I feel fans are calling someone else: Siddhant Chaturvedi on being hailed as 'MC Sher' post Gully Boy success

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Valentine’s Day gave Bollywood a new heartthrob. The rugged rapper MC Sher from Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy. Siddhant Chaturvedi, who played Ranveer Singh’s mentor in the musical drama, is the new flavour of the season. Vicky Kaushal had better watch out. But Siddhant is no overnight success. He’s been on the scene for six years. You might have missed him in Amazon’s 2017 web series Inside Edge. It was backed by Excel Entertainment, co-producer of Gully Boy along with Zoya’s Tiger Baby Productions. At the success party of Inside Edge, Siddhant spotted Zoya. The song Gallan Goodiyan from her film Dil Dhadakne Do was playing. Boldly, he pulled Zoya onto the dance floor. When the number had finished, she asked him breathlessly, “Who are you?” Siddhant told her he was an actor from Inside Edge. But disappointingly, Zoya hadn’t seen the series. “Are you from Mumbai?” she asked him next. And Siddhant, who is from Ballia in UP, told the famous director somewhat arrogantly, “Haan bachchi, apun idhar se hai.” He told PeepingMoon.com with a grin, “I knew Gully Boy was being made. I deliberately spoke to her in that manner.”

It worked. Zoya asked Siddhant to audition for Gully Boy. Her casting director Nandini Srikanth sent him a few lines and a rap song to memorize. Siddhant was heavily into Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. He had no idea of rap. His liking of English music was limited to rock. Google introduced him to Naezy and Divine. “In 15 minutes I knew it was impossible to learn and rap their numbers,” Siddhant admitted. But he was inspired by their lyrics that spoke of struggle. He decided to pen his own rap. “Maine socha mere itne saal ke struggle ke baare mein hi likh du. I used to write poems and shayari. The entire night I wrote my rap lyrics. And the next day I dressed as a rapper, baggy clothes and stuff, and gave my audition.”

Siddhant Chaturvedi with Gully Boy director Zoya Akhtar

A few days later Zoya called Siddhant with the role in Gully Boy. “I bagged the role,” he emphasized. Despite his meteoric rise to fame with his first film, Siddhant who is 25 appears like the simple boy next door. His curly hair, bespectacled look and dimpled smile makes him look younger. It is what makes his sudden female fan following go weak in the knees. He expresses surprise. “I am overwhelmed with the reaction to MC Sher of Gully Boy. Of course, I expected some kind of appreciation but this is huge. It is a dream come true moment.”

I used to watch Tiger Shroff training children on the beach near my house and say to myself, ‘Apna time aayega!

He talked about getting into MC Sher’s character: “I was 25 and had to look 28. I had to put on 20 kg and look big. And then there was Ranveer. His screen presence was galvanizing in Padmaavat. But when we began the reading sessions, Ranveer dived into his character and transformed into Murad aur mere andar se sher nahi billi nikal kar ‘meow meow’ kar rahi thi. My character MC Sher required to be very free with Murad. But he was The Ranveer Singh. I told him, ‘Baba,  I’m going to do this, I am gonna pull your cheeks.’ He gave me a free hand. ‘Tujhe jo andar se aa raha hai woh kar,’ was Ranveer’s advice. It stayed with me till the end of the shoot.”

Recommended Read: Siddhant Chaturvedi reveals the best compliment he received for playing Gully Boy’s MC Sher was from Deepika Padukone

L-R: Naezy, Ranveer Singh and Divine

The physical and emotional preparation for MC Sher wasn’t tough. “I was struggling for six years and received various scripts and offers but I was very choosy. I wanted to do what I believe in. I wanted to contribute something. This was one character I loved. The positioning was perfect,” Siddhant said. “I started writing rap and became a rapper. Many felt my look was inspired by Divine and Naezy, but it wasn’t. I had just one meeting with Divine. I showed him the rap I wrote and he appreciated it. Rapping in front of a real rapper is an achievement. I was writing rap throughout the shoot and by the end, I had six full raps on different slices of life. I was internalizing my problems. Going back to 19-year-old me who wanted to make it big. My kid brother, who follows a lot of rap artistes, made me watch videos to learn their body language.”

Ranveer dived into his character and transformed into Murad aur mere andar se sher nahi billi nikal kar ‘meow meow' kar rahi thi

When he steps out, Siddhant is hailed everywhere as “MC Sher”. It will take some getting used to. “I feel fans are calling someone else,” he said. “I can’t imagine myself as MC Sher. When I see Gully Boy, then I see MC Sher as just a character from the film. I am connected to Ranveer’s character more. I have tears in my eyes not because I am MC Sher on screen, but because Murad makes me emotional.”

Interestingly, now that the hullabaloo over Gully Boy has settled down, Siddhant intends to pursue his studies again. His Chartered Accountancy final exam is coming up and he plans to give it. He knows success in Bollywood can be very short-lived. But Siddhant appears to have a roadmap in place. “I can dance, I am trained in taekwondo and gymnastics, and when I was not doing anything – I was really doing a lot of preparation. I wanted to be so ready that nobody could reject me,” revealed Siddhant. “I used to watch Tiger Shroff training children on the beach near my house and say to myself, ‘Apna time aayega!’ And it has.”

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