Avinash Kuri - For the School or College Kids Who Want to Take Acting as a Career, Use Every Possible Platform Available in Your School, College to Develop Your Skills (Professional Actor)

 Avinash Kuri

My name is Avinash Kuri and I have been professionally acting for 8 years. My acting work experience includes various short films, advertisements, theatre plays, and feature films.

I have done around 15 short films. Most of them were with the student filmmakers.  Most of them are available online to watch. Some of them have lacs of views.

Following is the list of some of the ads I have done so far-

  1. ‘Phone Pe’ ad with Aamir Khan
  2. Cinepolis popcorn
  3. Government’s Child nutrition program
  4. Sunraysia Organic Manures
  5. Bajaj Allianz
  6. GTPL Hathway with Boman Irani

I recently finished shooting for an English language untitled feature film for which we shot in GOA for 27 days.  I have a prominent primary part in the film. 

It was recently directed by Ajay Devgn in his next directorial film called ‘MAY DAY’,  Ajay sir is also acting in the film along with Amitabh Bachhan and Rakulpreet Kaur. I have a small part but a notable character.

‘NIRMAL ANAND KI PUPPY’ is a film which is yet to release but has done a number of festival rounds all over the world and I have a good part in the film. Some other films where you can spot me in small roles are LOOTCASE, TRYST WITH DESTINY[yet to release], and KARWAAN[no dialogues, my first film]. Another film called ‘THE GIRL WITH THE GOAT’ is also yet to be released. I am playing a pimp in the film.

Other than these acting works, I have been working as an assistant casting director with Anti-Casting. So far I have done casting for ten advertisements and two feature films called ‘TEJAS’ starring Kangana Ranaut and produced by RSVP PICTURES, and Netflix film ‘JAADUGAR’ starring Jitendra Kumar[Jitu], Javed Jaafry and Arushi Sharma directed by Sameer Saxena and produced by Poshampa Pictures.

1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I hail from a small village called Taswaria near Kekri, Rajasthan.

My father was in Army so I have spent most of my growing years in different Military stations. I did my schooling from various Army Schools like Army School Bhatinda[Punjab], Army School Tezpur[Assam], Army Public School, Jodhpur, etc.

I prepared for IIT for a year, got into an extended merit list (which was of no use to get into IITs)  so I joined the Army Institute of Technology, Pune to do Computer Engineering.

In the first semester of my graduation, I had to face a lot of ragging where we were asked to imagine a band and perform with imaginary instruments, we were made to dance and sing. They would show us films (mostly the Lord of the rings series ) and would ask us to pen down their story with great details (we dare not forget the characters and places, the consequences were dreadful!). It was during these ragging exercises, I discovered a taste for movies.

While ragging, my seniors were having fun torturing me. But all this while I was having fun discovering my creative side.

I had an inclination towards acting since my childhood. I used to watch movies every day on Zee and Sony Matinee shows. I used to wonder, how does one become this thing called 'an Actor'?

I remember when I was in 5th standard, one of my classmates for scolded by my teacher for writing, 'I want to be an actor in one of the essays. All the kids in the class also laughed at him.

That's when I switched to my default, 'I want to be a soldier because that is what I could see around me all the time. I wanted to join the Army and serve my nation which would make my teachers and parents proud. 'Acting is a less respectable job', I thought. I stopped watching films and focussed more on studying and sports. But deep down I cherished and admired the work of actors like Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Devanand, Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda, and Shahrukh Khan and wanted to be like them.

One thing I continued was to participate in school dramas and stage performances etc which kept the seed of acting alive in me but I had no plans of pursuing it as a profession. I was doing acting because I liked doing it, I liked making people laugh or cry.

The pleasure I got from moving people's emotions by standing on the stage was unmatchable. I used to enjoy the validation and praises.

In Pune, I started participating in various inter-college performing art events and won several awards. That's when my interest in acting accentuated and gradually solidified. I knew that I can pursue it as my career.

After I passed out from college I joined a theatre group and tested myself rigorously to check if this love for acting was an infatuation or true love. I just wanted to check if I can eliminate the maybe from the statement 'Maybe I too can be an actor'.

So I was doing a day job and rehearsing for theatre plays post my job hours from 8pm - 11 pm. Even after a long day at work, l loved my theatre rehearsals, I looked forward to it. After 3 long years of managing both sides of the boat, I left my job and came to Mumbai to do what I really wanted.

2. How can one approach their career and have the confidence and belief to become an actor?

This question can have different answers to different age groups.

For the people who are aspiring to do a switch in their professions and want to become an actor, they need to first know the skills of acting. If you have got the skills, then think of taking it as a career. If not, work on it before leaving your job and once you have enough confidence, dive into it.  

Don’t think of it as a ‘let’s try’ thing. This is the most common mindset in India, people come to Mumbai to test their destiny. ‘Chalo Mumbai Chalte hai kismat aajmane’. Just because you are good-looking, it’s not necessary that you'll get a chance. You will find hundreds of good-looking people in Lokhandwala who have come to test their destinies. They might get modeling jobs and a very few acting jobs but for the long run, one needs to have the skills. This is a definite prerequisite.

For the school or college kids who want to take acting as a career, use every possible platform available in your school, college to develop your skills. Join theatre groups, learn languages, work on your diction, work on your imagination. Learn other performing arts also like dancing, playing musical instruments. Play sports.  

Just like a musician respects his instrument, a sports person respects his kit, an actor has to respect his body as this is the only instrument and this is the only kit an actor has. You have to keep tuning your body to prepare for better performances. If you work on your skills and you know the job, confidence will automatically generate and one fine day you will be ready to take it up as your career.

3. If not this, what would you be doing?

I definitely would have been an Army Officer.

4. For a complete outsider with inroads, what advice would you like to give?

Stay. Come to stay after rigorous testing. Know yourself. What exactly do you want. Do you really want this? Are you ready to fail thousands of times? And rise again with enthusiasm every single time. A part of your brain will generate doubts and disbelief, but you need to tame your brain for a balanced inner-self. It will help you think practically and guide you to make the right decisions.

Every person in this field has his own journey. The outside journey can be different but the inner mental journey is the same for everyone. You have to attain peace after failures or successes in this journey.

Advice for a career would be - Once you have tested your swimming skills rigorously in swimming pools and ponds and rivers. Dive into this Ocean. And know that the challenges will be different and unknown. Even after rigorous testing, you may fail every day. Come prepared with that mindset. Come with a mind of steel to survive here.

Meet people, approach them. They won't respond easily. You will be ignored. Find other ways. Find other people to approach. Make connections and do networking. But foremost you should be well prepared with your skills and your art. If you are not good at your job. All the networking is a waste. Improve your skills and art. Always stay motivated and keep working in the direction you want to take your career in.

There are some people who want to be the next Irrfan Khan, some want to be a Varun Dhawan and some want to join Big Boss. All the choices are fine but you need to be aware of your choice and don't get confused. You will have to work on different skill sets for every choice. Understand this.

5. What is your mantra of success?

The quote from Mohd Ali the boxer- If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, I can achieve it. And sometimes ‘Just do it, because ‘He didn’t know he can’t do it, so he did it.

6. Which is your favorite book and why?

'The seven habits of highly effective people'.

I like it because it is very well written and If you can follow the book it will reap your outcomes without any doubt.

Avinash Kuri

Avinash Kuri | Professional Actor

Interviewed By: Vanshikha Bagga

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