With the recent release of his third movie, Karkhana, life looks good for Shushil Shrestha who started his career as a model before going on to become the face of Panache Runway in 2014. He then made his debut as an actor with Hostel Returns, and was nominated for the best new actor in NFDC National Award. But not many know that this talented lad has had a hard battle to fight to get to where he is. The Week caught up with him to learn more about his journey so far, and how he manages to look so good.
Did you always want to become an actor?
I had always thought about acting but I never thought I would actually become a part of the film industry. When I lost weight back in high school and became increasingly dedicated to fitness, people who knew me said I should become a model. I didn’t think much of it then, but it stayed with me and I applied for Manhunt International Nepal in 2013. This was when I realized I loved being on stage, and so I decided to enter the Panache Runway as well. After winning Panache Runway, I realized that I could make my childhood fantasy of becoming an actor come true. Just three movies old, I feel like I still have a long way to go in the industry.
How do you motivate yourself to stay fit?
I was very chubby till the 10th grade and everyone would make fun of me. I joined the gym after giving my SLC exams, and when I went back to school people couldn’t believe their eyes. I know that if I stop my fitness regime I will go back to being that boy, and I don’t want people looking at me that way again. This is one of the biggest motivations I have that helps me make it to the gym without fail.
Give us a rundown of your exercise and diet regime.
I work out for two hours every day and I try to stay away from junk food as much as I can. This way, I don’t really have to change my routine much when I’m working on a movie and need to look good. I have milk and eggs both before and after a workout to give me energy and I also change my diet every week so that I don’t miss out on any nutrients. I usually alternate between chicken and salmon, and I also make sure that I have small frequent meals to keep my metabolism up.
What is the one thing many people don’t know about you?
I have a very funny childhood memory that I don’t think many people know. I was a very imaginative child and I hated doing homework. So after a particular vacation, I told my teachers the reason I hadn’t done my homework was because I had been kidnapped. They were alarmed and called my parents immediately. Of course, since no such thing had happened, my parents knew what I had done. They didn’t say much in school but I got into trouble when I got home. Ever since that incident, I haven’t tried to make excuses for not doing my homework.
Over the last couple of years in the Nepali film industry, have there been any changes that you have noticed in yourself?
Every movie I have done has been a lesson for me. Back when I was shooting for Hostel Returns, I had just started out and taken a few theater classes, but there was still a big room for improvement. Before a movie, sometimes there are theater classes, not just reading lines but proper classes, which helps all actors bond and create the on-screen chemistry. I’m a very shy person so I wouldn’t talk to the others much. I now use this as an opportunity to know my colleagues and create a rapport so that things don’t become awkward during filming. After taking many classes, I feel like I am at a point where I can start thinking of myself as a good actor. But I know that I still have a lot more to learn and a long way to go.