Around ten years ago Avinash Dwivedi arrived in Mumbai to participate in a dance reality show. Avinash won the show and that marked the beginning of his journey in the entertainment industry based in Mumbai. The Gorakhpur-born lad, who spent his formative years in Delhi, had his share of ups and downs but now, he feels, he is finally getting the kind of projects that offer him the opportunity to showcase his skills as an actor.
In this interview, the actor talks about his short film ‘Rickshawala’, learning to speak in Bengali, collaborating with filmmaker Ram Kamal Mukherjee, journey as an actor and more.
You were born in Gorakhpur, brought up in Delhi and now, based in Mumbai. In ‘Rickshawala’, you play the role of a rickshaw-puller from Kolkata and speak in Bengali. That must have been quite a challenge for you.
Yes, it was a very big challenge for me but that’s exactly what got me excited about this film. Language should never be a barrier for an actor. It might be a slightly weird example to give but I will say it as I feel it makes perfect sense. I have dogs at home. They don’t speak in our language but still we understand what they are saying. An actor should know how to emote. If you express yourself the emotions honestly, the audience will be able to connect to the character you are portraying.
What was the biggest challenge associated with working on this film?
I had to work a lot of the language. Mr. Ram Kamal Mukherjee helped me a lot in this regard. Initially, it was quite difficult but I was determined to do everything that was require to get into the skin of the character. Learning a new language is quite difficult and you need to invest a lot of time in doing that. When we like a song, we immediately start singing it. The song could be in a language we don’t understand but that doesn’t stop us from connecting to it. I picked up a few Bengal songs from Ram da. I stared listening to them frequently and that helped me understand the exact pronunciation of the words. Pulling the rickshaw was very difficult. I went to Kolkata few days before the shoot was about to start. The team arranged a rickshaw for me. In Kolkata, the streets are very narrow. That amplified the difficulty associated with pulling the rickshaw around the city.
How was the experience of working with Ram Kamal Mukherjee?
It was lovely experience. He knows Kolkata like the back of his hand. He introduced me to a rickshaw puller in Kolkata. I spoke a lot to him an got to know how their life is. One day, I asked him what will he do when he finishes his work for the day. He said, “ghar jaunga, man karega toh khabna banuhah, nahin toh so jaunga”. The team was full of young and energetic people. He is a very hppd wrure and has a very good understanding of emotions. He gives a lot of freedom to his actors.
The film has made rounds of several film festivals and garnered appreciation. Now that it is releasing on an OTT platform, it will reach out to a large audience here in India. How does that make you feel?
I am very excited about it. People had been waiting for a while. We were planning to hold a proper screening for the film. That couldn’t happen because of the pandemic but I am happy that a lot of people get to watch it on the OTT platform.
When did you get interested in acting?
My journey as an actor started in Delhi. I was always very passionate about dance. Initially, my family was not too supportive of my career choices. They wanted me to do engineering but I wanted to do theatre and learn more about acting. My parents said they won’t give me any money to pursue acting. I started learn dance from a teacher in Delhi. Shortly after that, I started training young students in dance. I learnt acting from the money I made as a dance instructor. I came to Mumbai in 2011 to audition for a dance reality show. I ended up winning that show and that’s how my journey in the entertainment industry happened.
What are you doing next?
I have done a feature film called ‘Color Black’ which also stars Sanjai Mishra an Purab Kohli. Apart from being an actor, I pursue writing seriously. I have developed a few scripts. Hopefully, a few of them will be made into films in the near future.