Guwahati/Dubai, March 18: Sometimes, even the thought of facing the camera makes people go weak in the knees. But there are a few people who never experience anything such even when facing the camera or facing an audience in a different country altogether!
Abhijit Baruah is one such person. Jovial and high spirited always, this maverick actor and stand up comedian is slowly making the region proud with good reviews and an award for his work on the stage and in serials, short films and advertisements at the United Arab Emirates.
TIME8 caught up with him recently and got to know him a little better as he spoke about his multiple passions and about his family.
Here are a few excerpts from the conversation:
T8: When did this love affair with acting begin?
AB: Acting is my passion- there is no doubt about it!
Goswami sir, my English Teacher, had introduced me to the stage in the 9th standard, he literally forced me to act in a school play and I’ve been in love with it ever since!
T8: You are appearing on television and in movies also performing on stage abroad. You are perhaps one of the very few actors from Assam who are doing such work there! How does it feel gaining acceptance in a country which isn’t your motherland?
AB: If I talk about acting, yes, most of my work has been in Dubai based productions, since I stay here. I have acted in a few serials and a few advertisements for P&G and for Danube. I was a part of this serial Parwaaz, about India and Pakistan, the first joint venture in television serials between the two countries. I am currently shooting for an Arabic serial, Heart of Justice. It’s about the legal system of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
As far as acceptance is concerned, it is easier here as people are accepting of people. So adjustment is never a problem for outsiders who have settled here or who visit for work. It’s a small industry which is slowly growing.
I’d even won the best actor award in a contest here, titled Battle Of The Best held in 2013.
T8: What challenges have you faced as you were initially an outsider?
AB: If you ask me about the challenge, the biggest challenge is language. People from the northeast, like me, always have this accent which sometimes makes it difficult while working in a certain language, but I have stayed at Gujarat and Mumbai before coming here, so that experience helped.
But then there are also people like Adil Hussain, who has gained so much of appreciation for his work so I think it would be wrong to say that this accent might be a problem. It can be overcome. And since I did mention Adil’s name, I must tell you, I think he is one of the finest actors to have come out of the region! I really love his work.
T8: You already have a full time job and yet you manage time for these passions. Does your family ever complain that you aren’t giving them enough time? Or have they always been so supportive?
AB: Mitali, my wife was not very happy when I begun acting here. She kept asking me why I was doing this despite being so busy with my job. But now she has accepted it…she knows that it makes me happy (chuckles).
Even my sons, especially the younger one, is always so thrilled when he sees me in commercials and serials. He even boasts about it in front of his friends sometimes! I think he just might follow me and try acting- he keeps saying that sometimes, unlike my older son who is very immersed in his books as he wants to study medicine(smiles).
T8: Will you come back home if you are offered something interesting?
AB: If I am offered a good role, I would move anywhere! Be it back home, in Assam or some other country…anywhere. I am very flexible that way and willing to go even to ‘Timbuktoo’ (chuckles) if I get satisfying roles. The pay or location isn’t a priority, just the role is.
T8: We got to know that you travel a lot. You also play Golf, right? Tell us about these activities…
AB: I do a variety of things… I have a full time job, but I manage time to do stand up comedy, short films, movies, serials and I play Golf. I believe everyone should play Golf as I think it is very close to life, it’s a mind game.
And I travel! I try to fit in at least four holidays in a year, one with my family another one with my Golf buddies and one trip to someplace alone and the last is a pilgrimage to a holy place. Travelling has helped me meet so many people and get to know so many things! I think everyone should travel whenever possible.
Let’s hope he continues doing the good work and here’s wishing him the very best for his future endeavors!