Tell us about your upcoming song!
I recently completed the shoot in Chandigarh. It is a colorful song. The makers had decided to release it in June, but it got delayed due to Covid-19. I am hoping that it releases soon.
Who will be starring alongside you in the song?
The female lead is Ashi Singh who is a popular TV actress.
How was your experience working with her?
It was very good. She is very hardworking. Since she is more experienced than me, I got to learn a lot from her. She is not only a good artist but also a good human being.
Will it be a romantic song?
No, it is a party song with a bit of romance. It was shot at a very colorful and exotic location. It has Punjabi lyrics and people will love it.
You also did a song with Jannat Zubair called ‘Chaal Gazab Hai’.
Yes, the song was released in 2019 by Zee Music and became a hit. It was also a colorful party song.
What kind of roles do you like to play?
I don’t think I can attract the crowd with my looks. So, I have to be real good at acting. I can give my 100% while playing dark roles, for example, Shahrukh Khan’s role in Darr. It is my dream role. Even though I try to give my best in every role I play, but I am sure that I can play grey characters better.
What is your take on the rise of OTT?
OTT has changed the definition of cinema. Even the biggest of stars are ditching theatres to release their films on OTT like Salman Khan had to release Radhe on OTT. Even the audience has matured. Their focus is on the concept, story and good acting. It doesn’t matter if someone is a superstar or not. It is the best time for actors as new opportunities are opening up.
Are you planning to feature in a web series?
Yes, I have signed one. I am not allowed to disclose the details yet. It will be released on one of the biggest OTT platforms.
You have worked with Salman Khan in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. How did you get a role in the film and did it give you any exposure?
Yes, I did it in the beginning of my career. I don’t talk much about it because it was a very small character. At that time, I was very new in Mumbai. My friend, who is a casting director offered me a role in the film. I agreed. I was very new and had no idea about the role. 90% of what I shot was deleted while editing the film. So, my screen time in the film is too small.
But anyway, I find myself lucky to work with a big production house at the beginning of my career. I got to learn a lot while on the set. I had no scene with Salman Khan but I used to see him on set. He is very friendly.
Did you feel bad when your scenes were cut out?
I was very new at that time. And it was my first project. So, it was a big thing for me to work with such a big banner. Yes, it feels bad, but still, I was happy because entering that lobby is a big thing in itself.
Even though my character was small, but my beginning in the industry was huge.
As an outsider, what kind of struggles do you face in the industry?
I do not knock on the doors of every other production house and give auditions. I do online interactions with producers. If they have a suitable role for me, they call me. Nowadays, one can save time by giving online auditions and spend the rest of the day rehearsing and working on their acting skills.
How did you begin your journey in Bollywood?
I hail from a small town in Uttar Pradesh. I did a school play in 3rd standard and people appreciated me a lot for my acting. And eventually, I started participating in every annual show. I also used to act in Ramleela. I feel blessed to do that because many big artists began their acting journey with Ramleela. I played the character of Laxman.
I told my parents that I want to go to Mumbai and be an actor. But they didn’t allow me. My father is a teacher and he asked me to continue my education. But when he watched me at Ramleela, he was convinced that I am good at it. So, he finally agreed.
I secured 95% in my 10th. I topped in the state and was awarded by then-Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. I remember that he asked me about my goals and I told him that I want to be an actor. He was surprised to hear that.
Have you faced nepotism or favourtism in the industry?
Nepotism exists in every field. But in the other industries, if someone wants to push their children or relatives, he can’t take away the opportunities from someone else. But that happens in Bollywood because the competition is huge and work is limited.
It happened with me too. There was a mythological show on Zee TV. I had auditioned and was selected to play the lead role. Everything was finalised and I had even shot the pilot episodes. But one day, they called me for a discussion and told me that I was replaced. They asked me to delete any material that I had related to the show. Apparently, they had found a new investor who had asked the makers to take his son in lead.
Eventually, the show was a failure. It aired for 2 months only as the TRP was very low. I don’t know the details, but I know that I could have pulled it for more than 2 months. The audience would have loved my work.