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Touch, move, inspire


Insanely busy yet bereft of any fatigue, Ashish Vidyarthi dons new roles, writes Souvik Chowdhury

ASHISH VIDYARTHI is also an actor. Actually, he is an interesting mix of what he always wanted to be and where he is at the moment.

The 40-something history grad from Hindu College, Ashish, is running a crusade against felling of mangroves in Mumbai, transforming others' lives by reaching out through the Landmark Foundation, managing an empowered social organisation - Today for Tomorrow, conducting regular theatre and leadership workshops, besides dabbling hugely in arts, music and literary pursuits, in addition to running a family with enough time for wife Peelu and three-and-half year old son Mogu, short for Mogli.

The NSD graduate also acts - pretty powerful, intense and brilliant at that - with not less than a couple of projects at his hand at any given time. Hardly has there been anybody who's swiped clean the National award in a debut. Drohkaal still remains to be surpassed - a record for which one can never ignore the much-admired Ashish Vidyarthi.

"Life is not only about agendas and plans. It is about celebration," articulates Ashish as he adds, "Enjoying life leaves me with a powerful feeling that I can do much more, in terms of my search to touch, move and inspire others." Until recently he was only an actor and going through the "marauding experience" of a divorce and its bad after-taste.

He was then, by his own admission, a self-possessed man, full of himself and unhappy.

"Landmark Foundation has effected a 360 degree change in my life." It sure does reflect in the reassuring smile and cheerful disposition of the man, whose off-screen persona is diametrically opposite his on-screen avatar which is obsessed with knifing, bashing, gunning down people before finding himself in a pool of blood.

"And how?" Landmark is a "holistic technology". He adds, "I find my sense of being whole and complete in whatever I do, so life becomes a fulfilling experience. Anyone who has undergone the course will agree with me when I say the technology empowers one to transform oneself and others to a plane from where life can only be positive."

On the way to the sets of Gudamba Shankar, Ashish gives a running monologue on the endless possibilities Landmark has to offer. "No. This is not high philosophy, my friend. It is a life transforming technology. Prove me wrong by attending the Landmark forum we are holding in October," he challenges.

About Today for Tomorrow, Ashish adds, "Even that is a result of my involvement with the Foundation, which has taught me to give back to society. Today for Tomorrow is an organisation that unites people and asks them about the kind of India they dream of."

"Following that we request them to take a two-kilometre stretch anywhere and turn it into a model for the country. Work has already begun in Goregaon (E), near my house, where we plan to plant a thousand trees on August 1. I invite Hyderabad, and every corner of the country to replicate the thought and transform India in the process."

In between a shot of the film where Ashish plays the character Kumar Swamy, he just finds enough time to chip in, "It maybe a pipe dream but I am here to ensure it gets realised. After all we are only limited by our imagination, otherwise possibilities are endless."

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