Vidur Acting Institute Spreads Across Two Generations


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 17, 2016           08.00 P.M.

In this ephemeral world of films , it is very difficult to survive for 25 years. Banners are stablished and one day they disappear. Film-makers start their journey and one day they cease to exist. Acting Training is also same. Since it is mostly ruled by unscrupulous, scheming liars, it withers before bloom. Since deceit is the pattern for majority of so-called famous acting trainers of Mumbai or India, it implode before becoming a long-living entity.

In this world of treacherous, unscrupulous and fraudulent scamsters, roaming around as best acting trainers of Mumbai, I always wonder how I survived for 26 long years. From 1990 to 2016, it seems an impossible journey. People become obsolete in 26 years. They become redundant after becoming old. They become cynics with advancing age. Finally, they slip into irrelevance. But this didn’t happen to me. It is God’s mercy. It is because of the fact that even after 26 years my students have faith on me. And this faith has made me AN ACTING TRAINER OF TWO GENERATIONS.

In the 26th year of my career, I have started my 100th batch on April 07, 2016. And this batch have a girl named SHINOVA SONI. Years ago, precisely 19 years ago, I trained her mother APARNA SONI also. Here is the complete story.

APARNA SONI [ the mother, got trained in 1997 ] SHINOVA SONI [ the daughter, getting trained in 2016 ]

APARNA SONI [ the mother, got trained in 1997 ] SHINOVA SONI [ the daughter, getting trained in 2016 ]


1997           SHEETAL APARTMENT – JUHU           BOMBAY



It was a normal, forgettable, hot and humid Summer day in Bombay. The year was 1997. The place was ground floor hall of SHEETAL APARTMENT near CHANDAN CINEMA, JUHU. An acting batch started. It had KAREENA KAPOOR, UDAY CHOPRA & SUDHANSHU PANDEY. Apart from above mentioned names, the batch also had a dusky, kohl-eyed beauty. Her name was APARNA SONI.

That is the beginning of the story. No Acting Trainer can forget students like KAREENA KAPOOR, UDAY CHOPRA & SUDHANSHU PANDEY. But one can easily forget APARNA SONI.

After mandatory 3 months period, the batch ended. Months came and gone. Seasons changed colours. Years passed. Age took me with all its ferocity and the vagaries of time engulfed me completely. I did remember KAREENA KAPOOR, UDAY CHOPRA & SUDHANSHU PANDEY. But APARNA SONI doggedly refused to be obfuscated from my memory. She refused to be just another student, who came for 3 months and simply faded away. And the efforts for maintaining this relationship were always from her side.

One phone call a month ………………. few occasional messages here & there ……………………. season’s greetings ………………… festival wishes, she was always there. She always calls. She is always there if occasion arises. She always recommends students for my acting training institute. Once when I was hospitalised, she used to come daily. Till the time I was in hospital, she came every day without fail.



2016           BUNGALOW NO. 52 – MHADA           MUMBAI


With SHINOVA SONI in My Office

With SHINOVA SONI in My Office

On March 22, 2016, I got a call from her. I thought that it is one of her regular calls. Next day on March 23, 2016, she came to meet me with her daughter. She wanted to admit her daughter in VIDUR Acting Institute .

It was again a normal, forgettable, hot and humid Summer day. Only change is that now the city is not Bombay. And the year is not 1997. City is now rechristened Mumbai and the year is 2016. And yes the student is also not APARNA. The student is SHINOVA, who just like her mother, is also a dusky, kohl-eyed beauty

It never occurred to me that 19 year have passed since APARNA completed her training. In 1997, I never ever expected that after training APARNA SONI, one day I would be training her daughter also. I never imagined this even in my wildest dreams. But 19 year after training mother APARNA SONI, I am training her daughter SHINOVA SONI too.

It is not easy to become AN ACTING TRAINER OF TWO GENERATIONS. It is very rare chance. Apart from Shri Roshan Taneja, no other acting trainer of India can claim that they have trained two generations. Taneja Sir trained SHRI SHATRUGHAN SINHA & his son LUV SINHA.


Vidur Acting Institute Logo




Ameen Sayani Turns 80 Today


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 21 , 2012           04.35 P.M.

Ameen Sayani , the name may not be very familiar for the present day generation of Radio listeners , but for the people of my generation he was the biggest ever star of ” Aawaz Ki Duniya ” .

It is so heartening that he turns 80 today .

Ameen Sayani

Ameen Sayani

HisBinaca Geet mala ” , later on re-christened as ” Cibaca Geet Mala ” , was integral part of our growing years . Wednesdays were not the same for us after this famous radio programme got closed . This iconic show was first aired in 1952 and continued till 1988 on Radio Ceylon . Then it started coming on Vividh Bharti from 1989 and continued till 1994 . This was the first Radio Countdown show of film songs in India and had 42 years of run on airwaves . Ameen Sahab is synonymous with this show .


