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Home > Entertainment News > Bollywood News > Article > mid day 44th anniversary special Vikas Shukla Though I got recognition after Panchayat I didnt get a place to stay

mid-day 44th anniversary special- Vikas Shukla: Though I got recognition after Panchayat, I didn’t get a place to stay

Updated on: 28 July,2023 08:58 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Hiren Kotwani |

Chandan Roy | Actor | It took multiple auditions, two stints in Mumbai and one popular web series for the city to accept Roy. But now that he is here, he is raring to go

mid-day 44th anniversary special- Vikas Shukla: Though I got recognition after Panchayat, I didn’t get a place to stay

Chandan Roy’s favourite eatery in the city is Pancham Puriwala near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. Pic/Aishwarya Deodhar

It could be a scene right out of a ’70s Hindi movie. A wide-eyed, hopeful man alights from the train at Bandra Terminus, and on the pretext of picking up his dropped handkerchief, touches his forehead to the ground. His “pranaam” to the land that he hopes will take care of him now. That’s a tad filmi, we tell Chandan Roy. But he proudly says, “My haav-bhaav is all filmi.” To him, he is that filmi boy who made his way from Mahnar, Bihar to Mumbai to chase the Bollywood dream. To the rest of us, he is the good-natured assistant Vikas Shukla in his breakthrough series, Panchayat.   

After completing his education in Patna and working at Dainik Jagran in Delhi for two-and-a-half years, Roy first arrived in Mumbai in October 2017. What followed is the classic script of a struggling actor—sharing his first accommodation with five people in Versova, giving countless auditions, seeing his savings of R60,000 diminish over four months. Within weeks of his stay, he noticed a shift in him. “Whoever comes to Mumbai, becomes a believer. Someone told me that whenever new people come to the city, they visit the MumbaDevi temple in Bhuleshwar. So, after about a month, I went to seek the Devi’s blessings.”  

His prayers were soon answered. In January 2018, the actor landed his first role, the leading lady’s brother in a show on Baba Ramdev. In November 2018, the actor auditioned for a web series. He was told the makers were casting for two small roles. “After two-three weeks, I got a call telling me that my audition was liked, and they wanted to test me for a bigger role. So I auditioned again. The following day, I was called for a meeting at the TVF office. There, Deepak Kumar Mishra [Panchayat director] said, ‘Where were you? We’ve been looking for you all this while.’ I thought he was asking where I lived, so I told him I was staying in Versova. He was amused by that.” 

And just like that, Roy shot for Panchayat, playing leading man Jitendra Kumar’s assistant. The struggle was over. The proverbial big break was here. Or so he thought. 

In March 2020, the pandemic struck and nationwide lockdown was enforced. “At the time, we were all hearing the rising number of deaths. So, I thought it would be better to return home. That way, if something happened to me, at least my family would be around me,” he recalls. Roy returned home the way he had come, an aspiring actor who had no roles, only dreams to speak of. 

But something changed the very next month. Panchayat dropped on Amazon Prime Video, and overnight, Roy became a household name.

This was his big moment. Many calls—congratulatory and of offers—followed, as did months of waiting due to the lockdown. It was only in December 2020 that Roy, after borrowing Rs 15,000 from his family, returned to the Maximum City. 

This time around, he was a rising star. But Mumbai wasn’t going to roll out the red carpet for him. “A friend, who let me stay with him in Andheri, asked me to move out after a few days, fearing that his landlord would oust him. Though I got some recognition after Panchayat, I didn’t have a place to stay in Mumbai.” Luckily, he bagged a film, Hanak (2021), to be shot in Bhopal for a month. “I didn’t care how much I got paid. My only thought was that my accommodation and meals for the month were sorted.” 

The actor has since gone on to star in the second season of Panchayat, Hostel Daze 2, Pitchers 2 and the Manoj Bajpayee-led film, Gulmohar. In the past two years, he has shifted multiple houses, but has found his footing in this city that continues to astound him with its “energy”. Earlier this year, he even ticked that one box that is considered an elusive Mumbai dream— of having a place of his own. “Itne saal jiske sapne dekhe, aakhir wahan pahuch hi gaya,” says Roy, who currently rents an apartment in Lokhandwala, Andheri. “If anything magical happens, it happens in Mumbai. There is still a lot more to do and achieve.”

It will all happen, he is sure, in the dream factory that is Mumbai. Now that he has been around for almost three years, what does he like the most about the city? “The monsoon,” he says promptly. Umm, the average Mumbaiite would disagree, hating how the rains bring life to a standstill. But the artiste in him chooses romanticisation over reality. “If I were a kid, I’d go out to get wet in the rain. Now, I enjoy the rain indoors. The greenery all around is a beautiful sight, the smell of wet earth [calms me]. I love Mumbai rains. In Bihar, if it rained for a week like it does here, life would become impossible.”

If he is gung-ho about Mumbai rains, he is disheartened by its food scene. Vada pav and samosa pav don’t cut it for the lover of chana sattu. “The only place I love to eat at is a restaurant called Pancham Puriwala, near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. I love their thaali with puris.” Surely, he must be a fan of the city’s famous chaats? “I think pani puri in Bihar is better than that of Delhi or Mumbai,” he grins. 

But Roy isn’t complaining. He has his blinkers on, and will keep pace with this city, step for step. He has an end goal to meet—to own a house in Mumbai, a sign of permanence in the fickle city. “There is a wonderful apartment complex in Madh Island. If you go 20 floors and above, you can see the sea all around. I’d love to have a home there.” 

Mumbai meri jaan?

Love about Mumbai That it is a magical city. For people like us, it has changed our lives. I can see my dreams being fulfilled here. If you work hard, then anything is possible.
Hate about Mumbai The traffic, because you don’t know how long you will be delayed and you get even more restless. 

Expectations from Mumbai I hope it continues to accept me, and bless me with more work. 

Did Mumbai live up to it? Much better than I had imagined, and soon. As one grows, the struggle becomes harder. Love it, and the city owns you and loves you back. Once you live here, you don’t feel like living anywhere else.

Will it remain forever home? Yes. As long as I am young and can work. However, when I grow old, I’d prefer the mountains. 

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