[This article is a part of our series the uncorporate, where we feature unconventional jobs that go beyond the corporate]
One minute his dapper and handsome looks make you skip a heartbeat, the next minute his updates on Facebook make him come across as the funny, caring next door friend, almost belying the fact that this 26 year old is one of the most promising young stars in the Telugu movie industry today. An engineer turned actor, Abhijeeth has an impressive repertoire of Telugu movies in his kitty which include the National Award winning Chandamama Kathalu and the British Asian feature film “Nice 2 Meet U” that was screened at Cannes 2014.
Relatable as Jai in the new-age movie ‘LBW’, a geeky-turned-cool Indian immigrant Abhi in ‘Nice 2 meet u’ and a middle class grocer Ashraf in ‘Chandamama Kathalu’, Abhijeeth has played a diverse range of characters in his short movie career.
In an exclusive chat with OfficeChai, Abhijeeth gives an honest, no-nonsense lowdown on his acting career, the dirt on “Tollywood”, and his transformation from a engineering passout in Hyderabad to being one of the most promising, young actors on the block.
What’s your educational background like?
I’m an electronics and communications engineer by education. I always scored well in my academics and qualified IIT JEE prelims. I was pretty much into academics until my engineering 1st year. (Guffaw)
What made you want to be an actor?
I’ve grown up on movies, and have idolised many actors in the process. I guess almost everyone harbours a secret wish to be that actor on the screen someday! So did I. Though, my tryst with serious acting began in college when I joined a local theatre group Sutradhar. I took part in a theatre workshop to figure out if I had it in me to be an actor. My stint in theatre helped me hone my acting skills. It’s theatre that made me fall in love with the craft of acting and made me realise I had found my true calling.
How did you get your first break?
I had just graduated and started working a normal corporate job when I had applied to a casting call on a website by ‘A working dream production’. I auditioned for the role Jai for the movie ‘LBW- Life before wedding’ and got selected for it, and the rest followed.
What’s an average day for you like?
When I’m not shooting I spend time networking, reading scripts and story narrations for my next projects. I attend city events if any. I (obviously!) watch a lot of films and religiously work out at the gym. I’m social so hang out with my friends quite often too.
What are the challenges of being in this industry? The worst part?
Biggest challenge would be to find the right kind of script.
The worst part of being in this industry is that once you become a part of it, you can never part from it. True story. (laughs)
What are some of your best moments as an actor?
When I got my first break in LBW! The second would be when my British Asian feature film ‘Nice 2 meet u’ got screened at Cannes 2014 and most importantly when my film Chandamama Kathalu won the National award for the Best regional film in 2014.
What honest advice would you give to an aspiring actor?
My honest advice would be to stay true to the craft and not get carried away by the perks of stardom. Also, when you really want to be something, take baby steps towards it. You don’t become a star overnight. There’s a lot of hard work, struggle, failure and learning behind all that glory.
Are you happy with your choice to say no the conventional corporate route, and be an actor? What next?
Absolutely! I always say I’m an actor by profession and not by chance but by choice. I believe it is the best decision I’ve ever made.
As for what’s next, well, I enjoy the process and that’s all that matters. I’m still learning the ropes, have tasted some success and the work is flowing now. I would definitely love to break into Bollywood at some point, but for now, I’m just focused on establishing myself as an actor.