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India Today - - SIMPLY BANGALORE -

He was an as­pir­ing ac­tor who spoke in stilted English. So no one wanted to cast Pawan Ku­mar in any of their plays. That’s when he de­cided to write his own pro­duc­tions. He also saw an NIE (News­pa­per in Ed­u­ca­tion) Play Fest in 1995 where dif­fer­ent teams com­peted through pro­duc­tions they would stage. It was the first time he had watched a play. “When the chance to par­tic­i­pate in Play

Fest came up the next year, I thought we should give it a go,” he says. “I didn’t know that writ­ten plays ex­isted. So I wrote and con­cep­tu­alised the en­tire pro­duc­tion. And that year, we won the first place.”

TRUE CALL­ING Though Pawan en­joyed the­atre, he never thought he would do it full time. But af­ter a few semesters of writ­ing en­gi­neer­ing ex­ams, one day he walked out of the exam hall hav­ing scrib­bled the words, “This is the last exam I am writ­ing,” on his pa­per.

In 2002, he wrote, di­rected and per­formed solo in The

Fi­nal Re­hearsal in front of Alyque Padamsee’s son, Quasar, who was re­cruit­ing for TH­ESPO—THE an­nual the­atre fes­ti­val in Mum­bai. That year, he won the Best Ac­tor Award. Af­ter two years, he re­turned to Ban­ga­lore to start his own the­atre com­pany, AC­TOR Pro­duc­tions.

MOV­ING TO THE SIL­VER SCREEN But the­atre has a bud­get re­straint and Ku­mar found that he was not able to at­tract the kind of au­di­ence that he wanted to with the avail­able funds. So he went back to Mum­bai to learn film-mak­ing. When he came back to Ban­ga­lore, he was cast as a vil­lain by di­rec­tor Suri of Duniya fame in his lat­est at the time, In­thi Ninna Preethiya. Through Suri, he met di­rec­tor Yog­a­raj Bhat, known for his hit film Mun­garu Male, which he co-wrote with Pree­tam Gubbi. Ku­mar worked with Bhat as an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor un­til he was of­fered to di­rect his own film Lifeu Isht­ene in 2010—a dark com­e­dy­drama that raked in an open­ing col­lec­tion of Rs six crore and re­ceived pos­i­tive crit­i­cal re­views.

Af­ter three years with the di­rec­tor’s camp, Ku­mar is now work­ing on his first independent fea­ture film.

Con­tact: http://pawanthe­ac­tor.com/

sec­ond opinion

“He is one of my favourite peo­ple. I ex­pect many great things from him in the fu­ture. He is an as­set to Kar­nataka.”

YOG­A­RAJ BHAT, DI­REC­TOR

“My par­ents were un­happy about my ca­reer choice and cut me off fi­nan­cially. That was good be­cause it taught me how to stand on my

own two feet.”

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