Multi-talented actor Sikandar Kher tells us about growing up around stalwarts, his internet persona, adventure diaries, and OTT success.
By ANANYA BAHL
The Starting Line: My Early Years
Everyone is shaped and influenced by their environment. And the same goes for me. I was blessed to grow up around great actors and stars—at my friends’ homes or have people from the film industry come over. I remember all these interactions clearly. There were several amazing afternoons and evenings surrounded by great thinkers. I would visit my father on the sets of his films and be enamoured of what was going on around me. So, it felt natural for me to take the profession up seriously. People always ask me about expectations. I can’t say I’ve given them too much importance because I avoid comparing myself to others. I’m quite individualistic in that sense.
My role of Daulat in Aarya is very different from who I am in real life. I got the script and really liked it. It’s the story that takes precedence for me. If it connects with me, I’m on board! I loved the character and turns out, so did the audience. A huge number of people have told me how much they liked the series and that they binge-watched it in one night.
An OTT Darling!
I’m enjoying the success of Monica, O My Darling. I’ve been acting for a long time and not everything has done well. I’ve learned to choose roles based on sheer conviction. And if you’re lucky along the way, you’ll make some good friends with great energy. Vasan Bala, the movie’s director, is one such filmmaker. He’s really cool and gives his actors lots of freedom. I think the entire cast is fantastic. It’s all about the team and its energy!
It’s not like I’m constantly trying to post. I am just being myself and I think that somehow happened to resonate with a lot of young people online, especially during the Instagram live sessions and conversations when we were all cooped up at home. And my updates really depend on my mood and what I’m doing. I love animals and posting images with dogs. I like comedy, too. And seeing what is happening in the world. I don’t watch the news, and we stopped getting newspapers at home since the lockdown. But social media is a great source of whatʼs going on and where, and even gets you up to date with what people are doing. Iʼm trying to control my social media usage, though. Earlier, Iʼd wake up in the morning and get straight to my phone. One of my friends called it a ʻbrain dumpʼ. I try to avoid that now. Podcasting is something Iʼll consider if the right thing comes along.
To say I love adventure sports would be an understatement! I went white-water rafting in Rishikesh when I was 14 years old. Then later, I got my scuba-diving certification in Phuket. When you go underwater, itʼs a different world altogether. It really gives you great perspective. Man, thatʼs when I experienced real exhilaration! I want to go sky diving next. I adore New Zealand for its adventure quotient. Iʼd like to visit the northeast of India and Lakshadweep soon.
A Knack for Sports
I love playing golf and am blessed to have a fantastic group of fellow golfers. The St. Andrew Links in Scotland is one of my favourite courses. I donʼt think I could be a professional golfer, though. I enjoyed playing basketball, as well, when I was younger. Again, sports were something I was exposed to in childhood as my masi (motherʼs sister) was a national badminton champion.
Oh, food, glorious food! I love Kashmiri food, sushi, a great cheeseburger, Chinese fare—I could go on forever! I love food shows and would recommend Somebody Feed Phil, where the host shows you the world and eats amazing food!
On the Horizon
Thereʼs Monkey Man with Dev Patel. It was something I shot for in lockdown on a beach in Indonesia for four months. Iʼm currently filming for the next season of Aarya. There are a tonne of things I canʼt wait to share with audiences soon. Until then, see you on Instagram!
ON THE WILD SIDE WITH SIKANDAR
Up in the air or underwater escapades?
A luxe item you can’t do without.
Food you miss from Chandigarh.
I miss my nani’s (maternal grandmother) cooking.
Mum or dad—who’s a better adventure partner?
Neither. They aren’t super keen on thrills.
Favourite golfng accessory?
Sikandar in three words.
Kind—at least I try to be. Grateful. Honest. A work in progress. That’s four!