Lucknow: Actor Prateik Babbar, who battled substance abuse in 2013, opened up about his drug addiction like few do in Bollywood. He says he was marred by "guilt", which made him go public on his personal life.
Celebrities have often accused media for prying in their personal lives. Why did Prateik choose to speak publicly about the part of his life which could have easily been brushed under the carpet.
Prateik, who was here to shoot for Anubhav Sinha's "Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui", told IANS: "I was being eaten alive by guilt, which is why I was ready to talk about my past. I was very guilty that I was an addict... especially to my fans and people who saw me and had this perception that 'Achha dikhta hai, logon ko achha lagta hai (He looks good, appears to be a nice boy)'... They had a very different picture of me which was not true and it was killing me."
Citing an example, Prateik, son of actor-politician Raj Babbar and the late actress Smita Patil, said he could not put up with being dual as he believed that the person giving interviews wasn't the person he was in real life.
"If I am talking to you, I am an addict. So obviously I am always high... Before this interview, I would probably be gone, I would be indulging in a substance and coming for this interview and you would be asking me all these nice things about me like how do you feel that so many girls are liking you and people like your acting... I can't answers those questions any more.
"I need to tell you that this is who I really am. The guilt killed me. That is why I spoke on it," he added.
The 31-year-old actor, who also went through rehab in Mumbai, followed by extensive counselling, said the more he talked about it, "it lifted a huge burden off my chest".
"It made me feel much lighter. I could not continue lying... I was lying for too many years. I could not do it anymore."
After 2015's "Umrika" as Udai, Prateik is back on the big screen this year with "Baaghi 2", which released earlier this year, and with the yet to release "Mulq" and "Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui".
In "Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui", the "Dhobi Ghat" actor has been working with an ensemble cast which includes several National Award-winning and critically acclaimed actors like Pankaj Tripathi, Saurabh Shukla, Vinay Pathak, Divya Dutta, Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra and Pavan Malhotra.
Prateik says he was all "nerves on the first day" of his shoot.
"They are all seasoned actors, with six National Award winners... I came in on my first day, I was very nervous. My first scene was with Saurabh Shukla, Pankaj Tripathi, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Pavan Malhotra and I think they gauged that nervousness in me. So they all comforted me. But I am in absolute awe," said Prateik, who made his big screen debut with the 2008 coming of age drama "Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na".
With so many ace actors around, it is but natural that you learn certain nuances or pick up certain elements to better your craft. Prateik, who attended acting school and took up a course in method acting at the Jeff Goldberg Studio in 2016, said he has learnt the art of reacting from the stalwarts.
"I learnt on reacting in a specific way, being true to my dialogues, the scene... It is this element that I would take home from the veterans. Holding your ground with such actors, and adding a value to your scenes even when you are not that experienced -- I am taking all of that with me," he said.
"Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui" is a political satire, Co-produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions and Anubhav Sinha. Its release date is yet to be announced.