Bhavdeep Romana of the Nagada fame, is currently pursuing Bachelor’s degree from Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma College, Sector 32, Chandigarh. Jack of all trades, and master of most, he is a well-known face throughout Chandigarh, thanks to his regular appearances throughout various events in Chandigarh, especially Meraki. He has also hosted the PTC Punjabi Awards Show, and done a gig for Coke Studio. To add another feather to his cap, he is back with another documentary, ‘Showreel’ (check here), which was released on April 29th, 2017.
He has reached this platform with the help of rigorous practice and undying support from his loved ones. Here’s a look at the highlights and hardships of his career as a performing artist.
Q. What does theatre mean to you? When did you start acting?
Theatre is the base for every actor and the crux of acting. I’ve always been inclined towards the performing arts; be it acting, dancing, singing or even anchoring. When I was a kid, I went to audition for a reality show that I’d perceived to be a singing reality show. But it turns out you’d to audition for dancing and acting as well. That’s when my acting journey began. I started learning acting under my guru Tony Batish Sir, in Bathinda. I’ve always wanted to act but he is the one who inspired me to achieve great heights. The one piece of advice that he gave me, that I hold dear to this day is, “Don’t ever consider yourself a hero, always an actor.”
Q. Do you try to imitate or incorporate anyone’s style when acting?
No, because I believe that everyone has their own individuality and they should find it. If I start imitating the way an actor speaks or acts, I’ll be considered his copy. I don’t want that. I want to make my own identity and bring something new to this industry.
Q. You are known for your confidence, be it acting or anchoring. How do you overcome your nervousness?
My first stage performance was when I was in UKG. I was asked to anchor an event organised by the high-schoolers. And since then, I’ve always been on stage. So I think the first reason for my confidence is consistency of performance. I’ve never thought twice about grabbing any opportunity that came my way, and no matter how challenging it was, I’ve never backed out. I used to be scared when I initially started performing in school. But soon I became well known among my peers and teachers and became confident. Then I came to Chandigarh, and felt the jitters once more. I was scared and intimidated by the immensely talented people here. That’s when I realised that the world is huge, I felt the need to improve. So I think besides consistency of performance, consistency of growth is also required. I’ve fumbled on stage too, but I’ve never let that stop me.
And I think the most important factor behind my confidence are my parents. Once, while singing in school, my voice went off-note and the audience began laughing. I was demotivated and I felt horrible. But my parents were extremely supportive. My dad said that it will happen numerous times, and gave me a quote that I always abide by, ‘I think I can’. Don’t ever say that ‘I thought I could’, because that would mean that you’ve killed the opportunity. And this advice has always helped me, especially when I had to host a show for PTC Punjabi, which had a footfall of around 1 lakh people.
Q. Please tell us more about your latest gig?
I’ve done a lot of shows throughout Chandigarh and Punjab, but some like Meraki of MCM-DAV are really close to my heart. If people know me around Chandigarh, it is solely due to Meraki. So my latest gig, Showreel, is a combination of my work at Sparkles (hosted by Navsankalp) and a few shots of what I performed at MCM-DAV. It is basically in a storyline form, and a glimpse of what I do. With this, the people who’ve never seen me performing will basically get to know what I do, and those who have will get to relive those moments.
Q. What is your college theatre group, Sarv Saksham for you? To what extent did it help you shape your career?
When I joined SD, I was already shooting for my movie. I’d done a lot of theatre in Bathinda under Tony Batish Sir, but couldn’t find a suitable platform in Chandigarh. That is when Sarv Saksham came to my rescue and now it has become a part of life. I got a lot of exposure as we’ve performed plays in Marathi and Rajasthani as well, so I did my dialogue delivery in a new language for the first time. The theatre scenario of Chandigarh is outdated as compared to those of Delhi and Mumbai. This ruins the body language of budding actors, because theatre-acting and camera-acting is different. But like I said, theatre is necessary for every actor. So Sarv Saksham helps the willing actors of our college do more realistic plays, which doesn’t ruin their body language. Other than this, Sarv Saksham has given me friends for life. I have extremely talented friends, and we all understand each other like no one else.
Q. We all know that when it comes to the acting field, the support of parents is a key factor. Have they been supportive? And if yes, how involved have they been?
What I am today, it’s all because of my parents. I am a Dentistry dropout. When I was doing BDS, I wasn’t happy or satisfied. I didn’t like the environment around me and saw no opportunity to grow. And even then I grabbed every opportunity to perform. My father, who is a professor of Physics, told me that I could leave it if it I felt that it wasn’t for me, and pursue something that I love. There have been times when I haven’t gone home for 4 months straight, even on festivals and special occasions, and they’ve always been understanding and supportive. And even though they live alone, not once have they complained or questioned me about my whereabouts. If I ever doubt myself, my mother always says, “Everything is alright, you’ll do it”, and these words have more encouragement than any motivational lecture could ever have.
They’re more like my friends than my parents, and I know that even if everyone else leaves, they’ll always have my back. Whatever I am doing, I am doing for them.
Q. Since you’re going to graduate soon, what are your future plans? Do you plan to pursue full-time acting or are you going to study further?
I am paid to talk and make facial expressions. So why not? I am paid for what I love and what can be better than that? I will definitely pursue my studies, but I’ll go for a specialisation in the performing arts. I could have gone for an academic specialisation, but the stage is where my heart lies. I believe that you might live once, but even opportunity comes once. So grab it. I might go to Mumbai, but Chandigarh is my base. So I wil be travelling back and forth constantly.
Q. Any final message that you’d like to give to budding actors?
Don’t run after fame. I see it all around my college, people are dying to be popular. When I started off, I never expected people to like me. I knew my friends and teachers in my college loved me, but performing in front unrequited faces is something different. A lot of people who’re my age aren’t ambitious. Even if they are, it’s all talk and no work. At least prove your worth to your own folks, if no one else. Every Tom, Dick or Harry is becoming a singer in the Punjabi Music Industry, with the hopes of becoming an actor. They’re trying to follow the footsteps of Diljit Dosanjh or Gippy Grewal. What they don’t realise is that these people have taken their skills to another level and worked really hard on themselves to get there. If you want to sing, just sing. If you want to act, then work under someone and put in some effort for at least 3-4 years instead of wasting your time in this manner. If you expect overnight popularity, that is impossible. Most of the upcoming performers are attracted towards this field because of all the glitziness. They believe they’ll have a legion of cars, bouncers and scouring female fans around them. But unless an artist is satisfied with himself, these things don’t matter. And if they’re your priority, your lifespan as an artist will be very short.
Also, I’d like to request my seniors to please change the theatre scenario of Chandigarh. People who go to Mumbai from Chandigarh or Punjab have a lot of difficulty in facing the camera as their body language is not camera-set.
About the Author:
Introvert. Outspoken. Bibliophile. Unpredictable.
Books, nature and milkshakes are heaven.