Sharad Kelkar is returning to the big screen with Neeraj Pandey-produced Operation Romeo. Based on moral policing, the thriller also stars Bhumika Chawla, Vedika Pinto and Sidhant. Sharad plays a cop named Mangesh Jadhav in Operation Romeo.
As Operation Romeo is all set to release on April 22 in theatres, PeepingMoon spoke to Sharad about the film. The actor opened up about playing a layered cop. He also shared that the nature of the film and his character graph left him disturbed mentally. Sharad further reacted to Operation Romeo releasing alongside Jersey and the box office clash.
Excerpts from the interview:
What’s your character in Operation Romeo?
I am playing the role of Mangesh Jadhav. I cannot really speak much about it before the film’s release. He is a very layered character and keeps switching his mood. He is unpredictable.
What made you sign this film?
The story is fantastic. A story revolving around harassment in the name of moral policing has never been told. I feel the message should reach out to a wider audience. Whenever Neeraj Pandey calls you, it must be considered that the role is made only for you.
Do you feel the film is, unfortunately, even relevant today?
The subject was relevant yesterday, and today and hopefully, it should not be tomorrow.
Operation Romeo is releasing along with Jersey. What do you feel about this?
The makers of Jersey took the right call to not release it on April 14. I personally feel that date wasn’t good for them. People talk about clashes, I don’t look at it in that way. Both the films have enough screens and people will get a choice too. Finally, Mrunal (Thakur, lead of Jersey with Shahid Kapoor) and I are coming on the same day. She is a friend and we are wanting to work together. Though we are not in the same film, we are at least coming to theatres on the same day.
Do you feel dark stories are the trend of today?
Good stories have been in trend forever. I am surprised why this subject was never explored before? I want people to watch this to understand the human psyche.
Over the years, how have you managed to keep yourself relevant?
I don’t keep baggage. I start every new film with a fresh approach and learn as much as I can from every project. I don’t prepare much or watch a lot of content. I learn through the characters I play and through my films. That keeps me alive and I want to do more because of the response I get from the audience.
Do you get affected mentally when you sign a dark character?
Not before Operation Romeo, this film has affected me a lot. I was troubled, disgusted, and in a very bad zone. I am such an actor who can easily switch on and switch off; cannot call myself a method actor. I spoke to Neeraj sir about this and he told me, "If you are troubled, you have done a good job."
What’s that one career-changing moment?
There are a few things. When I came to the industry, I would stammer. I got a TV show but was replaced in 5 days because of my stammering. That rejection taught me that I have to improve otherwise I will not get work. Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Ram Leela got me major recognition, all thanks to Sanjay Leela Bhansali. After that, it was Bahubali and then Tanhaji.
When you watch your films on the big screen, do you remain critical of yourself?
I am very critical of myself. During some screenings of my films, I left the auditorium mid-way. At times, I dodge cameras waiting outside theatres after screenings.