Posted by Vivek on May 5, 2013 | No Comments

Despite its inherent nepotism, Indian Cinema, is also a great leveler, which is always on the lookout for talent. The talent in question is actor, Yashpal Sharma, who has given some fine performances in movies such as Hazaron Khwaish, Ganga Jal, Singh Is King, Gangs of Wasseypur amongst others. Here, Yashpal gets nostalgic as he talks about his journey from small town Hissar, in Haryana, to Mumbai and from theater to now film direction and production. Over to Yashpal:

From small town Hissar to Mumbai nagri?

It was probably the Ramlila performance in school that put the bug in. Struggle has been a part and parcel. From the daily bread to the family, to creating an identity. Then the struggle for name, fame and money. My aim was never to come to Mumbai. Theater was my end aim. Finished my training from NSD, Delhi then joined their repertory. Then realization struck that the Children theater that I was specializing in, will give me a break as a teacher and a director but not as an actor. And acting was what I was most keen on. And then a further realization, that if acting was what I wanted, then why only in front of a few thousand, why not in front of crores. With this thought I reached Mumbai. It took a good 3-4 years to set my feet in Mumbai. I was getting work, but not the one I liked or felt I deserved. In theater I had done significant parts, worked with world famous directors, so the expectation was a lot higher. I was almost ready to run away from Mumbai. But then slowly started to meet good people, got good work and now I am in a position to choose which films I want to do.

So lets go even further back, why acting for a boy growing up in Hissar?

In the 9th or 10st grade we started, as students, doing a lot of Dharmic plays in school. But back then it was more of a hobby and something we did with friends and family. But the seed had been sown. There is a senior of mine, Rajiv Manchanda, from Natak Haryana, in Hissar, also a NSD alum, I did a lot of theater with him. That is when the realization dawned that acting is not only a hobby, but can potentially also become a career and like any profession it requires a lot of training and is a vast subject, which you continue to learn lifelong. Then I got admitted to both Chandigarh and Delhi at NSD and from thereon began the profession, leaving behind the hobby.

In all of your roles, and I mean all, the characterization and the acting has an element of freshness.

That is a conscious effort of a trained person. Despite that I have a complaint against the industry, which has tried to pigeonhole me. Example is a role such as in Ganga Jal, I think I still get a Ganga Jal type of offer every fourth day, when I know that I have given better performances and been a part of better films, than Ganga Jal and that is not belittling my role or the film in anyway. But now I have done all kinds and am soon stepping into the realm of the central character too.

Talk about the central character roles?

It is not about a hero running around trees. It is a film I have co produced and play a main role in, Das Capital, as in capital of the ghulams (slaves). It is based in Bihar. The writer, Shaiwal who wrote Prakash Jha’s Damul which won a National award. The next film he wrote was Mrityudand and Das Capital is his third film. His next screenplay might well be directed by me.

 First love?

Always theater and acting, although am also seeing myself wear the Director and Producer hats soon.

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