Alumni Speak

Get into acting for the love of craft, not because you possess good looks: TV and film actor Adhvik Mahajan

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Adhvik Mahajan

Adhvik Mahajan is a television actor and model. He started his acting career in 2008 with the Hindi film Contract.  He is best known for playing Soham in the show Bani-Ishq Da Kalma and these days he is winning hearts as Jogi in Zee TV’s Teri Meri Ikk Jindri. In a candid conversation, Adhvik, an alumnus of Apeejay College of Fine Arts Jalandhar, talks about going against parents’ wishes to follow his dream and shares important tips for budding actors.

When were you bitten by the acting bug?
I was born and brought up in Jalandhar. I think I was in class 7 when I decided to become an actor. I was always a movie buff and after watching an Akshay Kumar movie I made a resolve to become a hero. Over time this resolve became stronger. I believe in the saying, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” After class 10, my father asked me to opt for the non-medical stream as he wanted me to become an engineer. I hesitantly obeyed my father, but within a month, I switched to the Commerce stream without taking the permission of my parents. The reason being, opting for Commerce stream would give me time to do theatre and focus on my acting. Now, in hindsight, I can say that my decision to switch streams was correct.

What did you do after schooling?
After schooling, my father asked me to pursue a chartered accountancy course. I was in the same dilemma as I was after completing class 10 boards. I knew that doing CA will be extremely tough and gruelling and I will not get time to do Theatre. Instead, I wanted to get myself enrolled in Apeejay College of Fine Arts Jalandhar as it had a vibrant theatre culture.

How difficult was it to go against your parents’ wishes?  
When we are young we are not mature enough to think how our decisions will impact our parents. We only know that they will get angry and agitated. We are scared of them. It’s only later in your life you know the outcome of your decisions. If you get the desired results everyone is happy, but if you miss the target then you acknowledge that your parents were right. It all depends on the outcome (laughs).

How was college life for you?
A lot of people knew me in college because I was judged by Mr. Jalandhar when I was in class 12. I took B.Com Professional in college, but I didn’t attend many classes as I was a member of the Youth Festival. Though, I didn’t get any meaty roles as the Youth Festival has many senior members including comedian Kapil Sharma. Anyway, I used to minutely observe their performances. I came into the limelight when a big fashion show was organised in the college. I was among the 2 males chosen from the college to display the collection of students from Bachelor of design.

Did you experience stage-fear at any stage?
I always had stage fright, but I also had the hunger to do something big in life. This gives you the confidence to sail through any challenge. Even today, I feel nervous when I have to perform challenging scenes, but the eagerness and the hunger to accomplish that challenge makes things possible for me.

You talked about minutely observing your seniors. Why is observation crucial to acting?
I enjoyed travelling and being in crowded places. My emphasis from the beginning has been on observing people – how they feel, move, speak, think, and behave. In fact, all of it happens subconsciously. When delivering dialogues I understand the nuance of character. All this practical knowledge is gained from observing people.

What’s your take on acting schools?
You can’t learn acting over the course of a few months. Acting is learned through experience. The more you act, the better you get at your craft. But, you will definitely learn something from the acting schools whether it’s voice modulation or the right body language.  An acting school has hundreds of students but only one becomes a superstar. So, a lot more depends on what you learn and grab while in acting school. Though, whatever little I know of acting I learned it from experience. Like any profession, you can get better through practice. The more time you spend in front of the camera the more you learn.

How to give yourself a reality check to see if you are serious about acting?
First and foremost get into this field if you truly love the craft and process of acting. You should be clear in your head – whether you want to become an actor or you want glitz and glamour. Most people are attracted to the aura around acting. They are not ready for the hard grind. I have stayed in a room with 6 people and have gone through numerous struggles. I have seen more downs than ups in life, but I was clear from the beginning that no matter what I will not rest until and unless I become an actor. Your first love should be acting. I don’t smoke or drink because acting is everything for me. It’s above all the worldly pleasures.

Please share a few tips for budding actors?
As I have said earlier, be an actor for the love of craft not because you have a chiselled physique or good looks. Remember, there will always be at least 10 people who have better physique or are attractive than you. Secondly, you need to have tons of patience. You have to struggle for years and survive on meagre resources.  Nobody becomes a star in a day. Thirdly, you need to have unending passion, hunger and fire in your belly for the craft.

“An aspiring actor should know how to handle rejection. There is limited success in this field.  In my 12 years of career, if I club all my working days I have only worked for around 4 years. I faced rejection in thousands of auditions. I was 21 when I was launched as a hero by Ram Gopal Varma in Contract and after that for a few years I had little work.”

Adhvik Mahajan, actor 

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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