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Updated: April 4, 2013 20:04 IST

Prime role

Ankita Mitra
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Stage to screen: Jahilesh Jain.
Stage to screen: Jahilesh Jain.

Lights, camera and action! The words are enough to create a stir in the heart of an actor, whether a theatre artist or a silver screen star. Jahilesh Jain, a theatre veteran from Bhopal, dreams the same. After having worked in numerous plays and being associated with noted theatre personalities, the time has come for him to shine in films. In his upcoming film “Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan”, based on the life of Lal Bahadur Shastri, which is now in its production stage, Jahilesh plays the central character.

Here Jahilesh talks about his film, theatre life and the importance of training. Excerpts from the interview:

How did you bag the role of Lal Bahadur Shastri?

I have been doing theatre for the last 15 years now, even though I’ve not worked much in films before. This is my first major breakthrough. I had earlier played Lal Bahadur Shastri in a short role in a film based on the life of Guru Golwalkar and got noticed because of that. The filmmakers then thought I fit the role.

Considering your role is based on the life of India’s second Prime Minister, how will you do justice to it? justify it?

There has been no leader like Lal Bahadur Shastri. For my current character I am not just getting adjusted to his physical characteristics, because that can be done with the help of makeup. I’m focusing more on reading up about his way of life, like how he behaved or tackled things on a day-to-day basis.

Why didn’t you start your career with commercial cinema?

I’ve never tried venturing into commercial cinema. Plus, I’m associated with several cultural and well as community causes, so films like the current one make me happy.

Life in theatre…

I’ve done theatre with the likes of Habib Tanvir, Alaknandan and Vibha Mishra, besides joining many groups. Until now I’ve done almost 300 plays and portrayed a variety of characters. From playing serious roles to acting as a woman, I’ve done it all.

What role does theatre play in enhancing an actor’s skills, especially when one considers it comes to the current generation’s Bollywood fascination?

Today, the youths want to become stars and not actors. They want to do everything in a fast-paced manner without going through any proper procedure. These youths may at times succeed, but there are instances where the result is not so optimistic. Therefore until the time one doesn’t undergo theatre training, it is very difficult to refine one’s acting skills.

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