With Diwali festivities around, it became all the more special when Teji sahab's son called me last evening and shared his kind words of appreciation over my work. He shared that I had effectively played Teji sahab. A lot of fond memories with his family were shared with me during the preparation of the film, so the family was very happy when some of those moments were revisited during the course of the film.”
A still from Pippa
Since Anuj hails from Haryana, how crucial was it for him to understand the background of his character? “When I was offered the part, it was a conscious effort to observe and learn everything that it takes to play someone who is a staunch Sikh. I would visit the Gurudwara and observe how the faith is practiced, what are the customs that are observed. All these helped me in understanding the nuances of how Sikh people behave and what they feel.”
How much homework about the lives of army men did Anuj have to delve into? “Additionally, there were also diligent training camps that were organised for us. We would wake up early in the morning and run about 11 kilometres with the rifles, just like our army men do. We were taught how to command and operate a tank. We had to get our salutes right because it would be very insulting if we got it wrong. It was also very important for us to understand that our army men are human. They are perceived to be robotic and emotionless which is not true at all. That also reflects why there were many humorous situations in the film. Because our army survives conflict-infused trauma with the help of humour.”
Speaking about the equation he shares with his co-star Ishaan Khatter, Anuj reveals, “When Ishaan and I first met, it was a formal meeting with pleasantries exchanged. A week later, we met at the army training camp in Suratgarh, Rajasthan. Minutes into the meeting and we were vibing together. He has an amazing music playlist and I found myself using Shazam on most occasions to gather what he is listening to.”
As we conclude the interview, the actor shares his intent about dispelling the myth about models not knowing how to act. “I am happy that people are talking about my role in Pippa and not about my looks. I wanted to dispel the myth that models cannot act. Hopefully with good work coming my way, I can work harder and always prove my best,” he concludes.