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In a new ring

DIRECTOR’S ACTOR: Ravi Kishan says audiences want to see real emotions on screen

DIRECTOR’S ACTOR: Ravi Kishan says audiences want to see real emotions on screen  

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Bhojpuri star Ravi Kishan reflects on his innings as a malleable supporting actor in Hindi films

One of the few positives of the Hindi version of Mani Ratnam’s Raavan was the performance of Ravi Kishan. The star of Bhojpuri cinema and a spent force in Hindi films suddenly found a new lease of life on celluloid as a supporting actor in Mumbai and a sought after villain in southern films. Ravi has the unique ability to be loud and subtle depending on the director and the medium. That’s why he could carry multiple images at the same time. After impressing in Tanu Weds Manu, this week he packed a punch in Mukkabaaz.

Excerpts:

How do you look back at your journey?

It was quite an experience. I have received love from across the country and I am fortunate that people respect my passion for cinema. The good thing is they remember me for the roles that I played and not just because of my work across different industries.

In that journey, there was a long period of struggle as well…

I knew for sure that one day the sun will rise only for me. As I am a spiritual person, I knew God cannot be rude to me. I know that God can only take care of me as I did not have any godfather in the industry. Jiska koi nahin uska to khuda hai yaro...

What brought you to acting?

It is all planned. Somewhere somebody is sitting who is blessing you with the talent. There is a need to entertain a country which is tired of many problems. An artist seeks his or own qaum (community) and eventually one finds the company which makes him realise what resides inside us.

It is said that your father, a priest, did not want you to become an actor…

That was because of the taboo attached to the medium. I dedicate my career to my mother who really pushed me to do what I really wanted to do. My father now is a very happy man. He is over 90 years old and is very proud of me because I succeeded in my journey. Now there stands a bungalow in place of the broken house; everyone is settled.

How has the perception of people from Hindi film industry changed after your success in Bhojpuri and southern films?

I started as a leading man in small movies; and then I become a supporting actor. I created my own space by acting in Bhojpuri cinema and became a youth icon there. Playing negative characters in the south and pivotal characters in Bollywood give me a kick. I am a practical man and I know it keeps me balanced and grounded. Now Hindi film industry has younger people, they have the technology and intellect to understand how to utilise one’s talent.

When we already have a thriving regional cinema, why there is an expectation from mainstream Bollywood to tell stories of small towns and villages

Because these days interesting stories can only be found in smaller places and success of filmmakers like Anand L. Rai and Anurag Kashyap shows that people want stories from smaller regions. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is the heartland of India and even people from overseas like it.

There is a lack of emotions in metro cities and that is reflected in the stories set there. They will only have extramarital affairs, drugs, murders or robberies. But people want to see real emotions. These stories have freshness and majority of people can relate to these stories.

How do you mould yourself while doing a supporting role like the one in Mukkabaaz?

Somewhere down the line, I have realised that I am a mass entertainer and I know what people will love. But I am a good actor as well and that is why people cast me. From Shyam Benegal to Tigmanshu Dhulia and now Anurag Kashyap, directors cast me because I do not carry a definite mannerism and fit into the roles assigned to me. I work strategically and nurture the actor in me. The characters in a film like Mukkabaaz are like those challenges for me where I want to supersede my star persona.

Anurag Kashyap had the same notion…

Absolutely. He used to think that I am a superstar and cannot be a supporting actor. But he was not aware that I always wanted to work with him so I sent him a video as an audition for the role. He told me that he feared that I might throw tantrums like asking for a separate vanity van every time but he found me very grounded. He is not dictatorial and gives actors all the freedom to try whatever they want.

Mukkabaaz reflects on the political scenario in the country. As an actor who has been openly associated with politics, how do you see it?

Cinema is a reflection of the society that we live in. Whatever is shown in the film is happening in the villages, whichever place you go. The film is not hitting the government; it is reflecting the system. Like government may sanction money for a sportsman, but it does not reach to the beneficiary.

I do not have big political aspirations but if I ever come to full-time politics, I will try helping people whichever way I can.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:30:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/in-a-new-ring/article22449239.ece

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