Hemant Pandey, a film, theatre and television actor who shot to fame with his role as Pandeyji in popular TV serial, Office Office (aired on Sab TV in 2001), says his journey as an actor is yet to begin.
In Chandigarh on Tuesday to announce his first ‘serious’ Hindi film, 2 Nights in Soul Valley, a supernatural thriller, the actor, on recalling his cameo in Hindi film, Bandit Queen, laughs and remarks, “No one knows where was I in the film, but I know I was there.” Though Hemant has been seen in various TV serials and films including Rehnaa Hai Tere Dil Mein, Krrish and Ready, he has only three projects that he counts as ‘worthwhile’. “If you ask me, I regret doing 90% of the roles I did, apart from Krrish (2006 film), Office Office and Neer Bhare Tere Naina Devi (a 2010 TV show),” he says.
Hemant says he was 18 years old when he left his hometown in Uttarakhand and went to Delhi to pursue acting. “I went to Delhi since my sister was staying there. But I didn’t have any money in hand. In the Capital, I did a lot of theatre and also worked as a puppeteer. Later, my acting break came from an NGO called Janmadhyam and Allaripu, which is for women,” recalls the actor who continues to be associated with Rangshila theatre group in Mumbai.
Hemant also got admitted to the National School of Drama (NSD), where he was a part of the Repertory Company (where artistes work on salary). “In NSD, I gained respect and decided it was time to try my luck in Mumbai.”
Now, Hemant seeks a change of another sort. “After doing the TV serial, Neer Bhare Tere Naina Devi, I realised that being an actor, I should experiment more. In the film and TV industry, I have always been tagged as a comedian. Though this didn’t affect me initially, it does now,” he says.
While he attempts to evolve as an actor, Hemant’s love for theatre is consistent. “Theatre has helped me become a good human being. As compared to the world of films, this medium fills actors and viewers with humility and sensitivity,” says Hemant, who also strongly believes in astrology. “In 2016, my time will come. Till now, no one took me seriously, as I have been talked of as a comic character. But things will change with time,” he declares positively.
When asked why he didn’t grab character roles like other actors, Hemant offers, “I would give you R1 lakh if you find any filmmaker’s or any star actor’s number in my phone. I am not someone who can approach people, so to ask for roles is next to impossible for me.”
Despite looking for quality work, Hemant says he is surviving happily in Mumbai by ‘building and breaking fixed deposits.’ “But, I pray to God to never give me a chance to judge a show or act in a show where one has to insult others to make people laugh,” he signs off.