Sanjay Dutt's Energy Is Infectious: Sharad Kelkar

For actor Sharad Kelkar, working alongside Sanjay Dutt in the latter’s comeback film Bhoomi, was nothing short of a dream. Playing the lead antagonist in the father-daughter revenge drama, Sharad feels lucky to have gotten the chance to know Dutt as a person while working on the film.

“The way he speaks or crack jokes, he might come across as someone very intimidating, but soon you start behaving like him. I observed how after 15-18 days of shooting with him, I started to talk like him. So he is infectious and transfers [his] energy,” says Sharad.

However, the actor recalls being quite nervous when he met Dutt for the first time. “I had gone to his office for a cast meeting. And when he came, I didn’t know how to react — whether I should touch his feet or say namaste or say hello or hug him. I stood silent for those five minutes of meeting him,” shares Sharad, adding that the second meeting happened on film’s set.

“It was my first scene in the film and I was delivering all the dialogues while Dutt was just staring at me. Imagine Sanjay Dutt staring at you… achhe se achha actor bhi chup ho jayega. I somehow focused and did that scene in one shot and even after cut, he kept looking, and then he said, ‘fantastic’ and hugged me,” recalls Sharad.

The 40-year-old says it was on that day the ice was broken and they became close. “We used to sit together and eat. He’s a fantastic guy to work with and be with — so genuine. His attitude towards life is very real and there’s nothing fake. He makes you believe in the fact that if you are good and happy in your life, people will like you and love you back,” he says.

Sharad adds that unlike many others who are mostly surrounded by a bunch of bodyguards, Dutt was as normal on set as he’d be in real life. “He doesn’t have bodyguards or 50 members of staff around him. He normally steps out maybe with two guards. He’s such a simple guy, who would greet everyone on set and stand with kids.”

Asked if there was anything particular that he got to learn while working with the Khalnayak (1993) actor, Sharad says the list is endless. “Most important thing is acting and he is just fantastic. His dedication towards work is on a different level. Before the shot he might not look so serious that he is going to do this, but once the camera is on, what he does is something totally different. His eyes are so impressive,” says Sharad.