“It’s Not Too Late My Time Will Come!” -Abhimanyu Singh
From his first film Aks to his latest MOM, ABHIMANYU SINGH is the man who has given spine-chilling performances in every character he has portrayed in Tollywood and Bollywood. His venomous red-eyed stare on the big-screen has the power to give the audience goose bumps in ‘reel life’. And now this baddie of B-town is on the hunt for more. As intimidating as his personality might seem, this man is indeed a true gentleman in real life. So now what’s next? Let’s spill the beans… You have worked in several Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi films. How has your experience been playing different characters in varied genres? It has been a wonderful experience on the whole because working in different languages gives you the opportunity to be more skilful. By that I mean not knowing the language perfectly but still delivering the content, upgrades your skills. I believe this has been a strengthening process for me, it has given my acting skills a lot of strength altogether.
You have undoubtedly made your mark in Bollywood, was it an easy route or were there hurdles that came your way?
It hasn’t been an easy ride for me. Being someone who has come from Patna, having done my schooling from a small town. My turning point was at the time when I went to Stephens College which is supposed to be one of the best colleges in India. So when I was there, I met a lot of the ‘cream’ crowd. And my exposure to life, education, and to the world came in the foray. And then from there on, I started dreaming of becoming an actor. After doing my graduation when I came to Mumbai, thankfully I stuck to one theatre group called Ansh with Makarand Deshpande who taught me acting. I got the opportunity to play a lot of lead roles and a variety of characters in his plays. From there, I gradually got into television, and then films. And now I am here, and I still feel I have a long way to go.
Did you aspire to become an actor since childhood?
I was in my 20s when I actually started dreaming of becoming an actor
You have given a phenomenal performance in your latest film MOM, how did it come your way?
Mukesh Chhabra suggested my name to the director of the film, who immediately recollected my performance as Ransa in Gulaal and he insisted on meeting me. And the moment he met me, he was pretty sure that I was going to do this role. And for me, getting an opportunity to work with Sridevi was like a dream come true. I just wanted to grab the opportunity and it was a meaty role. So I just said, ‘I will do it.’
How was your experience working alongside one of the finest artistes in the industry, Sridevi. Could you share a few anecdotes?
I find myself lucky to have a co-star like Sridevi. Sridevi could have treated me like a common actor but she treated me with a lot of respect. And I am saying this because we straight away started filming for the climax. We were shooting for it in Georgia and the weather was – 9 degrees. I was standing in the snow, and I was giving my 100 per cent. Even when I was not in the frame, I was standing there to give cues. That’s when she started liking my professionalism. She told Boney ji that this actor makes a lot of sense, every time I look at him, he is in his character. After packup, Boney ji told me, ‘I have never heard Sri appreciating someone so much in a long time’.
During such hectic shooting schedules, how do you maintain a balance between your personal and professional life?
When I am not shooting, I try to spend time with my kids, wife, friends, and family. And I try to be around nature, I try to mix with common people, and catch up with my old friends.
How do you keep yourself motivated on a dull day? What is your recreation therapy?
I keep thinking about my past when I was not this successful. When I used to travel by bus and train, when I was living in Khar East Railway Quarters so that motivates me that at least today, I am growing, I can have a very good lifestyle now. I own a Land Rover, my kids are going to expensive schools. All of these thoughts motivate me that I am going a step further and not behind. I completely believe in this phrase that slow and steady
wins the race. Now as you said, some days are very dull, you feel you deserve a little more. As an actor, you feel you should have meaty roles or main protagonist characters in films and when you don’t have, you feel sad about it. But then I convince myself that maybe it’s not too late, my time will come.
Are you in a happy space? Are you satisfied with your career graph?
As a family man, I am very happy, I love my wife, my kids. But if you ask me whether I am happy as a creative person then I am not. I feel that I can do much more than what I am doing. I am not satisfied with the kind of roles I am getting for sure, I want more meaty roles. I feel I am way more capable of doing much more good stuff.
If not an actor, what would Abhimanyu Singh’s profession be?
I would have been an IAS officer or a farmer. IAS officer because my parents wanted me to become one. If I’d not been able to cope up with the stress of being an IAS officer then maybe I would resign someday and become a farmer because my grandfather was a farmer, and I loved farming.
If you could remake one of your Telugu or Gujarati films in Bollywood, which one would it be and why?
There is one film called Dalam, in that film I played the role of a cop, and it was inspired by true incidents. It is a very interesting story.
Talking about remakes, Bollywood remakes a lot of South films. Do you feel somewhere Bollywood is losing out on its creativity?
Yes, I do agree that if you’re remaking a film then there is no creativity left. Bollywood’s creativity is going for a toss. Because where is the creativity when you are remaking a super hit film, and if you are remaking a super hit film, it is bound to be a super hit. Because it has clicked with the audience once. The entire Indian emotion is one, so if it has clicked in some area, it is bound to get clicked in other areas as well.
And what about the Censor Board? Do you feel censorship is taking away the freedom of filmmakers?
Yes to some extent, censorship is taking away the freedom of filmmakers. Now they have got Anurag on board so let’s see how much of a difference that will make. But on the whole, there is too much interference by the censor board and that is not very commendable for the industry. Because it’s about freedom of thought and expression unless you’re becoming really vulgar, the censor board shouldn’t interfere so much.
So if you could change a few things about the industry what would they be?
At the end of the day, the industry will work as it has to work. But some kind of system for actors is needed. We don’t just need guys who go to the gym, pump up their muscles and become actors. The industry should be investing in good cinema, good scripts, and good actors, these are the three things, I would like to change about the industry. Because in today’s time, the industry doesn’t care about good scripts and good actors. They are only behind the formula, if they use the formula the film becomes a super hit overnight.
Keeping the industry aside what is that one quality that you like about yourself and dislike and would want to change it?
Well, the one quality that I like about myself is being very hopeful. And the one thing I don’t like about myself is becoming disillusioned about acting for a while. At times, I feel I am not getting my due and the kind of roles I should be getting I am not getting those, sometimes it happens and then, I become disillusioned. Then suddenly everything becomes normal and starts falling into place.
Sridevi could have treated me like a common actor but she treated me with a lot of respect.”
The industry should be investing in good cinema, good scripts, and good actors.”