The seed of this dream was planted by my father when I was just 10 years old. He told me that when he was young he wanted to become an actor but his father did not allow it. There is no history of acting in my family, my father is a retired Government Officer and my Grandfather was a teacher and a farmer. Coming from the small village, Madha, and growing up in the small town Hisar in Haryana, there seemed to be no chance for me to become an actor, which became my dream as well . So I followed my father’s advice and completed my mechanical engineering qualification. However by complete chance, on a visit to Chandigargh I was approached to be a ramp model. My first fashion show was for NIFT with Katerina Kaif, Miss India Nikita Anand, Mrs. World Aditi Gowtrekar, Jassi Randhawa. Subsequently I did many shows.
In 2006 I got my first job as a maintenance engineer at the Swastik Pipes factory in Mathura. After completing twelve-hour shifts with the workers on the factory floor, I would borrow a bicycle and cycle 10kms to the nearest gym in the next village.
One day the Pundit of the temple in the factory told me a story that changed my life. Following that, I changed my profession and became a fitness trainer, first in Delhi then in Bangalore. Whilst working in Bangalore I entered the Zoom India International Face Contest. I was selected from thousands and was sent flight tickets to Bombay. At the end of the month long contest I won the title of Femina, Mr Bold New Look Male.
My dream was to become an actor, but to earn money I started personal training and ran for every audition possible; sometimes attending 5 auditions in a day. My hard work led to a number of TV commercials, but I hadn’t yet achieved my dream.
On the advice of a friend I met Salim Aarif and Lubna Salim, a renowned theatre director and actor. Through acting in their plays at Prithvi Theatre, under their guidance and by mixing with elite actors, I gained valuable experience, watching and learning their acting skills and practicing in my room at night.
My luck changed when I was called to meet Kamal Sadhana and audition for Roar. This led to my being selected to play Kashmiri, one of six commandos. With my long curly hair I thought there is no way I will be considered for this role, but actually Kamal told me that was why he chose me!
Bonding with the team during commando training along with the time and attention to detail in the preparation brought integrity to the movie.
Physically demanding, even for the fittest, we did cable training, acrobatics and learnt how to handle weapons, whilst running, rolling and crawling through the jungle. Coping with the difficult conditions of filming in the Sundarbans, this preparation proved essential to keep the team together, focused and safe. My passion for fitness and training really paid off!
Having the opportunity to go deep into the character is a necessity and a joy for an actor. Now I am living both my fathers and my own dream. It gives you more strength when you follow the dreams of someone you love. It gives you an added incentive and adds to the desire to succeed especially when nobody believes it is possible.
It was an honour to work with visionary director Kamal Sadanah and producer Abis Rizvi. They put together a world class team including Hollywood DOP Michael Watson, who was as fit as the commandos, Resul Pookutey whose Oscar tells everything and Jesh Krishna Murthy and his amazing team of creative people at Anibrain VFX with their international standard of VFX work.
ROAR- The Tigers of Sundarbans is an amazing movie and it marks just the start of my journey and dream to be an actor. I always believed "If you can't be the sun be a star but be the best at whatever you are."