Says Sushant, "I haven't told this to anyone but it was my sister who inspired my character. I've played a male version of Mitu Didi. She was a state-level cricketer and as hot-headed and impulsive as my character Ishaan."
The minute Sushant read the script, he knew it was his sister he would model his character on. Says the actor, "I couldn't dream of playing any other character. I could immediately identify with Ishaan' s passion for cricket, his constant struggle to make himself understood by family friends and society and his struggle to understand himself. It was my sister Mitu I was looking at in the script."
The other compliment that he cherishes the most for his performance in Kai Po Che came from his soul-mate Ankita Lokhande. Says Sushant shyly, "Ankita, who is my biggest critic, told me that for two years she knew me as Manav the character I played with her in the serial Pavitra Rishta. But now, she sees me as Ishaan from Kai Po Che. I want her to feel the same way when my next film releases."
Sushant's 6-year old niece Mallika couldn't stop crying after she saw her 'Sushant Mama' die at the end of the film. "She was sobbing inconsolably. I had to repeatedly assure her that I was fine. But she wasn't convinced," says Sushant.
Kai Po Che has opened to huge ovation. Sailing on cloud 9 on the wings of the rave reviews, Sushant says, "I am no stranger to attention. I had a certain following on television. But what I am experiencing now is entirely different."
Being hailed as the new star on the block, Sushant is moving very cautiously. "I don't want to make any wrong move. The reviews have all been very kind. But it doesn't take long for actors to turn into one-film wonder. Luckily for me, my next release is a Yash Raj film, so I am ensured a certain strategic advantage. But beyond that, I've to make sure I keep surprising myself before I surprise the audience."
Though Sushant is not allowed to talk about his role in the Yash Raj film opposite Parineeti Chopra directed by Maneesh Sharma, the actor apparently plays a role totally antithetical to his part in Kai Po Che.
Says Sushant, "All I'll say is, those who see me in Kai Po Che won't recognize me in Maneesh's film. I play a completely different character."