Acting in mainstream cinema was always my dream. And it feels ecstatic to see my dream come true. My journey to Ollywood was one filled with honest hard work and some luck. I travelled all the way from Puri and took to small screen for a year before setting foot in mainstream cinema. I acted in ETV’s mega serial ‘Sansara’ before auditioning for Prem Weds Priya in December, 2009. Although there were four other established actors who also auditioned for the role, I was lucky that director Ramashankar decided to cast me in the film. After ‘Prem Weds Priya’, I did ‘Bandhan’ by Sushant Kumar Rout and ‘Balunga Toka’ where I essayed a negative character. My last release was ‘Katak’, which explored the dark underbelly of the underworld in Cuttack.
Finding a Foothold
I had my share of struggle in the Odia film industry. Ollywood is a tightly knit network and I think it’s important to become part of that web. For someone like me with no Godfather and minimal grooming, obviously it means constantly having to prove yourself through your work. Filmmakers these days are looking at newcomers thinking what will he/she bring - a value addition or USP that can be marketed? That is a major problem for outsiders like me that our only USP is our talent and faces. But that said, Ollywood is a hugely dynamic place with endless possibilities where trends are set and reset regularly. So I think there is space for everyone.
The only way a new actor like me can stand out in a crowd is with a good performance. I believe that if you have it in you, you’re talented and good, then you will excel no matter what the size of the crowd is. And isn’t that the actor’s job in essence? To attract and hold the attention of the audience?
I am very hungry as an actor. The word ideal is actually very limiting, and I don’t think I would be satisfied with one ideal role. For me the script is the most important thing. I love a script that can excite me. So I will pick a film that has value irrespective of how big or small my character is.
I am doing Sudhakar Basant’s ‘Om’ and ‘Prabhu - Power of Justice’ by Jitu Rout. There are two more big banner assignments lined up this year, but I cannot reveal the details now.