A Quick Chat With Ehan Bhat, Star of AR Rahman’s Film ‘99 Songs’
Actor Ehan Bhat. (Jio Studios photo)
By R.M. VIJAYAKAR Special to India-West
MUMBAI—He’s the Chosen One. A.R. Rahman, no less, has chosen Ehan Bhat as the leading man, in the role of an aspiring singer-composer, in his debut production “99 Songs.” The young lad speaks on this glorious opportunity in a rapid-fire Zoom chat.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: What was your reaction when Rahman approached you for the film?
A: He did not approach me—it was I who approached them! I approached the EP, and he broke out the news that I was selected. I could not believe it until he told me, “Call your parents!” and then it sunk in. Then I knew it was for real, this was happening, and I could not control my emotions! I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream! I felt like all my struggles have come to an end! Because anyone would want to be launched by A.R. Rahman-sir!
I remember telling them, “Main iss film ko apna khoon-pasina doonga (I will give this film my blood and sweat)!” and that is what I have done. Whatever I could have given I did. Nights and days ceased to matter, my back would be killing me after 10 hours on the piano, but no one can take such a break lightly.
It all would not have been possible without the help of this musical genius called Surojit Chatterjee, who was like a father-figure to me. He is trained in Russia and heads the Piano Faculty at the K.M. Music Conversatory. Then Rahman-sir sent me to Los Angeles, where I did my acting classes with Rahman-sir’s friend Bernard Hiller, and so the whole prep lasted around one-and-a-half-years, and it would have been impossible to play this character without this prep.
Q: The character was Rahman’s creation. So how was your approach?
A: Yeah, I think the good things in this character were all from Rahman-sir’s personality! (Smiles) I stayed with my friend Tenzing, who plays my best friend, for a year and we would address each other by our respective screen names. Jai and Polo. Slowly, it felt that we were living the lives of our characters even before the filming began. And I was very comfortable with the piano as well.