You have done your MD. Why did you choose to become an actor?
I’m a licenced medical practitioner with a MD (Doctor of Medicine) in Ayurveda but I completed it for my parents’ sake. I always wanted to be an actor. My dad is an accomplished mathematician and he wanted me to have a steady career. As expected, both of them were tense when I decided to move to Mumbai in 1999 to participate in a talent hunt show. However, my ultimate dream was to get into National School of Drama (NSD).
Do you think there’s a certain level of barrier in Bollywood when it comes to actors from north?
The situation is far better now, especially for those who arrive from Delhi and the Punjab belt. But the same can’t be said about those who belong to UP and Bihar. Ironically, language becomes an issue because most of these actors aren’t fluent in English. The script and dialogues are written in English although the film is made in Hindi. But then, that’s how things are and it’s incumbent on the newcomers to get their basics right.
You struggled for 13 long years to make it in the industry. How old are you today?
How old do I look? (Smiles) I firmly believe that an actor doesn’t have an age. If a script demands a 23- year- old man, I’ll become 23 anyhow. Speaking of 13 years, I started off as an assistant to Mahesh Manjrekar in seven of his films.
Anurag Kashyap is known for giving breaks to fresh talents like yourself. But don’t you feel it restricts you to the so- called camps?
As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as a camp. It’s true that I’ve worked mostly in Anurag’s films. I would go the extent of calling him my godfather. But my very next release is Gori Tere Pyaar Mein which is a Dharma production. We all know that a Karan Johar film is far removed from what you call a dark drama. So yes, I’m experimenting a lot with the available choices. Later, there is a Kashyap film titled Ugly in which I’m playing a crucial character.
What do you like the most about being an actor?
The fact that I’m happy! I come across so many people who are good at their job but still if you ask them whether it’s their dream job, they hesitate. To me, acting is life. It’s what I always dreamt of. It’s a different story that my well- wishers keep reminding me that there are other responsibilities too — like settling down for a change (laughs).
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