For an outsider, the dream of working in movie industry is next to attaining nirvana. In a country of more than 1.2 billion people, making a space for yourself in the film industry is extremely tough, if not impossible. Thousands land up in the sizzling city of cinema every day to pursue their dreams and thousands return without realising them. But some of them never accept to give up. They work hard and stay ambitious. Although if you’re not a star kid or from any filmy background, you can never be an actor. This thing has broken many dreamer’s dream. Still some find a way to hold on trying. He is one of those never giving up souls, who is passionately working to build his empire in Indian Cinema.
Meet Akash Behura. A tall, dark, handsome guy hailed from Odisha is in love with acting. Like many of us, a government job would have been his ticket to a better job. He isn’t from a poor family or a filmy background, but his aspirations are limitless. The amount of struggle, god has written on his fate is showing him the path to prove himself. To be an successful actor is his ultimate goal. His father was a classical music teacher. So it was in his blood. He left his job from Aditya Birla Group to pursue his career in acting.
Though the ongoing pandemic tears everything apart, he is currently teaching gymnastics and aerobics and working out more than ever. Being an Odia he wanted his career from his native land only. Recently we got a chance to have a conversation with him.. This is how it went..
What attracted you to begin your career as an actor?
My father was a classical music teacher so I did do musicals growing up, but dance is probably my favorite art form. I’ve mastered in Salsa and Free style. I was a choreographer in the beginning. I’ve learned aerobics from Reebok. So you can say these things have encouraged me to be an actor. I was working in Aditya Birla Group as a accountant, but the more I fell in love with acting, the less I find myself willing to stay as an accountant. That job never satisfied me so I left it and decided to become an actor. I started my modelling career, did a number of short films and theatre dramas.
How hard it is?
As I left my job, I had a pressure to do something. I chose a profession which was not predictable. Many come and go without doing anything. So there was a pressure. I’ve got many offers, got selected for a number of roles and got rejected at the same time. So there were pebbles to break me. I have never lost confidence. When I got projects for short films and dramas, it made me more confident and hopeful.
So you enrolled yourself into various classes?
Yes. I went for Anupam Kher Academy but the budget was bit high. So I got to meet with Robin Das (Mary Com fame). I talked to him about movies and where to learn acting from. Then I met with Surya Mohanty sir and Narayan Pati sir, they are helping me in grooming my acting. As I’m currently a theatre artist. We’re working together and I’ve learned many useful things from them.
Do your folks support your choice of profession?
(Laughs) yes. They do. But yeah sometimes they can’t see my struggles and tell me to give up. But at the same time they encourage me and they find happiness in me. So if I’m happy with this, they’re also happy.
What is the best and the worst thing about this profession?
The best thing is the audience. Odias are crazy about movies and actors, actresses. So a film with a popular actor and a popular actress is being a massive hit easily. The worst part is lack of originality. Directors now a days don’t make any original movies. They just copy it from South Industry. That’s the biggest weakness. And the other thing is money. Noone here cares about a good story or script. Everyone here is worried about money. That’s why these films are not happening anymore, because most of the people involved now are financiers that their only reason to be there is profit. And when everything is driven by profit, then films become a commodity or a comfortable product that doesn’t bother anybody and gets the most audience possible without… So that’s a dangerous state that we are in now. It’s only profit. I’m not naïve to think that it was different before. It’s always been like that, but now it is much more than ever.
Now a days, movies are full of nudity. Our industry is also stepping into it. Is it necessary?
Obviously no. That’s a misconception. Yes you’re right, nudity is everywhere, not only films. They think, they’ll make a film hit by putting nudity in it but no nudity is not everything. A good story, talented actors, good music and worthy audiences are responsible for making a movie blockbuster. But as the tradition of nudity is becoming the reason to attract more and more people, noone is willing to avoid it.
If you become a superhit actor tomorrow, do you think you’ll bring changes in the Odia movie industry?
There is an old tradition in Odia movies, which is to copy film or scripts from other languages. I’ll definitely work on that. I’ll try to make good movies with extremely raw scripts. I’ll try to give importance to each and every character (if I get the chance). I’ll never promote nudity and make movies that you can watch with your family. I hope my work will do that. I hope that when people go to the theatre, they will see something new.
Akash Behura has a number of projects waiting for him in the coming days. The way he is forging path to the Indian cinema is quite inspiring.