Meiyang Chаng- The Chinese Indian Dentist Who Can Act, Sing & Dance
Posted by Vivek on May 2, 2011 | No Comments
Life is indeed an act, but when the story changes we never know. He grew up thinking that he would follow the family tradition of dentistry, but life had other plans. He is an Indian Idol 3, finalist, recently won Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa and has along the way come in a Yashraj film. Chinese Indian and a Bollywood film hero role, may not now be unimaginable for Meiyang Chang, cause he has stopped imagining, but is taking what life throws at him and doing the best he can, and the best is good enough to have won the fancy of the Indian audience. Here we meet with Meiyang:
From being a dentist to Indian Idol to a Bollywood actor, did you even think when studying for your dentistry that you would be here, acting and performing on Indian television?
No not at all. Don’t know if it is a bad thing to say now, but had never planned to get into the entertainment industry. Had finished my dentistry and that is like a family business for us, especially all the males in our side of the family, from the Chinese province are part of this profession. It just so happened that I finished my graduation from Bangalore and was heading to Georgia or some other US university for further studies. I had wrapped up my application and during September 2007 I was supposed to go the US. Indian Idol had started in March and I went to it just for a lark and I got through and never expected to make it so far. While I had a lot of confidence in my work as a dentist, but I was not sure about my inherent strength as a singer or a performer. But I guess somewhere along, the audience liked me, I gave it my best and actually ended up going quite far. Along the way, my dates for going to Georgia passed and so I thought to myself that I have this opportunity so let me stick around here and see where it takes me, for some time at least, a few months perhaps. My parents supported me in that decision and the rest followed. I’m glad I took this decision because even though I would have been very happy and wealthy as a dentist, this is what gives me the greater satisfaction that everybody craves for, as in something new happening every day.
The fact that you came from a non film background and had a firm grounding in another aspect of life, do you think it will actually help you, as you make your way through Mumbai?
I guess I am one of those classic examples of being at the right place in the right time. I guess somewhere it was written in my destiny, since it turned my life and my profession around. I see it both as an advantage and a disadvantage. Coming from a non filmi background means you have to create your own chances, they won’t be thrown at you. Fortunately it was a show like Indian Idol, so the chance was given to me and I created my space as a result of that. The show was so worldly watched that pretty much everybody had seen it that season. So all of us on the show got that first break and great exposure. From there onwards it was a lot of hard work that got me through. But given that I am a third generation Chinese Indian and I looked different from the rest of the participants, the fact that I speak good Hindi, hence the entire thing worked well for me and since then I have added a few more things to my repertoire, so I guess that novelty and non – filminess did click somewhere.
Singing, acting or hosting a show, rank them in your order of preference?
Acting would be at the top, then singing and then hosting a show.
Has the release of your first film. Badmash Company, changed anything for you ?
It has been a continuation of the Indian Idol world, but in a more grander way. 2007 was when Indian Idol wrapped up and mid 2010 was when the movie released, but the time was well worth it, when it released, it was like a huge deal for all of us. Pretty much everybody called to talk about my work and its aspects. So I guess nothing works amongst us Indians, as a Bollywood movie does. The reactions have been great. I figured that when a movie releases the general public watches, the TV people watch but probably the film people don’t, but I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction of the film industry, which was very positive. So that was a foot inside the door, cause now people do recognize you and when you approach them for work, they know about you. That then was a very big step for me, which this movie presented.
You sound Indian and you are Indian, but you don’t look like the average Joe, you think that is going to come in the way of becoming a leading guy in Bollywood?
Probably five years ago, it would have been a big problem. Today, as the industry has changed, now I believe, it can happen some day. It might be in a smaller independent project to start with. Like an Udaan or a Dev D, films that are not that big on stars or budgets, but they are fantastic stories. Thankfully the story telling scenario is changing in India. Udaan has done so well with both the audience and the critics. So yes as things are changing, I would look forward to that day, but by the same token I would not want to be lead actor if I cannot carry it off, cause then it is a waste of resources. If the director and I feel that it can be pulled off, then definitely that day should be coming soon.