For all the starry-eyed youth of Punjab out there, hoping to take the route of music videos to get a foothold in the buzzing film or television industry in Mumbai, here is a reality check - this acting experience may count for nothing if you are headed to Mumbai. This is what an established television actor in Mumbai hailing from Malerkotla tells us.
In a candid chat, Anas Rashid, a well-known television face, recalls how his many appearances in Punjabi music videos were brushed away by producers in Mumbai with a careless shrug when he landed in the mayanagri six years ago. "I acted in an array of music videos by well-known singers in the state. A popular face here, I thought I am quite camera-friendly and can bag work in Mumbai based on this experience. The reality, however, turned out to be completely different once I began to meet production houses," he begins. "I was treated as a newcomer. Every producer I went to, told me point blank how they don't consider it as work at all," he reveals.
Anas shares how producers in Mumbai mocked him in his initial meets by saying that every other candidate they meet boasts of music videos from Punjab. "Such aspirants are a butt of jokes among the producers," Anas goes on to say.
While this did hit him like a bolt then, a determined Anas went on to struggle his way up in the industry. Starting his acting career with Star Plus' much talked about late night show Kahiin To Hoga in 2006 as a young business tycoon.
Anas soon went on to play the lead actor in Dharti Ka Veer Yodha Prithviraj Chauhan on Star Plus. Next came the role of a mysterious, silent lover Kuwar Yashwardhan in Aise Karo Naa Vidaa on Colors in 2010, and Anas is now gaining huge popularity among the television viewers as the noble, sensitive 'halwai' Suraj Rathi on Star Plus' currently running Diya Aur Baati Hum, a coming of age love story between a ninth-pass 'halwai' and his ambitious wife.
Anas says he is content with television and has his hands full with work. It's a phase he is enjoying thoroughly, he says, with no immediate plans or ambitions to look towards films. Will he do a Punjabi film given a chance? "Not really," he answers. "I am a Mumbai-based actor now and will be treated like a newcomer in Punjwood. With ample experience in TV, I wouldn't want that," says this winner of Mr Punjab title 2004.