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Good, Bad and the Ugly

Posted online: Friday, July 02, 2004 at 0000 hours IST

As Aryan,he is making waves in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi and insists that bad can be good too, if the character is human. Meet Vinay Jain, the actor who begs to be different.
Have you always been interested in acting?
While in school and college, I was inclined towards dramatics. Later, I enrolled for a speech and drama course with the Trinity College, London and then worked as assistant director with Aziz Mirza during Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and the late Anant Balani during Patthar Ke Phool. Raju... was produced by Vivek Vaswani who directed me in an annual day play when I was in 10th Standard. He had told me that if I ever decided to make a career in films, I could get in touch with him
Why did you opt to start with theatre?
I choose theatre for the training, discipline and professionalism it gives you. So immediately after college, I joined the troupe of Aamir Raza Hussain’s The Legend Of Ram. Shekhar Suman had played Ram when the play opened in Delhi. When it moved to Mumbai, Raza was looking for another actor. We met, I played Ram and landed the role of Bhagat Singh in Raza’s second play, Saare Jahan Se Achcha. After that, I did a two-character play, Games People Play with Soni Razdan for Rael Padamsee, Mahatma vs Gandhi with Feroz Khan and Salesman Ramlal with Satish Kaushik.
Which of the directors did you like working with most?
Laughs) All three. From each I learnt a different technique. Directors who can push you beyond the limit help you discover yourself. Presently, Iím doing a play calked Two Tango. It is a series of four different short plays about man-woman relationships. Itís witty, contemporary and has a wide range. One couple is content and comfortable with each other, another slightly older duo are totally bored of each other. Working with Kitu Gidwani is just great!

You are also working in a British co-production, Tilak in which you’re playing Jinnah. How did you prepare for the role?
(Laughs) I’m playing a very young Jinnah. A young dynamic lawyer fighting Lokmanya Tilak’s case. This Jinnah is refreshingly different from the person we’ve read about in history books. He was not solely responsible for the partition. A lot of factors lead to the India-Pakistan divide. The Jinnah I know was a liberal-minded person. My whole perception of him changed after doing this play. I realised that no character is one dimensional. That’s why when I played Bhagat Singh I did a lot of research. I had the impression that he was a fire-brand revolutionary , impulsive and emotional. But I discovered that this young man, who died at the age of 23, used to write poetry and was very popular with his contemporaries. His popularity matched Mahatma Gandhi’s.

Your first serial Raahein was opposite Shefali Chhaya, a big name in television at the time. How did you land the role?
Raman Kumar had seen my performance in The Legend Of Ram and Saare Jahan Se Achcha. Ram was mature, stable, an absolutely positive character. In contrast, Bhagat Singh was intense and volatile during the jail and courtroom sequences. He saw my entire range and offered me the role of Govind without even auditioning me. Both Shefali Chhaya and Achint Kaur were big names at the time, especially Shefali after Haasratein. But Raman Kumar had confidence in me.


More recently, you’re a big hit in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi.
Aryan is the most high profile role of my career. People are enjoying my performance. For an actor it is important to be a part of the right project. After Raahein I wasn’t getting challenging roles on TV so I continued with theatre and really grew as an actor.

But Aryan has negative shades.
When Tony and Deeya Singh told me the character had negative shades, my first condition was that it shouldn’t be all black. It should be human and if he errs it should be justified. There should be a reason for his actions. That’s how it is with Aryan who may have wanted to destroy Gulmohur and now wants to bring down Armaan, but at the same time he’s sensitive very protective about his sister. He’s pro-active and dynamic and that’s what makes the character so interesting. I have no problems playing a negative character. It’s when it gets one-dimensional that it becomes boring.

You even played a negative role in the serial Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin.
In Dil Hai Ke Manta Nain, I started off playing an advertising executive who is in love with his wife but is unable to give her more time because of work pressure. As a result, the wife falls for another guy and suddenly after that my character became very diabolic and possessive. Then it was no longer interesting to play the character.

You have worked as an assistant director to Aziz Mirza and late Anant Balani. How was the experience?
Though I worked as an assistant director, I have also done production work. In Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, I saw the whole scripting process. Having seen how people like Aziz Mirza, Kundan Shah, Saeed Mirza worked on their script, it has helped me concentrate more on my body language and dialogue delivery. Anant Balani was a super cool, super chilled man. He was a man of few words and he knew exactly what he wanted. He was very patient, easy going and at the same time he knew how to get his work done. It is very unfortunate that he passed away at the peak of his career. If he would have been alive today, he would have contributed much more to the world of cinema. Aziz Mirza is totally different . He is a person who has seen so much more of life one could see that he is so rich in experiences and when he is developing characters he puts so much of his life into the script, character and situation.

Tell us about your experience when working in Satish Kaushik’s Badhai Ho Badhai opposite Kirti Reddy. Why have you not done more films ever since?
I had worked with Satish Kaushik in Salesman Ramlal which is the Hindi adaptation of Aurther Miller’s Death Of The Salesman. Later when he was directing Badhai Ho Badhai, he asked me to do a small but significant role in the film. I accepted because I enjoyed working with Satishji. The same is with teleserials. Currently, Lipstick is coming to an end but I am really enjoying my role in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi.

Where do we see Vinay Jain five years from now.
Oh god! Five years is such a long time, one thing that I have learnt is to live in the present. We spend too much time regretting the past and dreading the future. Do your best in the present and the future will take care of itself. But obviously I want to do some really good and satisfying work and grow as an actor. I want to grow as a human being. I really want to be able to contribute substaintially and qualitatively to this whole entertainment industry which is growing so fast now.