A year ago, Bangalore-based Vilas Nayak never imagined that acrylic paints, paint brushes and canvas were going to be his constant companions. Thanks to a popular TV reality show, he became a popular face overnight. But this did not happen overnight. Vilas, 29, from Ujire, Belthangady taluk, worked for six years in the corporate world as an HR professional before pursuing it full time.
What makes him special is the fact this ambidextrous man can flawlessly paint a picture on a five-foot long canvas in a matter of 3-5 minutes, that too before a live audience. “I have been painting since childhood. I don’t have any formal training, but painting is my passion.”
Vilas fared well academically too as he secured seventh rank in his BA degree examination while studying in SDM College, Ujire. He then cleared his MSW from Mysore University securing second rank.
In 2010, he first took part in a Kannada reality show called ‘Superstar of Karnataka’ (SOK) which gained him lot of recognition. But, it was just limited to Kannada audience. The reality show which happened the following year was the turning point. “Though the earlier show gave me lot of exposure but India’s Got Talent took me to a different level. Though I didn’t win the contest, I was one of the finalists and it gave me an amazing platform to show my work to the world.”
Other than painting, he also has to carefully select the music as it has to blend with his work.
On quitting his well-paying job eight months ago, he says, “At work, I realised I was not using my skill. A lot of people discouraged me from taking the risk of pursuing something which is considered to be not so ‘secure’. Even my parents were apprehensive about my decision initially. But, I was sure about my talent. Why worry about a secure job for 20 years when you don’t know what will happen tomorrow?”
Today, Vilas is living his dream as he has been travelling across the country and abroad. He gets at least 20-30 calls a month inviting him to perform and he takes up 8-10 shows depending on his schedule. Recollecting his most memorable show, he tells us it was at an NGO for children in KR Puram. “The kind of excitement the kids showed was above any celebrity’s compliment.”
His biggest achievement so far, according to him is painting late actor Amjad Khan’s portrait of Gabbar Singh in just two and a half minutes. Khan’s family were so touched with the painting that they invited him home where they gifted Vilas a high end watch and he, in turn gifted the portrait.
He adds, “I had worked very hard to achieve this feat. Today, the portrait hangs in their living room. I can paint Gabbar Singh in less than 3 minutes even if you wake me up in the middle of the night.”
On asking why he chose to paint Gabbar Singh, he signs off, “Everyone draws heroes. But I wanted to paint a villain. Who is more iconic than Gabbar Singh?”