'We have a lot of stress in our everyday life, with our jobs, financial situation...'
'When a person comes to a theatre, it's nice to leave them feeling happy.'
Despite being actress Bhagyashree's son, making inroads into the film industry was not a cakewalk for Abhimanyu Dassani.
He worked behind the camera for a decade before landing his first acting job as the lead in Vasan Bala's Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota in 2018.
While the film won widespread critical acclaim and Abhimanyu was unanimously praised for his performance, the buzz was rather low-key for the breakout star.
As he gears up for his next release Aankh Micholi, the actor looks back on his journey thus far.
"I found people in my life that I can pick up the phone and call any time, and they're ready to help me and take me under their wing. It always shows you a clearer path and a different way of thinking," Abhimanyu tells Mayur Sanap/Rediff.com.
Your last outing was Nikamma, a massy comedy film. Aankh Micholi seems to be in the same genre too. What got you excited?
Nikamma was a masala action entertainer and this is a family comedy film. They are different genres.
There hasn't been an out-and-out family comedy that you can see with your parents, children, grandparents. This film is as clean as a whistle.
All your films have had elements of humour in them, be it Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, Meenakshi Sundareshwar, Nikamma. Are you drawn to comedy?
Absolutely. We have a lot of stress in our everyday life, with our jobs, financial situation or other things.
When a person comes to a theatre, it's nice to leave them feeling happy. Even if it's a great subject, if there can be some humour element into it, it gives a respite from everything that's going on in our community and our country and in the world.
Comedy is a great way to put your message as well as story across. But it's also a tough genre.
Having said all of that, I couldn't leave this opportunity to work with stalwarts such as Paresh Rawal sir, Umesh (Shukla) sir, Sharman Joshi, Vijay Raaz and Divya Dutta ma'am.
It was a great learning experience for me.
Since you said comedy is a tough genre to tackle, were you nervous about headlining a project and sharing screen space with these comedy legends?
Well, to be honest, this was an acting workshop for me.
I was on set every single day.
Whether it was my scene or not, I would be on set absorbing like a sponge, observing everything from the other actors.
I had my set of questions and I took them to Paresh sir.
I tried to understand the different approaches to single scene. You've seen me use that in Meenakshi Sundareshwar. What I learned from this film was what I used in that film.
And since that was appreciated a lot, I'm guessing that I learned quite a bit from my co-actors.
So Aankh Micholi was shot before Meenakshi Sundareshwar?
This movie, as well as Nikamma... all of them were shot before 2020.
I finished my job and the world stopped. (Laughs)
Hope you're in a happy space with these films finally getting released.
Yes, I am always happy. I've enjoyed my process and happy that they are coming out.
I found people in my life that I can pick up the phone and call any time, and they're ready to help me and take me under their wing.
It always shows you a clearer path and a different way of thinking.
It's been five years for you in the industry since your first release. Do you pause and reflect on your journey so far?
I got into the industry in 2008 as an assistant director. My first film came out in 2019. So it took me 11 years to get my film out.
Again after that, the media did not write about the international awards and standing ovations I got around the world.
But I don't see it as a challenge, it's an adventure.
I chose this line of profession, I work towards it. I'd like to stand on my two feet.
Please go on...
I love learning and growing with the times.
I've been enjoying my journey, constantly evolving, learning, choosing films of absolutely different genres.
I make sure that I put in my effort 100 per cent and leave the rest to fate and to destiny.
Two out of three films of mine are award-winning, one of them is internationally acclaimed and won awards all around the world.
These things are not written about me usually, unlike other newcomers.
But I like my work to speak for itself. I don't blow my own trumpet.
This film is about lies and liars. In your real life, how do you deal with people who lie to you?
I can't lie.
I don't do well with lies.
I'm a very bad liar, I start laughing.
I'm a guy who usually sees through things. I'm very observant.
Because I'm honest, I really don't like lies.
Your mom once said you two will surely do a film together. Are you actively looking for the script?
Nothing exciting or challenging has come to us so far.
Hopefully, someday someone will bring a subject that excites and challenges both of us, and we'll see.
What's next in the pipeline?
My next one is a dark comedy, which will probably come out in the first quarter of 2024. That's a fun one, I'm very excited.
I also have an action film coming out end of next year.