My father is a self-made man. And he taught me how to be a self-made man. He’s the inspiration for my life. People are surprised to know I’m his son at all. I auditioned for Masaan like any other young actor looking for a break. Even though my father is an action director, and has won the most Filmfare awards in that category, I was never an ‘industry’ kid. I was never excited about going on a film’s set and meeting heroes. I just enjoyed studying, playing cricket and watching movies.
He comes from a small village in Punjab where he started learning his ABCDs only in the 6th standard. And then he topped his MA in English literature at Panjab University. Without financial support, he couldn’t live his dream to be a lecturer, so he came to Bombay and worked as a salesman, earning Rs 350 a month.
Destiny took him to films. He somehow got in touch with some stuntmen and became one himself. He did this for eight years before becoming an action director with Nana Patekar’s Prahaar in 1990. That’s been his journey. He’s lived with the idea of giving his 100 percent.
Thanks to him, I’ve always lived with the idea of concentrating on the present. My dad never worried about how I was faring in academics and what I wanted to do next. Even when I completed my engineering degree and then told him I wanted to act, he was very happy.
But I got my role in Masaan by myself, without his influence. The only influence I can say he’s used with me is to show me how to be a good human being. He’s always taught me to respect people. He told me: ‘It’s okay if you’re just an eight on talent and a 10 as a human being, because that will take you a longer way.’
Thanks to my father, I respect my craft, I love my work and all I want is to be a self-made man just like him.
– As told to Yatharth Chauhan
From HT Brunch, June 19, 2016
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