“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream”, goes a famous quote by British writer C. S. Lewis. Krishna Kotian is surely somebody who believes in this statement. Despite having a very successful career in advertising, he decided to follow his heart and fulfill his dream of becoming an actor at the age of 51. After making his acting debut with the Rajinikanth starrer ‘Darbar’, the actor got to play plum roles in several films and digital shows like ‘Main Hero Boll Raha Hu’, ‘Rocket Boys’, ‘Bestseller’, ‘Masaba Masaba’, ‘Twisted 3’, ‘Avrodh 2’ and ‘Criminal Justice 3’.
In this interview, Kotian talks about making his debut in his early ‘50s, leaving behind a cushy job to follow his dreams, working in the OTT space, ambition as an actor and more.
You had a very successful career in advertising and had worked with top agencies like Lintas. What made you switch your career and become an actor at the age of 51?
I always wanted to act. More than two decades ago, I did some work as an actor but soon enough, I realized that I needed to do something to run my kitchen. Acting is not a regular job. You could be working on a project today and there might not be any work for the next few weeks. When you are younger and have a lot of responsibilities, it gets a little difficult to chase your dreams. I had to choose between acting and a stable profession.
I decided to take up a job as I thought it was the right thing for me to do at that point in time. However, I remained abreast of what was happening in the industry. At Lintas, I was heading a division which was into brand placement. I used to meet film and TV producers quite regularly because of the nature of my job. My work helped me stay in touch with the industry. In the year 2018, I decided to give acting a shot. I feel it’s never too late to follow your passion.
Back in the day, did you do any acting course or undergo some kind of formal training?
No, I have never done any acting course. However, I have been a part of theatre workshops and one-act plays.
You were interacting with the people from the industry when you were working in the advertising industry. Did that make it easier to approach them when you decided to get into the industry as an actor?
Initially, I used to think that getting acting jobs would be easier as I knew some people in the industry. However, soon enough I realized that it was not going to be an easy process. You have to stand in a queue and give auditions. After giving 100 auditions, you get 2 or 3 jobs. I had to go through multiple rounds of auditions for my first film ‘Darbar’. Even now, I give 15 – 20 auditions every month.
You have done a lot of work in the OTT space. Do you think the rise of streaming platforms has resulted in a larger number of people getting employed?
Definitely! There is a lot more work happening in the industry because of the digital boom. The earliest streaming shows largely featured newer actors or the ones who had not got their due till then. Now, the biggest film actors are working with OT platforms. One can sense that OTT platforms are now looking to invest in projects that feature big stars.
Was it difficult to put a successful advertising career behind to pursue acting?
Initially, it was quite difficult. After all, I was leaving behind a job that helped me earn a healthy salary every month. As an actor, you are not busy all the time. There are days when you are just sitting at home and waiting for somebody to call you. Having said that, I have no regrets.
I am happy that I am following my dream which I couldn’t do earlier. My son has grown older and I have fulfilled many of my responsibilities. You have just one life, so you must try and do what your heart tells you to. In the last two years, I have got a lot of good work to do. I feel fortunate to get so many wonderful opportunities.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Every actor waits for that one project that catapults them into another league. That is what I am striving for. You never know which character will become popular and change your fortunes. I have a couple of projects lined up for release. I have shot for films like R Balki’s ‘Ghoomar’ Om Raut’s ‘Adipurush’. I have also played a part in ‘The Good Wife, a Dinsey+ Hotstar series that features Kajol in the lead role.