Apart from ” Binaca Geet Mala ” , he used to produce various other programmes for radio . ” S. Kumar Ka Filmy Muqaddama “ was another trend setter .


Ameen Sayani started his announcing career from Radio Ceylone , which later on came to be known Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation . Contrary to all the RJs of today , he has his own distinct style . He always started his announcements with  ” …………… Behno aur bhaiyon …………………………. ” and ” ………………Awaaz ki duniya ke mere dosto ………………………. ” . People of my generation are so familiar with his inimitable style and distinct voice that no one can miss it .


In films likeBhoot Bangla ” [ 1965 ] andTeen Devian ” [  1965 ] he appeared on-screen also as himself .

His body of work can still be enjoyed through this compilation .



He , apart from several other awards , was also awarded Padma Shri in 2009 . We are fortunate that this iconic figure is completing 8o years and still among us .

Years ago I first met him through Mr. Kishore Namit Kapoor . After that I met him three times till date . First it was marriage ceremony of Vikas Kalantri‘s sister . Then I was invited to Neil Nitin Mukesh‘s sister marriage reception and Ameen Sahab was also there. I met him last at the music release function of film ” Sadiyaan ” [ 2010 ] , Luv Sinha’s debut film .

I , on behalf of all the current students and staff of my acting school Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , wish Ameen Sahab many more successful years ahead .



Raj Kanwar : A Journey From ” Deewana ” to ” Sadiyaan “

Mr. Raj Kanwar

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 05 , 2012           11.15 P.M.

Death is always painful . It is more painful if a young life is lost . I was shocked when I heard about the sad demise of Mr. Raj Kanwar . He died on February 03 , 2012 at the age of  51 in Singapore . He was suffering from kidney ailment from the past year . It is uncanny that his elder brother Mr. K. Pappu also died of kidney ailment  and that too almost at the same age .

He started his film journey as an assistant to Shekhar Kapur and Raj Kumar Santoshi . He started as independent director with ” Deewana ” [1992 ] , a Rishi Kapoor , Shah Rukh Khan and Divya Bharti starrer . This film is Shah Rukh Khan’s first and major hit in Hindi film industry .

After stupendous success of ” Deewana “ [ 1992 ] , he made another blockbuster ” Laadla ” [ 1994 ] . And then followed ” Kartavya ” [ 1995 ] .

After 3 hits in a row , he made ” Jaan ” [ 1996 ] and ” Jeet ” [ 1996 ] . Both the films were released in 1996 .

Next year , he returned with 2 films ;  ” Judaai ” [ 1997 ] and ” Itihaas ” [ 1997 ] .

” Itihaas “ was followed by ” Daag : The Fire ” [ 1999 ] and ” Badal ” [ 2000 ] .

2000 was the only year in the entire career of Mr. Raj Kanwar , when he made 3 films . Apart from ” Badal “ , he made Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega ” [ 2000 ] andDhaai Akshar Prem Ke ” [ 2000 ] .

” Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke “ shall always be remembered by the connoisseurs of Hindi films because it brought Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai together on the screen for the first time . After this film , he came with ” Farz ” [ 2001 ] .

After ” Farz “ , he returned withAb Ke Baras ” [ 2002 ] . Unfortunately this film bombed at the box office . In this film he introduced Aarya Babbar and Amrita Rao . Incidentally , Aarya babbar is my student .

Ab Ke Baras

Image via Wikipedia

After ” Ab Ke Baras “ , he came with ” Andaaz ” [ 2003 ] , one of the biggest hits of his career . He introduced Priyanka Chopra  and Lara Datta in this film . And again incidentally Priyanka Chopra is my student .

After 3 years hiatus , he returned with ” Humko Deewana Kar gaye ” [ 2006 ] .

Then again he returned after a gap of  4 years with ” Sadiyaan ” [ 2010 ] . It is sad that his last film bombed badly . Despite all the brickbats it got , it will always be close to my heart because it introduced 2 of my students ; Luv Sinha and Ferena Wazeir .

In total he made 16 films in a career spanning 20 years . He gave break to many new comers . Among his discoveries 4 are my students . They are ; Priyanka Chopra , Aarya Babbar , Luv Sinha and Ferena Wazeir .

During the making of ” Sadiyaan “ , I met him in his office . He wanted to know about Ferena’s progress and I went to meet him along with Ferena . I still remember the evening I spent with him .

Then again I met him at the music launch of  ” Sadiyaan “ at The Club . I never knew that it was my last meeting with him .

At The Music Launch of Sadiyaan

Rest In Peace Sir ! You will be missed .





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