"I would love to work in the Balaji set up which is altogether a different style of story telling" : Vinay Jain

Born and brought up in Mumbai, he did his schooling from Campion and graduated from Sydenham. You recently saw a lot of him in Lipstick where he played the inspector who transforms the main protagonist. Of late, he has been in the news for a film called Tilak where he plays a young Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Rehan Engineer's play Sexual Perversity and of course Sony's Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin where he plays Aryaan.

Jack of all, master of none? Well, not really. He has his fingers in too many pies all right, but he is successfully doing a balancing act. Theatre, films, television, he has seen and done it all.

Excerpts from the chat's Vickey Lalwani had with Jain:


How did you start off in the entertainment industry?

From childhood, I have been an introvert but not in the traditional sense of the term. Speech and drama were an outlet for me to do things which I could not do otherwise. I did a speech and drama course from Trinity College in London. In college, I was a part of a theatre group which we formed privately. Later, I was a student of the Stardust Academy. Then, I assisted Aziz Mirza during the making of Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and the Sippys during Pathar Ke Phool. So that's how I got in here.


Surprising. Logically, you should have pursued acting instead of switching to direction?

I wanted to learn every aspect of acting. The ideal thing was to get behind the scenes and see an actor from a director's perspective. Grasp what is required as per the different moods in every frame. Then, I switched over to theatre.


Ok. Then what...

What's wrong with theatre? Nothing can beat the thrill of performing before a live audience. I was always passionate about this medium. I did plays like Mahatma vs Gandhi, Salesman Ramlal, The Legend of Ram, Games People Play, Saare Jahan Se Achcha and many others. Acting in films didn't excite me too much at that point. Even today, I am itching to get into direction (pauses).


Please continue...

However, today, a lot of interesting films are being made. Plus my recent two shows Aandhi and Lipstick have got over. This is the right time for me to take up film assignments. Being a part of a lovely script can be more exciting than the heroic acts or the length of my role. I am mentally prepared to take up diverse roles and am meeting producers and directors in this regard. Ten years down the line, I should look back and feel proud. But of course, I want to remain an integral part of television.


'Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin' has given you the recognition that your other work failed to give?

(Laughs) Yes. There are quite a few reasons for its success. All the characters in Jassi… are well sketched. Nobody tries to outdo the other. We work in a very conducive atmosphere. It is a very satisfying experience.


But are you happy with Indian television? As a man, don't you think it is heavily inclined towards women?

There is a lot of male audience coming in nowadays at least as far as Jassi… is concerned. I know of homes where wives complain that their husband is interested in seeing Jassi… while they want to see another soap on some other channel. This is bound to make the producers and channels think that men need to have meaty roles.

If we have more realistic serials like Jassi…, the day is not far when men will not be standing in the second and third row. As an actor, I wish there is more experimentation in terms of subjects. At the end of the day, what is only being seen is how many eyeballs such and such project attracted. That way, there are some other things which can improve too.

"To learn every aspect of acting, the ideal thing is to get behind the scenes and see an actor from a director's perspective"

Like what?

Lines are given to actors at a very short notice. I wish that actors could work more on their character. In the end, sometimes acting boils down to sheer memory rather than getting into the skin of the character and portraying emotions. Films are a more concentrated effort. Often, television becomes like an assembly line where a fixed number of pages have to be written and acted out every day. This in turn can cause an actor to stagnate.


How can one avoid that?

Interesting question. An actor should have the guts and conviction to refuse similar kind of roles which he is offered. Plus he should take a break to erase the memories of his past performance. Many Hollywood actors do that. Richard Gere is an example. Al Pacino is another; he disappeared for seven years and came back roaring. They kept working on themselves. Age does not really matter if you are an actor per se. If you are only a star, it's a different thing altogether.


I don't disagree with you, but here in Indian television, there is a lot of insecurity. Actors are thrown out from serials for frivolous reasons. Do you think an actor can afford to take a break?

That is the problem. So, everyone wants to make hay while the sun shines. It's a Catch 22 situation for actors who actually want to take a break and recharge their batteries. If they do it, they may be doomed. If they don't, they are damned.

"You can't compare Sony to Star Plus"

We hear PR works a lot in the industry?

I don't think so. Buttering people doesn't help. But yes, being seen at the right places and being written about in the media does. Channels, producers and fans read about you, it helps. Every project has many inter-personal relations.



Back to 'Jassi...', if I compare 'Jassi' with 'Kahiin To Hoga' since both were launched around the same time, 'Jassi' hasn't done that well?

You can't compare Sony to Star Plus. But look at the plethora of advertisements it has attracted. 9.30 pm on Indian television means Jassi…. Don't go by day to day or weekly TRPs. I would call it the No.1 show today. What I mean is that it is a very respectable show. People sense a sincerity of effort and the risks being taken. It's a very refreshing sort of feeling.



Do you'll tease Jassi, err, Mona Singh that she has to wear the cumbersome glasses, braces, et al, almost throughout the day?

(Laughs) I bet she is dying to get out of all that paraphernalia. It will happen very soon, which again will be fun because it will be a different phase and new equations will start forming.



How did Mona react to the pictures in the newspaper revealing her real look?

You know, before the photographers had clicked her, she had a strong feeling that she was being followed. She even told us about it, many times. But none of us took her seriously. We thought she was imagining things. All that curiosity about photographers trailing behind actors and celebrities from other spheres happens only in foreign lands. This means that Mona Singh is a star.


Would you like to be a part of the glossy Balaji shows after doing a realistic show like Jassi…?

Yeah, why not? As an actor, I would love to work in the Balaji set up which is altogether a different style of story telling. May be I won't end up being creatively satisfied then. I will do it if the monetary compensation is adequate enough.

The role that you would give your right arm for?

Shah Rukh Khan's role in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. That man is awesome. One more actor I admire is Anil Kapoor. He looks so fresh, enthusiastic and well-maintained.


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