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Monday, April 19, 2021

First of Many: Vindu Dara Singh revisits Karan

This week's First of Many features Vindu Dara Singh. In the 75th edition of our exclusive series, the actor talks about his first film as a male lead, Karan (1994).

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi |
March 31, 2021 10:15:45 am
vindu dara singh acting debut karan filmVindu Dara Singh starrer Karan released in 1994. (Photos: Express Archives)

There’s more to Vindu Dara Singh than his Bigg Boss journey. The winner of season three of the reality show, Vindu, comes from a family of stalwarts, and confesses that he never had to struggle to get into the showbiz. Being a part of the industry for nearly five decades, Vindu started off as a child artiste when he was five, until his first film as a main lead happened.

Son of ace wrestler, actor and politician Dara Singh, Vindu had the perfect star entry in Bollywood. But according to him, he lacked the drive to build a Bollywood career. Vindu, however ended up doing dozens of films including Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, Partner, Housefull, Son of Sardaar and more, apart from TV shows.

Here’s what he shared about his first film as a male lead, and how life happened to him after that:

What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?

My first film as a hero was Karan. In those times, there were so many producers that anybody could make a film. Movies were made in limit and budget, say in Rs 1 crore, you could launch you kid. I learned fight, dance and acting for a year, during which I got some acting offers which I skipped. That’s because we had planned to make our own film for my launch, so that we can put in elements to the best of my talent. Since my father was making it, director Shiv Kumar worked on its story for a long time. That’s how Karan was made at a good scale. But a little before its release, the movie of Aamir Khan’s brother came which failed to perform. When such a thing happens in our industry, people get scared. That’s the set routine. So if one star kid does not work, people assume the other one won’t work as well. Karan didn’t get exactly the kind of release it should’ve got everywhere. It worked in certain places and bombed at others. So it got mixed reviews. Like in Mumbai, it ran for 15 houseful weeks, and disappeared in no time in Delhi. It was all fate, but we had a blast making it.

Karan was shot in 1993, and released in 1994. It was an action-love story. When Zee TV started in India, it would telecast for few hour between evening and night. Rest of the time, it showed songs. That time songs of a movie starring Aditya Pancholi were shown. I reached out to him and Aditya explained the process to me. We followed it and eventually, when Zee TV would stop during the day, Karan’s songs would play between 6 PM-7 PM before the channel began airing post 7 PM. That became our advantage and our songs became popular.

karan film poster vindu dara singh The poster of Vindu Dara Singh starrer Karan. (Photo: Express Archives)

What do you remember of your first day on set?

Mohan Kumar gave the first clap. We started with action in my first scene because that was our expertise and you always start with something you are comfortable in. And there was a lot of action in Karan. That shot was filmed at Mukesh Mill, and there wasn’t too much of acting on day one, so that I get relaxed.

Were you nervous? How many retakes did you take?

For me it was like I was born to face the camera and I had decided to do this in childhood itself. I wasn’t tense at all. So I never got conscious or thought too much. But till the time the cameraman, fight master and director aren’t happy, you have to give retakes. But I don’t think there were many, especially because of me.

Since I had already faced a little bit of camera in childhood, I had a knack for it. I never go and check the shot. If the director okays it, I’m fine. I’m a director’s actor, a one take or two take artiste, not like Aamir Khan who believes in 15 takes. I don’t think I’ve ever given more than 3-4 takes in my life. I like it that way.

How was the rapport with your co-stars when you got to meet or work with them again later?

We shot in Meerut with Kiran Kumar. What happens in the story is, this guy is jailed and Kiran Kumar is the goon of there. There was a nice sequence with him which we shot in a jail in Meerut. It hadn’t opened for regular prisoners till then. There were so many other actors in Karan – Prem Chopra, Anupam Kher, Raza Murad, Ashok Saraf, Randhawa Sandjeeva, my father and others. It was a good action movie for those times. The female lead was Anita, though both she and I used different names in the film. This actor named Sanjeeva was the villain.

I’m very close to all these people, they are like family. I don’t meet the actress as much, even catching up with Sanjeeva and Ashok Saraf doesn’t happen regularly. Rest, Raza Murad, Kiran Kumar, Anupam Kher and Prem Chopra, these four are very close till date.

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If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?

Looking back, I realise I could’ve been more career driven. I was enjoying life without any worries. We lived on the money of our fathers and forefathers. You have a different thinking if you don’t have to struggle. I never ran after anything, pushed myself hard to request people to cast me. I have a 25-30 year long career with whatever came my way. You can call me a lazy actor (laughs).

One film or role that inspired you to become an actor? 

For star kids like us, we always grow within our filmy circle with filmy friends. So we grew up around Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Shakti Kapoor and Raj Babbar. We played Holi at RK Studios. I’ve seen the shooting of Bobby and Mard. So we were born on sets and had in our mind to become an actor from childhood.

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