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I could have been a teacher

Here’s how a paan-chewing lad from Allahabad University rose to stardom in Bollywood

education Updated: Jan 18, 2012 00:49 IST
Jeevan Prakash Sharma

Remember the talkative, funny Bharat Bhushan of Bheja Fry? Actor Vinay Pathak, who has portrayed several such characters in Bollywood movies such as Khosla Ka Ghosla, Dasvidaniya, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Chalo Dilli to name a few, had once decided to pursue a career in teaching. In fact it was a British play that changed the course of his life. In an interview, Vinay Pathak talks about all that made him take up acting as a profession.

Early realisations
I have been a movie buff since childhood. I remember when I was in Allahabad University pursuing English (hons), I used to make sure that I watched all the new releases every week. I even missed classes for that. But the real motivator for me was a British play, Equus, which I watched while studying business administration atthe State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Turning point
I dropped business studies and joined a four-year graduation programme in fine arts. I decided to become an actor. I participated in community theatre shows to hone my acting skills.

Humble beginnings
Though I was born in a village yet I didn’t study in village schools. My father had a transferable job so I kept on moving with him from one pace to another till I finally got admitted in Vikas Vidyalaya, Ranchi (now in Jharkhand). I finished my Class 10 here and then moved to the prestigious St Columbus in Hazaribag to do my +2.

So, I had the opportunity to study in good schools which gave me a good academic background.

Of vices
When I was in St Columbus in Hazaribag, somehow I got the habit of chewing paan. I used to take a lot of pride in it. I thought I looked very elegant and stylish. But when I moved to the US, I had to get rid of this habit because I didn’t get paan there.

Iconic films
I think almost all movies of Dilip Kumar ji. I am a great fan of his. I bunked my class to watch Amitabh Bachchan’s superhit movie Deewar.

On handling the comic image
I mind if I fail to do my work seriously. I don’t bother what people think about me but it does bother me what I think about my own profession. As long as I am honest to my profession, I don’t regret anything in life.

If not an actor...
I always wanted to become a teacher. Even now whenever I have time, I hold theatre workshops for aspiring actors.

Success mantra
Being true to my profession.

I used to make sure that I watched all the new releases every week. But the real motivator for me was a British play, Equus, which I watched while studying business administration at the State University of New York at Stony Brook —Vinay Pathak, actor

As told to Jeevan Prakash Sharma