'I didn't have much to choose from'

It comes as a shock that he has been a part of the industry since “26 years” but it was only after his act in “Na Aana Is Des Laado” on small screen and “Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster” on the big screen that “my acting skills were recognised and I started getting roles,” says Deepraj Rana who is a popular face for both TV and film viewers.

Clear in his mind right from his childhood, Rana recollects how he expressed that he always wanted “to be an actor.”

“I was in Class III and my mother being a teacher in the same school got to know about it from my class teacher. It did surprise my mother, but she didn’t let me forget about it. Every three or four months, she would ask me what I wanted to become and I’d say, ‘actor’.”

A post graduate from Department of Indian theatre, DAV College, Chandigarh, Deepraj “thought that acting was a subject and, if one has to become an actor then one should know the subject.”

However, the theoretical training didn’t come in handy in the practical field.

“I did not get such roles then. After coming to Bombay, I worked with Nadira Babbar’s Ekjute theatre group and took up whatever came to me in television to survive. People just didn’t cast me and I have seen what it is to be without work for months at a stretch.”

A pity that such a fine actor was being wasted all these years till Tigmanshu Dhulia’s keen eye made him hit public eye as ‘Kanhaiya’! “But even after getting this role in Saheb..., I didn’t have much to choose from and had to prove myself with whatever little I was offered.”

Hailing from Allahabad, the actor who has given half of his life to the industry confesses that initially he used to feel that “there is something wrong” in his acting.

After much deliberation he realised that he “wasn’t enjoying” what he was doing.
“Once I started enjoying my work, things fell in place,” he says with a satisfied sigh that prompts Metrolife to ask if production is as satisfying as acting? 

“Me and my wife keep working on an idea, be it for a film or TV show and then produce it. Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai is a product of the same,” says Rana who is a co-producer of the horror film released last Friday.

He adds that direction is not on his mind since he wants to “focus on acting as of now. I can see the roles that I wanted to be in, coming.”

“Something like what Manoj Bajpayee got to do in Satya or Vijay Raaz in Jungle is yet to come my way,” says the actor even though he has a lot in his kitty from Rohit Shetty’s Singham II to Vikram Bhatt’s Creature.

“I have even done one scene in films like Aarakshan and Gunday but they have been appreciated because a good director can make even that one scene significant.”

Is that the reason why he has accepted Sooraj Barjatya’s Salman-starrer Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo?

“The character of Sanjay Thakur that I play is crucial for the meeting of Salman Khan who plays a double role in the film.” We shall definitely look out for it!

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