In times when nepotism is being discussed at an alarming rate, there are many who will try and defend it. Being an outsider, for some, is an excuse. Those ‘some’, quite obviously come from different celebrated families of the film industry or are closely related to them.

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Jaihind Kumar

What it feels being an outsider is known by someone like Jaihind Kumar, who has been working hard each and every day since many ears to find his feet in the industry. And he has learned how to start stepping up the ladder of success now.

For many who might not know him, he was brilliant as the rickshaw puller in the last year’s surprise package Laal Rang, where Randeep Hooda was the lead actor. Jaihind took that little opportunity in hand but made it big with his performance. Accolades came his way and so did many other roles.

His new film is Baraat Company and it also came with a challenging role, about which he spoke to us in this chat, alongside his journey from nobody to being in the process of becoming somebody.

Q: How did you become an actor?

A: I came to Delhi to study in Jamia Milia Islamia University. I had an interest in acting and then got to know that there was a theater group in college. That was Sayed Alam’s Pierrots. I started doing theater with them. Did many plays during my graduation days.

It was around this time that I thought of applying to National School of Drama but my graduation was not over by then. So I went to a drama school which had opened under the affiliation of NSD in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. It was called Himachal Culture Research Forum Theater Academy. I was in the first batch of that academy. I did theater for one year over there. After one more year in Delhi, I decided to move to Mumbai.

Q: What was it then moving to Mumbai?

A: It was a different age altogether. Back then, the trend was to roam from one production house to another and distribute your picture with the name written on the back of the photographs. If selected, you had to give auditions.

I, too, was wandering around in Mumbai in search of work. I got some work in serials and few films but was not satisfied by it.

I took a long gap and then went back to writing and acting in plays. I also directed some plays. In the meanwhile, I also wrote some script and tried to approach some filmmakers but nothing concrete happened ever.

Q: When did the struggle stop?

A: I have attended a small party at actor friend Manav Kaul’s place and there Siddharth Hussain introduced me to  Syed Ahmed Afzal, who had directed Youngistaan. He was sharing the music of Laal Rang with everyone over there and I was really impressed by it. He then suddenly offered me a role in the film. He did not even know that I am an actor. It was the role of a Rickshaw puller. That’s how I got the role in the film.

Then I did some good roles in different films like Jaya and Miyan Kal Aana, both got international acclaim. For Jaya, I was nominated for best actor in Madrid Film Festival as well.

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Jaihind Kumar_Baaraat Company_Laal Rang_Syed Ahmad Afzal_Watch Full Movie_Online_Free_Download_Songs_Interview_Bollywood_BollywoodirectQ: Tell us about your role in Baaraat Company?

A: I was shooting a film in Lucknow when I got a call for Baaraat Company’s casting director Kunal M Shah. I went back after completing the shoot and was informed that I will be playing a transgender in this film. It was exciting for me to do this. I think it is the love of Afzal Sahab that he offered me the film again.

Q: Who is that one person who had a lasting impact on you?

A: Because I come from a family which has been a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, I too, am a follower of his ideologies to whatever extent I can follow. For me, it is difficult to wish for someone’s misery or step on someone else’s dream and wish to fulfill mine.

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Jaihind Kumar In Baaraat Company

In films, Amitabh Bachchan fascinated me from childhood only. I really admired him and still, do. When I started doing theater and took acting seriously it was the likes of Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Pankaj Kapur who became an inspiration for me.

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Q: Is there any relation of such thoughts and your name? The name Jaihind has a very deep connection to the freedom struggle.

A: Yes. My grandfather gave this name to me. But the name Jaihind was also sometimes gone against me. In my early days, whenever I called somebody and tell them my name that, “Hello, Jaihind here,” People would also reply back, “Jaihind” and hang up the phone. I had to then tell them that my name was Jaihind. The advantage was that the name is so unique that people remembered it for long.  

Q: What are your upcoming projects?

A: Right now there are three films which are in pipeline Shankar’s Fairies, Rukh, H2SO4 besides these there are few in talks.

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