Actor Yogesh Bhardwaj is slowly but steadily building a great repertoire of films. He was most recently seen in ZEE5’s acclaimed investigative thriller Lost. Helmed by Aniruddha Roy Choudhury, the film also features Yami Gautam, Pankaj Kapur, Rahul Khanna, and Neil Bhoopalam on the cast. Despite the presence of such prominent names, Bhardwaj managed to leave an indelible mark on audiences’ minds with his riveting performance.
Eastern Eye recently talked to the young actor about the kind of response he received for his role in Lost, how he landed the part, and what made him pursue a career in movies. Read on…
Your recently released film Lost received a thumbs-up from the audience. What kind of response have you been getting for your performance?
When you are on a film set, and when you are shooting or when you are in the skin of the character, you are a bit unsure about the outcome of the character. Also, you are unsure about how the audience will perceive it. Will they appreciate it or criticize it? You sense the atmosphere on the sets, the energy of the co-stars, and the directors. So, when we started working on “Lost,” we felt that things were going great because crew members on sets gave us a huge round of applause for our performances while we were still working on it. Also, there were two particular comments where they said they were the most celebrated actors on the sets. So, we genuinely felt that we were doing good. After the act, the first few words that came out of the director’s mouth were, “Cut. I have started loving both of you.” That’s when we felt that it had set the ball rolling for good reasons. But when the film got released, a few things happened that were rather unexpected. My fingers were crossed, and I would say that there was this complex energy that had engulfed me. I didn’t know what was in store for me. But after the film got released, people showered us with unprecedented appreciation, and my character got a lot of recognition far and wide. People, like the two boys that Yami was petrified of throughout the whole film, were great actors. It was like our acts were very natural. My “yes, I did it” moment was when reporter Anupama Chopra wrote about us and the metro station scene and termed it iconic. She said that it reminded her of the iconic scene when Bob Viswas is all set to murder Vidya Balan. Also, she made a special mention of our performances. She had said that the two boys, Shakeel and Thakur, made Yami Gautam’s flesh crawl in the movie. That’s when I realized that, yes, something really positive had occurred in my life. My phone was flooded with messages and calls. My close ones always used to message me after viewing my performances, but it came as a surprise to me when a stark outsider messaged me appreciating my performance. People were showering me with praises like “you did a fantastic job,” and that just made my day. I am receiving the response I had anticipated.
How did you become a part of the cast?
Our director, Anirudh Roy Chaudhary, fondly addressed as “Tony Da,” was extremely precise regarding these two characters. Because these two characters, Shakeel and Thakur, were two of the most complex characters in the movie, The casting of Shakeel was done, and he was in search of a perfect partner. He was in search of Thakur. After that, Jogi Sir asked me to audition for the role. I took up the job and auditioned for the same. Within two days, I got a call saying, ” Yogesh, you are playing this character. Tony Dalton really loved your audition “. Tony Da made sure that I got a major and meaty role.
The film features a lot of talented actors. How was your experience working with them?
I think I am fortunate that I got a chance to essay these roles alongside talented and experienced actors. Yami Gautam, given the choice of her films, has time and again proved her prowess as an actress. It was great working with her. Working with Pankaj Tripathi has been the turning point of my life, and most of my scenes in the film are with him. This was really a great thing for me. While I was studying at the film institute, there was this one class that was about actor study. There we were asked to study an actor from the world cinema and an actor from Indian cinema. We were asked to study five Indian actors, and one of them was Pankaj Kapoor. The majority of the students were inspired by his works. We had seen him in “Maqbool”, “Blue Umbrella” and “Office Office” and he delivered an amazing performance in “Halla Bol”. We used to believe that, and we still believe that when it comes to characterization, no one can even come close to what Pankaj Kapoor was. So when I learned that I am doing a one-on-one scene with Pankaj Kapoor, I was elated and thanked God for presenting me with a huge opportunity. Everyone was so good that it didn’t feel different. The give and take was fantastic, and everyone used to bring great energy to one another.
How did you get into acting?
I am a very spiritual being. I believe that there are certain things that have no answers. Since I was in fourth grade, I used to play instruments in musical shows conducted in our village. So, I have no clue about how I actually developed this habit. Ever since I started walking, my family used to tell me that I used to play some music with the help of two sticks and used to dance to its tunes. When I started going to school, I used to participate in their plays and I also used to direct a few plays and act in them. I used to write a few songs with the help of music in movies. I was a celebrated actor in my village. I had become a star. Also, no one in our family had ever dreamed of becoming an actor. I am actually clueless about my new-found qualities, but never did I see this hobby becoming my career, and I couldn’t see it, and even if I wanted to, I couldn’t because I was hitting some roadblocks. My father met with an accident when I was in 8th grade, and at a very young age, I had to fulfill my family responsibilities. So after completing my 12th grade, I was under this pressure to work, find a job, and make a living. Under those circumstances, taking up acting as my career was a big no-no. So, if that thought crossed my mind, I used to think of it as a far cry. When I was doing my B.Sc. at Jat College in Rohtak, they used to conduct these youth festivals. Acting was my hobby and right from childhood, I was into it. That is when I got a chance to do theater, and luckily the people who had trained us in theater, Alkesh Dalal, Minu Hudda, and Jaideep Ahlawat, who is one of the most promising actors, were the icing on the cake. He was the one who trained us. He was an alumnus of Jat College. When I saw him, his persona and atmosphere had some magic in them, and that was the exact moment when I felt that I wanted to do this. because the way I want to live my life is only possible if I take up acting as my career. That is when I decided, “Okay, this is it; I want to do this. After that, I enrolled myself in a film school in Rohtak. I studied and practiced acting. I graduated in acting from that school, and that set the ball rolling for my career.