Prateik Babbar has a few releases lined up this year at the movies and in the digital space. He’s also scheduled to shoot for a few projects; for instance, he kicked off 2021 with the schedule of Bachchan Pandey in Rajasthan. He’s also a part of Madhur Bhandarkar’s India Lockdown, in which he plays a migrant worker. It was back in 2016-2017 when Prateik realised he had gone off track and he needed to get his life and career back on the road. “This is going to be work-in-progress for me till my last breath. I am fortunate and grateful to have arrived at this point where I can focus on my craft. And it’s been a journey to get here. It’s a hustle which never stops. The journey is ongoing. What saved me from drowning mentally and emotionally, and I say saved, because I thought everything was over for me and my career was done with, was the love and passion for the arts,” he says.
“I missed it all and I started chasing it again about two-three years ago. It’s been a rocky road for me, but I am hanging in there like a rock, chin-up and looking forward to a bright future,” says Prateik.
Talking about the time when the realisation kicked in, the actor adds, “It must have been 2016-17, when I went clean of alcohol and drugs for a few months in a row. I could think with a clear head. That’s when I started missing my work. It was something I needed for my soul and that is when I started picking up different kinds of roles. I rebooted myself with plays and short films. I did things for no money at all, at times. I did things for free for people to just remember that I exist and I haven’t left the stage yet. I had to test the waters again. Once I did that, there was no looking back. One show, one movie led to another with Mulk (2018), Baaghi 2 (2018) and Chhichhore (2019). It was gradual.”
When asked about the responsibility of living up to his mother, the legendary actress Smita Patil’s name, Prateik, soaked in emotions, says, “Yes, I do feel a sense of responsibility to live up to my mother’s legacy. People may see that as a burden, but I will not call it that. If it’s seen as a weight on my shoulders, I’d say it’s one that I am proud of. I will carry it till my last breath with absolute pride. My mother was a magical woman, who did magical things in a short-lived career and life. She touched way too many people and she is a part of our country’s cinema heritage. I am honoured and fortunate to be her son. It will be an honour to be able to live up to her name, and if I can be a little reflection of her.”
He further shares, “I am trying my best to make her proud. That’s the reason I am here. I wish I could be a little like her. I wish I can make her parents, my aunt and myself feel a little content in saying one day that this magical woman was my mother. One day, when I am old and frail, I want to be able to look back and say that I really did what I could to make my mamma proud.”