His father wanted him to become a doctor and he wished to be a singer but destiny had other
plans for Brijendra Kaala, who is poised for bigger roles after his endearing performance of a bumbling journalist in "Paan Singh Tomar".
Kaala has found his way into the audience's heart with scene stealing roles in "Haasil", "Jab We Met", "Mithya" and "Agneepath" but he credits Tigmanshu Dhulia's "Paan Singh Tomar" for bringing out the best out of him.
"Tishu (director) told me that it was a small role but I liked the way the character was spread across in the film. I had a feeling that it was a good part but never realised that it would create such an impact," says Kaala about his character.
The actor is reuniting with Irrfan Khan again in "Fanne Khan", a film directed by Shivam Nair of "Ahista Ahista" fame. Besides that, he is starring in "Yeh Hai Mumbai Real Life" where he will be seen playing the role of a C-grade filmmaker called Shanti Shah. Kaala is also part of Sunny Deol
starrer "Bhayyaji Superhit", Rajat Kapoor directed "Ankhon Dekhi" and "Identity Card", which is set in Kashmir.
Acting happened by chance for Kaala, who wanted to become a singer. An acting workshop got him interested in the art form.
"My father wanted his only son to become a doctor and I wanted to sing but did not know how to go about it. I still remember I spent Rs 25 for an acting workshop and got a small role in a play. I was noticed and I started participating in plays actively in Mathura," says Kaala, who still has the
newspaper cutting about his first performance.
After plays, Kaala headed to Mumbai to try his luck in movies. He had already worked in "Subah Hone Tak" but the city and the film industry came like a shock for him. "I came to Mumbai in 1980s for the shooting of 'Subah Hone Tak'. I still remember that there was a whole day I did not speak to anyone. When my friend came, I went to Juhu beach and shouted to my heart's fill. Now, I have come to love the city."
Kaala, who also writes scripts apart from acting, was helped a lot by scriptwriter Achala Nagar, who encouraged him to write but acting was still a distant dream.
"I knew that there was no chance for me in acting because of my height and personality. I entered cinema at a time when the phase of art movies was over and mainstream cinema would only take handsome actors even for the character of a poor man. I did not stand a chance."
Kaala had started assisting and writing by that time and soon the small screen beckoned. "I worked on a lot of serials but cinema set was constantly in mind. I spent eight years in serials but never took them seriously. It kept me alive. I worked in 'Kutumb', 'Banegi Apni Baat', 'Patang' and wrote 'Kuchh Jhuki Palke'."
Kaala started making his mark with small character roles soon. His brief role in Imtiaz Ali's "Jab We Met" brought him more attention.
With more than half a dozen films releasing, Kaala hopes to get meatier roles in Bollywood, which has started giving importance to character actors once again. "Films do need faces that can bring public to the cinema hall but most of the time character roles are cut out. I will keep doing what comes my way because I am not an actor who can rely on one or two films. But I hope things change after 'Paan Singh', which has given me a new identity." PTI