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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Playing the part

Theatre actor Darshan Kumaar is excited to make his debut in Bollywood with a film that he thinks is the perfect ode to the inspirational Olympic champ, Mary Kom

Written by Priya Adivarekar | Mumbai |
Updated: August 22, 2014 1:00:20 am
Darshan Kumaar Darshan Kumaar

Launch vehicle

In the biopic, Mary Kom, I will be seen playing her husband, K Onler Kom, who played an important role in shaping the legendary boxer’s career. While they usually say that behind every successful man, there is a woman who helps his career fly, the example is turned around here. Behind Mary’s success in the boxing ring, there was Onler’s whole-hearted supported. He is not just a husband, but a friend and motivator as well.

Casting coup

I got a call from the casting director of the film, who asked me to give an audition for this role. After a series of auditions and various look tests, I was called for multiple meetings at the production house, where I met director Omung Kumar, my co-star Priyanka Chopra and producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the first time. After a month long process, I was finally informed that I was on board and will be playing K.Onler’s part in the film. Post that, I did some research to understand my character, along with Omung, apart from the regular script reading sessions and preparatory workshops. I also saw a few reference tapes and learned Manipuri language.

Stepping stone

I am a Delhi based Jat boy, who does not come from a film background. Both my schooling and college was done in the same city and I graduated from the College of Vocational Studies (Delhi University). Since childhood, I had been quite active in extra-curricular activities and was involved in everything from theatre to elocution. I guess, that’s where the acting bug caught me. I joined theatre and began training and performing with Act One group. Fortunately, my parents, especially my father never stopped me from chasing my dreams. He asked me to concentrate on work that interests me with complete faith and passion. A few years later, I shifted to Mumbai and joined Neena Gupta’s group, Sahaj. Later, I started working under Naseeruddin Shah sir’s Motley group. That was the time when I was noticed and was offered modelling assignments. Even today, I have continued the process of learning under Naseer sir’s guidance.

First shot

Fortunately, I had understood the working technique of Omung and Priyanka and the pre-shoot workshops helped in breaking the ice. There was no nervousness at all and I confidently faced the camera for the scene, that was shot in a stadium. I had to cheer for Mary, who is fighting it out in the boxing ring. But I must admit, facing the camera to play a real-life character was a challenge and I wanted to stay true to the responsibility given to me.

The takeaway

The story of Mary Kom itself is such a big inspiration, that there was a lot to learn at every step. Also, having a superstar like Priyanka for support was the biggest thing I could have asked for. She would patiently rehearse each scene with me, without any complaints and made me feel comfortable. Both Priyanka and Omung would offer casual acting tips in between shots, and since it comes from experienced people, it came handy.

Stumbling block

Although a few scenes were demanding, especially the emotional ones, I took it up as a challenge and worked things out. Apart from that, the entire shooting process was very smooth, as I had worked very hard to do perfect justice to my role.

Role model

I look up to my mentor, Naseeruddin Shah, whom I think is one of the best actors in world cinema. There is a lot to learn from him in every department and he is certainly the best role model for every actor.

Future projects

I recently wrapped up Anushka Sharma’s production venture NH 10, in which I will be seen playing a character with grey shades. I am in the process of hearing other scripts and may confirm a few projects.

priya.adivarekar@expressindia.com

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