The first turning point of my life is my meeting with Barry John who gave me a break in his play, Baghdad ka Ghulam in 1988. I got noticed by important people in theatre circles because of that play and soon enough, Barry offered me a job in his theatre group. I learnt the ropes from him and, in the process, I think I became a complete actor.
Sometime afterwards I got a big break when director Shekhar Kapur selected me to play a key role in his film, Bandit Queen in 1992.
I got lucky once again in 1998 when Ram Gopal Varma cast me in Satya. This was quite an experience because in order to play the role of Bhiku Mhatre realistically, I had to meet real gangsters, pick up their body language and their dialect. It was quite a lot of hard work.
Then came movies like Aks, Pinjar and the recent Acid Factory. Currently, Im hoping that my performance in Madhur Bhandarkars Jail gets noticed. I play a convict and its a difficult role, with not much dialogue a lot of the emoting has to be done with the eyes.
Also coming up is Prakash Jhas film, Rajneeti, where modern-day politics is blended with scenes from the epic, The Mahabharata. We are shooting in Bhopal at the moment and when the film releases next year, Im hoping that Ill be able to make a mark again.
(As told to Nandini Guha)