|Abhimanyu Singh in Patna on Tuesday.
Picture by Deepak Kumar
The steps of traditional garba proved to be the greatest challenge for Abhimanyu Singh in his dream project — Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela.
The actor who earned rave reviews for his performance as the terrifying Bukka Reddy in Rakht Charitra (2010) and recently appeared as ACP Ashish Sawant in Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara!, found that he had two left legs while shooting for the Bhansali opus.
Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Bhansali’s new venture has been shot extensively in Gujarat. Neither the western state nor garba are new for the director, who shot his 1999 blockbuster Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam there.
For Abhimanyu though, the traditional Gujarati dance proved a tough task. “I am not at all good at dancing. So, it was very tough for me to perform garba,” said the actor who had made his debut in Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Aks. “I tried to follow the footsteps of the choreographer closely but Bhansali Sir was unimpressed.”
But a small impediment was not to discourage the resilient actor who has carved a niche for himself in Bollywood through sheer hard work.
Son of Reserve Bank of India employee Chandra Shekhar Singh, Abhimanyu grew up in Patna. He was introduced into the world of films by Manoj Bajpayee and trained under theatre actor Marakand Deshpande. After his debut in 2001, he had to work hard for getting any work. “For almost three years, I got no work in films. I had to work in TV serials before any offer came my way,” said Abhimanyu.
Then, came a slew of small roles in Lakshya (2004), Dhol (2007) and Jannat (2008). Finally, he grabbed the attention of the audience and the critics as his role as Ransa Singh in Anurag Kashyap’s Gulaal (2009). So, sweating to achieve something is not unique to him and that’s what he fell back upon to master garba.
“I practised the whole night. When Bhansali Sir came to see me the next day, he was amazed and praised me,” said Abhimanyu, who attended Devi Dayal Uchcha Vidyalaya in Patna and St Stephen’s College in New Delhi.
You can see him dance as Meghjee Bhai in the Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone-starrer that is slated to release on November 15.