As I turned 57 on December 17, 2009, I started an introspection about 20 years of my life in Mumbai. In my previous blog I have divided my life in 4 phases. First phase – 22 years, Second phase – 15 years and Third phase – 20 years. Of these 57 years, 30 years were spent in Deoria, 07 years were spent in Allahabad and remaining 20 years were spent in Mumbai. I had stated that third phase of my life ended in 2009 and fourth phase has started. This third phase comprises 20 years of my life in Mumbai. From October 1989 to December 2009, I survived 20 years in this film industry where fortune changes every Friday. I endured and could sustain myself successfully.
It was a hesitant and tentative start. I moved to Mumbai to eke out a living in the film industry. I had no acquaintances, no godfather, no advisor, not even a helping hand here. With no help in life, no succour in sight, no money to make a living and no one to guide me, I started living a precarious life. I was advised by Ms. Ashha Chandra to start Diction classes. In those days of abject poverty, when days passed without lunch and nights, without a proper meal, it was a welcome opportunity. I started training people and started earning some money, which was not enough but I was happy that I was earning something. To save money I used to avoid bus and local train and used to walk on foot. Once I walked from MacDonald, Linking Road, Khar to Yari Road. I am not regretting those days, I am just making few points to illustrate how I started this phase and finally how I could make it against all the odds.
My first student was a girl called Sarita. Later on I got an opportunity to train Saif Ali Khan. From Saif to Ranbir Kapoor and from Kareena Kapoor to Katrina Kaif, I have trained students of every hue and colour. Barring a microscopic minority, all the star-sons and star-daughters are my students. Late Raj Kapoor’s three grandchildren : Randhir Kapoor’s daughter Kareena, Rishi Kapoor’s son Ranbir and Rima Jain’s son Arman are my students. Mr. Shatrughan Sinha’s both sons ; Luv and Kush, Mr. Anil Kapoor’s daughter Sonam, Moushami’s daughter Meghaa, Late playback singer Mukesh’s grandson Neil Nitin Mukesh came to me for training. Apart from Hindi, my students are working in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industries. So many of them are working in Marathi and Bhojpuri films. T. V. industry is full of my students. I get students from far-flung states of India like ; Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Manipur, Assam and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Students from West Bengal and South are in legions. Among my students 3 are music directors, 4 are producers and 6 are directors.
Almost all the prestigious banners, including Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions and Rajshri Productions almost always send their protege to me for training. I started a trend of Script Based training. I did script based workshops for several films. From Yash Raj Films “ Mohabbatein ” to Samir Karnik’s forthcoming “ Yamala Pagla Deewana ” and Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Production No. 5, I did many workshops. I did workshop for a Kannada film also, starring Nenapirali Prem and Karishma Tanna. Currently I am supervising dubbing of Aamir Khan Productions “ Dhobi Ghat ”. Aamir Khan’s wife Kiran Rao is the director. Karan Johar produced, Dharma production’s forthcoming film “ I Hate Luv Storys ” could be mentioned as a watershed in my career. Its protagonists – Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor, its music director Shekhar ( of Vishal-Shekhar fame ) and its director Puneet Malhotra, all are my students. It has been a very satisfying journey indeed.
As I conclude my analysis of these 20 years of my life as an acting trainer, I have just one regret. Some of my students criticise me vehemently. Though they are in microscopic minority, but still they are there. I fail to fathom their vehemence and persistence in my criticism. But I have satisfaction that vast majority of my students love me. I value their love and respect. As for my critics are concerned, they are welcome to have their views. I don’t wish to be AJATSHATRU [ Having No Enemy ]. In mythology only Yudhishthir was Ajatshatru, neither Arjun nor Krishna could even boast of this title. They had enemies in legions. I would love to be in company of Krishna and Arjun. Instead of a faceless and spine less Yudhishthir, Arjun and Krishna are any day preferable.
As my third phase ends, it gives me immense satisfaction that it was satisfying phase.
Filed under: Memoirs