How Shah Rukh Khan Changed Ritwik’s Life

‘Just imagine Mr Sudhir Mishra and Mr Sooraj Barjatya having a baby. What would that be like?’
‘That’s Jehanabad for you.’

After Bandish Bandits, Ritwik Bhowmik has become a rising star on OTT.

The young actor, who is seen currently in Jehanabad: Of Love And War, is in an exciting phase in his career, and tells Contributor Mohnish Singh, “Would I be open to doing evil things in real life? Of course not. But as an actor, if I am portraying a part, then why not? I am here to experiment and explore.”

What made you say yes to Jehanabad: Of Love And War?

There is a joke I keep telling my friends when they ask me what Jehanabad is about: ‘Just imagine Mr Sudhir Mishra and Mr Sooraj Barjatya having a baby. What would that be like?’

That’s Jehanabad for you.

It’s full of drama, action, and romance. There is love, relationships, family drama, everything…

It’s one of those perfect scripts that I have read.

You have done so many OTT projects. What do you enjoy the most about them?

The best thing about Web shows is that, as an actor, I get enough time to explore the characters through the show and the shooting process.

The biggest boon of working on the Web is the diversity of the audiences because you can access projects from across the world.

You can be sitting in any part of the country or across the world, and watching the show.

As an actor, it’s a huge deal if your audience keeps growing.

I am very lucky that in the past two and a half years, I have repeatedly worked in OTT shows.

You have mostly played positive characters in your career. Would you be open to playing a negative one?

Yeah, I want to.

Would I be open to doing evil things in real life? Of course not. But as an actor, if I am portraying a part, then why not?

I am here to experiment and explore. These are my formative years.

It’s only been two-and-a-half years that I have been working professionally as an actor on a scale like this.

If I do want to experiment, I would have to do it now because you never know how things will be 10 years on.

What sparked your interest in acting?

I don’t know what it was.

I don’t know what makes me click or what makes me act every day.

I just know that when I was a kid and used to put on the television, I used to be transported to another world.

I used to go into this magical world of storytelling, which was very similar to ours but yet, not the same.

I have always wanted to be a part of that magic. As I grew up, I realised this magic can be made, and that kept me intrigued till date.

When I go on a set, I see new equipment or new ways of approaching a scene.

You read a script, and the director approaches it in a unique way.

So every day, I am like this wide-eyed child on a set.

I am in awe of the world that I am a part of right now because I know that some kid somewhere is watching something on their phone, on their laptop, on their TV, and they will end up watching the projects that I am a part of, and wondering how this is happening.

The success of Bandish Bandits made you a household name. But when you do a project like Maja Maa, which features a star like Madhuri Dixit, does its success benefit you the same way a solo lead project would?

I do not know because things are not specifically put down in numbers on paper.

There is no science or math to it.

I just ask myself, ‘Will it be fun if I choose to do this?’

If the answer is yes, I will be working with Madhuri Dixit and Gajraj Rao, be on set, watch them, learn from them, then that keeps me going.

What would be the result of the project?

I wouldn’t say I am detached because I am a new actor and no new actor is detached from results.

They really want to see good results every time.

What stays with me is the fun while we were shooting.

Being the successful actor you are, has there been any effect on your personal life?

I am even more ambitious.

The more my projects work, the more work I want to do and the less I want to be at home.

I want to be on set 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

I want to keep doing new things.

I know that ambition and drive have their own ups and downs, and I am prepared for everything.

The only thing that has changed since my first show is that I used to believe that I am a very hardworking guy but once the first show became a success, I started to realise I need to work even harder.

What has been the most beautiful moment of your career so far?

A lot of beautiful things have happened to me.

But I can tell you the happiest moment of my life.

A couple of months ago, I was in the same room as Mr Shah Rukh Khan, and we got introduced to each other and chatted a bit. The first thing he said to me was, ‘I have seen your work, and have watched an interview of yours; you are a smart boy.’

My life changed ever since.

I am a different guy today; I am so happy.

I feel like I will win the world.

I have the strength and emotional ability to do whatever I want to achieve just because somebody like him put his hand on my shoulder and said he likes my work.

I don’t even know how to express how happy I am.

What projects are you working on?

Bandish Bandits is coming back with its second season.

There are a couple of other projects, but I will tell you once they are announced.

What are your expectations for 2023?

I don’t expect at all.

I am at a very early stage in my life. The more you expect, the more you get disappointed.

So I just keep my head up and keep wishing.

I wish for better work on a daily basis and better people to work with, better scripts, better characters…

The only thing I expect 2023 to do is to surprise me in a good way, hopefully.

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