Actors may play policemen in films and television but some who play a cop in real life occasionally take time out to keep their love for acting alive.
Nandkumar Sawant, a head constable at the Colaba police station, has spent 30 years in the force, and in 25 of these years he also pursued acting. “I used to see my older brother do one-man shows and was inspired. Being on stage and receiving that applause made me determined to be an actor as well,” he explained.
Sawant’s acting journey began when he was in Class XII, and a teacher was on the lookout for a male actor to play a part in an annual day event.
However, he eventually decided to don the khaki, and joined the Mumbai Police in 1987. In the years that followed, Sawant formed an acting group of six-seven like-minded colleagues. In 1992, they took part in a state-wide Marathi drama competition. His team finished fourth. “We received a lot of support from superiors; they wanted us to showcase the police forces’ name and made sure we participated,” he said.
His acting skills are widely praised and he bagged the ‘Best Actor Award’ in state-level competition five times between 1992 and 2010. Over the years, his group’s acting skills developed and fetched them the best acting team in the state in 2010.
“I have been offered a role in many soap operas over the years and am part of a crime web series that will be released soon,” says Sawant.
Work hours can be long for men in khaki along with the emergency shifts, the risks and the physical strain. But in a job as gruelling as the police force, challenges were not few. “When my wife was hospitalised for one and a half months during my daughter’s Class X board exams, it was tough to manage family, work and hobbies.” he recalls.
He believes that the encouragement he received from his family and superiors in the force helped him realise his acting dream.
“My wife and daughters, and senior officers like Hemant Karkare (former ATS chief who lost life in the 26/11 terror attacks) and Sadanand Date have been crucial to helping me pursue my passion. I do not know where I would be without them,” he says.