He may not be a Kapoor or Khan, but the hard working, passionate Bangalore-boy, Akhil Iyer has followed his dream successfully. And that’s why it means so much to him to see his name rolling down the credits of Lekar Hum Deewana Dil, a film by Imtiaz Ali’s brother, Arif. Debuting alongside Armaan Jain – grandson of great Raj Kapoor, Iyer, a city-bred thespian, says it was his work with some of our theatre stalwarts like Arundhati Raja, troupes like Dramanon and his Mad-Ads days in St Joseph’s college and PESIT that really propelled him forward. After plays, television commercials and print ads, home-boy Iyer forays into the glitzy world of Bollywood, and tells us about his journey there.
I play Mahesh, your average Joe who is vying for the attention of Karishma (Deeksha Seth). Armaan, who plays the lead role of Dino, is also in love with her and she with him. So I’m the good guy in the middle who is hoping to end up with the girl of my dreams and the big business empire she comes with!
I was on break in Bangalore when Bollywood casting director, Nandini Shrikent, told me of an audition for a film by director Arif Ali. I shot the audition film at home on a mobile phone with my brother playing cameraman and my sister-in-law giving me lines. Arif liked it and called me down to Mumbai for another round of auditions. That was coffee on a Varsova balcony followed by a quick scene enactment in the office and then the contract signing.
Living the dream
With no ‘big’ surname or fairy godparents to get me instant success, I had to really work hard. And perhaps the few years of waiting was worth it to be part of this big film. I wouldn’t say I have really fulfilled my dream, but I certainly am beginning to feel that the process has begun. Hopefully, more films will come my way following this one.
Armaan was just brilliant to work with. Although it is his first film acting, he’s been assistant to directors before so he knows how it works. Besides, it’s obviously in his genes! But he’s so curious, down-to-earth, and energetic, it’s infectious. And Deeksha is a thorough professional. She’s constantly on the ball and even gives cues when she doesn’t have to!
The film is scheduled to release today.