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Exclusive! Namit Das: My first experience in front of the camera was traumatic as I hailed from a theatre background – Times of India

Namit Das, who has been experimenting with his roles and genres so far, feels that his 17 years of hard work are now being recognised. His latest ventures in the OTT space have gained him a lot of popularity this year.

In an exclusive interview with a news portal, Namit opened up about choosing acting over music, exploring OTT space, and his journey in Bollywood so far. Excerpts…

You belong to a family of singers, how did you choose acting over music?
I think it was a natural process. It happened because of the college that I was in. Music somehow did not give me the right direction and acting did. Most importantly, theatres gave me that validation then. Without any hesitation, I jumped over to the other side. Acting also gave me a way to express myself and be on stage where people will watch me.

Interestingly, because of musical theatres, music also came back into my life. People usually ask me how I balance it out. It is very simple. If I am not acting, I am doing music and if I am not doing music, I am acting.

What was the reaction of your parents when you decided to pursue acting?
They were pretty okay about it. They were very supportive. There were no questions asked. They were of the view that if that gives me happiness then they are happy about it too. My father was very happy that I took up acting. He was not very encouraging with me taking up music at one point in time. Those are obviously conflicting areas. We have gone through that one and now it is a different life and a different relationship that we share.

Tell us something about your initial days in theatre and Bollywood.
It was not easy. It was challenging. It was a completely different world for me. People were different and their languages were different. But I think I educated myself. I am still doing the same. I read a lot. I interacted with the theatre groups and remained close to them to understand them. I came from a musical background and everything was music for me.

Later, I found a way to channelise that musical energy into my acting. That, in fact, became one of my assets as an actor. I always had this musical card that I could pull out. I had faith and I still do. It never really gets over. It just needs to get stronger and stronger.

Did you deal with anxiety or any mental health issue, how did you battle those?
No I don’t this so. I think I did not have the time to deal with it. I started acting and supporting my family at a very young age. All of my time and energy went into that. If I had fallen flat or I would have gotten depressed at any point of time, I don’t think I would have been able to support my family.

Initially, I did feel the pressure of supporting my family at a very young age. But I feel if I didn’t have that I would have been consumed by other things that I would not have been proud of now. The responsibility did not give me a chance to sink into anything negative.

How was it acting in front of the camera for the first time?
It was a traumatic experience because I came from a theatre background. I didn’t know what this medium was and what that dead thing was that was looking at me. It was very scary because there was no audience reaction that one got. It was just this plain and lifeless thing looking at you. I didn’t know that there was an editing process that actually was such a big key to facing the camera. It was only after I gave my first shot that I realised that different shots are taken and that how a scene is made. So it was very challenging and daunting. It was difficult to concentrate in front of the camera. Maintaining continuity in front of the camera is also one of the most important things to remember. I think one learns and I learnt.

You have played some pivotal roles in films like, ‘Wake Up Sid!’, ‘Pataakha’, ‘Sui Dhaaga’ and others. Do you feel the industry has been able to use your potential to the fullest?
If I agree that I have been used to my fullest potential that I would have to get retired. There is scope to give so much more. I feel like I have just begun. I feel people have just started recognizing it now. All the hard work that I have put in, in the last 10 years, is now being recognised. This is just the beginning.

You have been part of the acting business for a long time now. How would you describe your journey as an outsider?
I am fascinated as an outsider. Truthfully speaking, the industry is a very warm place and I have never really felt like an outsider. I feel like an insider on any set. I have been doing this for 17 years now.

How do you deal with social media trolls and negativity?
It is okay. Everyone has the right to their opinion. You listen to what people have to say and move on and don’t take it to heart. I don’t take it personally at all. If my Instagram account was private and one of my close friends was doing that the I would have felt bad. In this case, my account is public. I have a public image. Everyone has the right to say whatever they want.

How has your OTT experience been so far?
I love acting for the OTT platform. There are so many new stories that are being churned out. There are so many new characters that are being written for me and other breeds of actors who belong to my age. I feel blessed that we are living at this time in the industry where there are so many opportunities coming our way. OTT is definitely the biggest platform for all of us.

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