Nostalgia with Vikas Bhalla: “Acting was a gateway to get into singing”
The actor talks about his real estate days, dating his now-wife Punita, and living in Bandra, when he was 22
Where were you career-wise?
I was shooting for two feature films simultaneously—I was playing the lead opposite Neelam in Sauda, and was paired with Kajol in Taaqat. I joined my father in our real estate business to pay my bills, and was planning building a 50-apartment residential complex in Santa Cruz. Acting was a gateway to get into singing.
How conflicted were you between pursuing music and acting?
Music was my priority; I have a diploma in Hindustani classical music. Acting just happened. I’m indebted to Movie magazine for selecting me as the ‘Discovery of the Month’ as that set the ball rolling!
What was your bank balance like?
In Standard Chartered Bank, a couple of tens of thousands from acting; and in Central Bank of India, a couple of lakhs from my property rentals.
Your relationship status?
I was flirting my way through life. But life took a turn when I started dating Punita Chopra, who is now my wife.
Were you living with your family?
We were a family of four living in Bandra. My father, Vijay Bhalla, was my hero. And I remain a ‘Mama’s boy’.
One thing you felt you should have done at 22, but didn’t?
I didn’t buy a sports bike because my mother didn’t allow it. I finally bought it recently as a birthday gift to myself.
Your fashion sense?
I cringe when I look back. I wore tight jeans, boots, body-fit t-shirts showing off the muscles. God, what was I thinking!
Your fitness quotient?
10/10. I took to fitness at 16. Running and walking was my favourite workout. Still is. I give equal importance to mental fitness, and my daily riyaaz always gives me peace.
Your most prized possession at that time?
Your favourite sport?
Chess. I enjoy mind-games.
Who were your favourite actors and singers?
Amitabh Bachchan and Raj Kapoor. Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi are still my favourite singers.
Any anecdote from that time that is etched in your mind?
While I was shooting a film in Ooty, two of my co-actors and I realised that a financier of the film was hitting on one of the female leads, but she wasn’t interested. So we made a prank call to his hotel room, pretended to be that actress with a soft husky voice, and told him to meet behind the hotel at 4am. He reached the spot only to find no one there. The next day, we pulled the same prank and the idiot once again showed up. He eventually realised this was a joke. We still have a hearty laugh about this when we meet.
From HT Brunch, November 19, 2022
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