The engineer who became a Bollywood hero
'I was very nervous about meeting Subhash Ghai; even a chance to meet him is a big thing.'
'On our first meeting, Subhashji told me he is casting me as the hero of Kaanchi.'
'Life changed for me.'
Meet Kaanchi hero, Kartik Tiwari.
Kartik Tiwari couldn’t believe his luck when he landed a lead role in Subhash Ghai’s Kaanchi.
The Gwalior-based actor, who was doing his engineering course in a Mumbai college, has been a part of films before, like Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Akaash Vani.
But Kaanchi is his big, big break.
He tells Patcy N how difficult it is for a person with no filmi connections to land a Bollywood career.
My parents are doctors -- my mother is a gynaecologist and my father is a paediatrician. I couldn’t tell them that I wanted to act, so I joined the D Y Patil college in Navi Mumbai, to do a B Tech degree in Biotechnology.
I would give auditions in Andheri while I was studying.
I never told my parents about the acting because I was not sure they would be supportive. I decided that once I get a film offer I will tell them. My mom still feels that acting is a gamble.
After three years of auditions, I joined an acting course in Creating Characters. I saw a wall post on Facebook about the audition of Pyaar Ka Punchnama and I applied.
I was rejected, but they clicked a few photographs of mine. I did not have a portfolio and could not afford one, so I asked them if they could give me the pictures that they had clicked.
They asked me to audition again. For six months, they kept on taking my auditions every now and then.
Then finally they gave me the contract. Once I signed the contract, I called my parents and told them. They were happy as they hadn’t expected that I could act.
I shifted into a rented apartment in Mumbai with 12 guys, who were all trying their luck in the film industry. The rent was quite high so it was difficult to sustain. It was in that situation that I shot Pyaar Ka Punchnama.
The film released in 2011 and did well and I got my next film Akaash Vani the next year with the same team. But that film did not do well.
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Image: Kartik Tiwari
'Subhash Ghai believes in spontaneity'
Sudhir Chaudhary, who was the cameraman for Akaash Vani and Pyaar Ka Punchnama and had earlier shot Kisna for Subhash Ghai, showed Ghai the trailer of Akaash Vaani. Ghai enquired about me and I was called.
I was very nervous about meeting Subhash Ghai; even a chance to meet him is a big thing.
On our first meeting, Subhash Ghai told me he is casting me as the hero of Kaanchi.
Life changed for me.
This was a big thing for me. I felt I had achieved something.
Even though I have done two films, working with Subhash Ghai was a new experience.
In my first two films, we had a four-month workshop and we had a bound script. I was used to that style of working.
But Subhash Ghai believes in spontaneity and initially, I couldn’t understand what was happening on the sets.
Many times he would come on the sets and write the scenes and then he would show us how to enact them. We just did what he said and couldn’t understand what was going on.
Slowly, after doing this every day, it became a habit. Today I don’t want my scenes in advance. I like it when I get the scenes on the sets where I can perform naturally.
I got to learn a lot of things from Subhash Ghai. The best thing about him is he never scolds his actors. If they make mistakes, he will say there was a technical fault, and ask you to redo the scene.
I also got to assist Subhashji whenever I was not shooting for my scenes. I got to see him direct. I also got to see how Rishiji (Rishi Kapoor) and Mithunda (Chakraborty) work.
Image: Mishti and Kartik Tiwari
'The first time I did a scene with Mithunda, I couldn't say my dialogue'
My co-star Mishti is a natural actor.
When Subhashji was selecting his heroine, I was already on board. Every day there were at least 50 pictures of girls who wanted to audition. Subhashji rejected everybody.
I thought most of the pictures were good. But when he selected Mishti and I did a compatibility and screen test with her, I realised his eye for talent. She is very good.
The movie is based on Mishti. She plays the title role of Kaanchi. I was a little skeptical in the beginning and had told Subhashji to make the title ‘Kaancha.’ But Subhashji explained that in order to get Kaanchi’s character right, my character had to be stronger. And that’s true. I have a stronger character, as Kaanchi looks up to my character, Binda.
The first time I did a scene with Mithunda, I couldn’t say my dialogue. The scene was a confrontation between us. Mithunda took me aside and said, ‘Say whatever you want against me, you don’t have to be scared.’
I did the scene and it came out smoothly. It is my favourite scene in the film. He is a very humble and modest person.
Rishi Kapoor was also very good to us. He treated us like kids. They were both an inspiration to us.
My most memorable scene was when Subhashji gave me his hat to wear to shoot a song.
Image: Mishti, Kartik Tiwari, Subhash Ghai