We have all seen him playing the brooding Charles in his latest short ‘Please Don’t Call the Cops’, yet what is underneath all that hair? Mohit Shrivastava breaks down all the barriers in this interview – telling us, exclusively, where it all started for him.
Hi Mohit, how did it feel when you first heard that ‘Please Don’t Call the Cops’ has been nominated for an award at Cannes Film Festival?
I was honestly over the moon. So much time and effort we put into that project and obviously Kartikye was thrilled. He deserved it. After working with him on ‘Fighting Shadows’ I truly found a deep respect for his way of working and I am beyond proud of what he created.
Do you work well with Kartikye?
Of course, he’s like a brother to me now. I know exactly what he wants from the characters and he trusts me, allows me to play around with them. I feel free to explore options I wouldn’t normally choose. Like for example, I found a comedic aspect to Charles. Having Charlie Chaplin as an inspiration when I was younger, I found an interesting body movement for him. Kartikye, of course, loved the idea and it ended up being a key element to my character.
How was this role to play for you?
To embody the role of a man trying to ruin another person’s marriage is almost thrilling. For me, it goes against my moral code. However, we as actors, have the job to portray anybody with no judgment whatsoever. That’s why I love my job.
Which performance are you the most proudest of?
It’s hard to say because all of them are so diverse. I have played a true New Yorker caught up in debauchery yet also a starving Indian robbing houses. However, if I had to choose I’d probably pick Fred Weber from The Jacksonian. It was just such a great cast and crew. The rehearsal process was the best. I experienced a lot of laughs, lots of growth and dabbled with a lot of exploration. It has made me a better actor and a better person, it’s hard to explain.
How would you describe your time at the Stella Adler Acting Academy?
To learn under one of the greats is beneficial in any aspect whether it be acting or life. What you take from Stella Adler is not her ability to tell you how to act, but how to understand human life. The life we see on a day to day basis or the life we have never have seen at all.
What’s the biggest difference between the American and Indian film industry?
There is much less nepotism in the American film industry. It’s much more organized and well kept. Growing up in India taught me that the Bollywood industry follows the western world very closely, almost copying their style of film.
How was it to grow up in India?
I am very privileged to have grown up where I was. It taught me many lessons that I carry till this day. In India we have a lot of freedom yet a lot of restrictions at the same time. For a foreigner to visit my country, they might get overwhelmed by the atmosphere. We are a country that is woven in all different kinds of religions. We don’t discriminate. We accepts others beliefs as well as our own. That is something I think the world should follow. I lived a very hectic life, moving from city to city, state to state. I’m thankful for these changes, making me aware of all kinds of life in my country. We are all very different wherever you go. I have seen so much as a child, things that I always apply to my acting. It’s funny how life goes.
Who inspired you to become an actor?
Jimmy Dean, hands down! I had a teacher that would not shut up about James Dean in India. I then watched East Of Eden and I was immediately hooked. His natural presence, his body language and his speech. It all blew me away. I was amazed by his ability to capture emotion in such an ingenious way, causing me to thrive to portray art as he did.
What is coming up for you now?
We are currently in pre-production with a project Mystic Makers is producing and also, a web series which is set to be on air in a couple of months. I am playing a character that suffers from extreme hypochondria. I’m extremely excited to share this project with the world.
Well, we can’t wait Mohit. We congratulate you for the Cannes nomination!