'There can be no backups in life'

I’m a small kid from Delhi who saw a dream and I’m here now,” says Arjun Mathur as he looks back at his journey in the world of entertainment. He doesn’t shy away from sharing that “In 12-13 years of living in Bombay, I have never paid rent.” Crediting his survival to his father’s support, he shares his dreams and expectations with Metrolife.

Focussed from a very young age to take up acting as career, Mathur recollects how he used to, “wait for dad to come home and then dress up as a character to put up some random performance every day. I was the dramebaaz, the performer or the namuna in the family!”

His part in Ankur Arora Murder Case is remembered the most. But the seeds for this were sown at the age of 13, when he moved to the city of dreams, Bombay, which was becoming Mumbai. “That was also the time when Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan inspired many a youngsters,” remembers Mathur who was exposed to stars through his father’s involvement in the hotel industry.

“Having grown up in Delhi, which is usually star-struck, when I moved to Bombay and saw the actors up close, I became even more enamoured.”

Within few months he lost his mother in a car accident and had to shift back to the Capital with his father and brother. But the charm of the dream city was carried by him in his heart.

“I was fortunate to study in British School where I had theatre as a proper subject. Since I had decided that acting is what I want to pursue in life, after school I didn’t search for a college, came to Bombay and started doing any acting course that I could find,” says Mathur who later worked as an assistant director with some of the best directors including Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Shaad Ali.

“I still don’t have a degree,” he exclaims sounding confident about his career choice. “I don’t think there can be backups in life. Because if you have got something to fall back on, then it’s just too easy to fall back on, than to pursue what you want to do wholeheartedly,” he speaks out his belief and explains that he took up assistant direction to know more about filmmaking.

“Those were the best days since there is no pressure when you are an AD. I worked on films which had Mr Amitabh Bachchan and Mr Amir Khan in them and got a chance to watch them at their craft. What better way to learn than to watch the best people in this business?” His point can’t be revoked but one wonders if he is happy being cast in characters which are not purely sketched for the hero.

“Very early in my career I was directed by A-class directors like Mira Nair, Farhan Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar and Karan Johar and acted opposite Irrfan, Boman Irani and Shabana. This proved that I’m considered as a performer even if not necessarily a star-material,” says Mathur voicing his satisfaction in what he has been offered till date including his latest release Coffee Bloom, that has him in the lead role.

“I still don’t know if I’m cut out for an item song and dance sequence but I’m looking to do more performance-oriented characters. I want people to associate me with a certain quality of work such as they do with Naseer saab,” he says pointedly.

Probably, this approach and belief has helped him make a transition and bag roles in upcoming films Angry Indian Goddesses by Pan Nalin (who made Samsara and Valley of Flowers) and Waiting by Anu Menon (director of London, Paris, New York). Though
Coffee Bloom hasn’t gone down well with critics, hope the rest get him the much-desired acclaim.

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