Last time around it was the turn of the music composer of Shuttlecock Boys, Avinash Baghel to share his thoughts on the experience and now I hand it over to one of the main actors of the film, Aakar Kaushik.
“Rukna tu ab kahin, teri zindagi hai ab yahin, peeche mudhke na dekhna, manzil tujhse hai keh rahi.”
These are the first few lines of my upcoming film Shuttlecock boys. I never knew that these words are just not the lyrics of a song but something much more which I realize today as I sit in this cabin and write this blog. The date being 28th july 2012, one day more than the day 4 years back i.e 27th july 2008 when I gave the second round of audition for a film titled “4 boys from Delhi”, now called “Shuttlecock boys”. Nostalgic, totally. DAV school, Darya Ganj was the location and suprisingly I was not at all nervous. I had still not come under the circuit of these regular auditions and meeting budding film-makers etc. Having met Hemant Kumar Gaba I thought this is the entry to bollywood. Hahaha….I was what, 21 years old then. Hemant came and sat next to me on the pavement of the school and as I am a very respectful person stood up as THE DIRECTOR was walking towards me. He asked me a simple question, “Are you ready to put on weight?”. I looked at myself and a thought came just like a bubble in cartoons, “isse bhi zyada???”. Ignoring the bubbles I instantly said “yes yes, why not, anything for the character”. He seemed impressed (this is what I thought though). He smiled at me and walked away. 2 months later I got a call. It was from a Delhi number but the voice was American. Mr Gaba said “Hello”. I swear I had never till then spoken to anyone who had an accent or any non-indian till that time. But somehow managed to hang on and decided to meet Hemant at a CCD in Connaught place, New Delhi. As the meeting ended the consecutive day, here I was an actor in “4 boys from Delhi”. My body language changed and I started feeling like the next Shahrukh who is soon gonna make a Mannatein-Muraad in band stand Mumbai. Mind you, I had never ever been to Mumbai so far in life. That’s how the journey began as we started shooting in the month of November, 2008. The shoot finished in a small schedule of 25 days.
Having a background from a film school and expertise in acting from BJAS (Barry John Acting school), these 25 days were the most professional days of my life at 21. Life moved on. I had finished my graduation just a few days before Shuttlecock Boys was locked. I thought it’s time to enjoy. For the next 6 months I was doing nothing. Chilling, enjoying on dad’s hard earned money (which I did not realize then). Then finally came the time to move on. I did not know what to do, where to go, whom to call. Spoke to a few friends in Mumbai, they sounded weird and unethical. So eased up in life, so chilled out. “Dude come to Mumbai, kuch na kuch to ho jayega”. I thought a step is needed to enter the industry. Guess what happened. I ended up taking an assistant director’s job for a mythological show which was being shot in Vadodara. Booked my tickets and left. No talks happened regarding money, nothing at all. However I had a word with the concerned person from the production department, who said you come here and we will figure out. And there I was in baroda for the next 4 months at a meager wage of Rs 300 per day. Adding on to that, I got my cheque from the production house 1 year later. Now that’s a tale of its own. Finally, September 27th 2009 I packed my bags from Delhi, convinced my parents and reached Mumbai. I was glad to have my cousin sister who gave me shelter here and I entered the Maya Nagri.
I fell in love. Just a month later, I was dating. However it did not last for long but it was sweet and painful. Realized love and Mumbai don’t go hand in hand. Practicality, love and Mumbai are good friends. As the years passed, I developed inclination in writing and direction. That I have already worked as an actor was always on my mind, but no one knows you unless your film is out i.e. released. So I could not tell people that I have worked in a film. They would ask simply, “kaunsi film? Aisi picturon mein to humne khoob kaam kiya hai, kabhi dekha hai humein?”. I would grin and talk business. I woke up one night and told myself, Aakar no looking back. Get into the system to be a part of it. Face the reality. Finally I made up my mind that I want to assist good directors. I want to make a film one day. Till date I have worked in 5 films as an assistant director. But nothing big, I wanted to learn from small films to be a part of the big ones. Time passed by, learnt the technicalities, observed the actors, mulled over the scripts and here I am today sitting in the cabin of Yashraj films writing this blog and still people coming from behind and saying “waah, script likhi ja rahi hai, likho likho”. Now what should I tell them, yes, no, maybe. I say an honest answer-NO. And believe me, honesty pays a lot in this industry. Initially it might not get noticed but someday sometime it surely will. I am super excited about the 3rd of August when Shuttlecock boys will hit the theatres of PVR in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and hopefully special shows in Kolkata, Hyderabad etc. I really want to thank my parents for being such a great support, friends and well wishers for me. Without their positivity and faith all this, this journey would not have been possible. Hemant Kumar Gaba is truly an inspiration and I thank him for having a belief in himself and then us. This is what I felt and this is what I wrote.