A few months back Amazon Prime streamed a new web series by TVF called Panchayat. The series was well-received by both the critics and the audience. One character, in particular, managed to secure a place in every viewer’s heart because of how relatable it was at times. The character was Vikas.
Chandan Roy plays Vikas, a native of Phulera, assistant and the right hand of the newly appointed Panchayat secretary Abhishek played by Jitendra Kumar.
The story behind being successful is always the place where you see true determination and perseverance. After talking to Chandan over a telephonic interview I can tell, before anything else he is a dreamer. Chandan dreamt of making it big, doing something that fills his heart with joy and satisfaction. His passion drove him towards his success.
Mumbai: the place where people go to make it big in Bollywood. The struggle to turn those dreams into reality is arduous. And that is why; earning a place in Bollywood just after two and a half years is a big deal.
Chandan has become one of the faces which now represents Bihar. In an interview with PatnaBeats, Chandan talks about his journey and his roots.
Excerpts from the conversation.
Early memories of Cinema and acting
Originally from Mahnar block in Vaishali district of Bihar, Roy had always been inclined towards the world of cinema. “My early memories of acting go back to the time when I used to watch local Natakas, which were written by a local group of people and were performed for the local. They were fun to watch and as I grew older I started joining these groups and used to perform in the play with them.
I had always loved entertaining people. In school, I used crack jokes at times or would sing a line or two or used to mimic actors and politicians all just for sheer entertainment and appreciation from my audience aka my classmates.
We used to rent TV batteries to watch Doordarshan on the weekends, I remember watching Chitrahaar, Rangoli etc…
Children of my age were usually found playing cricket in the free time and I would go to the hall, surreptitiously, to watch movies like Tiranga, Raja Babu and Shapath.
“Radio played an important role in my life, especially Vividh Bharati . I used to religiously listen to the interviews that used to come up on the radio. The voices of the RJs and actors and their life story were imprinted in my mind. And it was then I made a vow to myself that I will one day go to Mumbai and struggle hard to turn my dreams into reality”, says Roy with a chuckle.
Journey to the City of Dreams.
Coming from Mahnar block in Vaishali district of Bihar, it was not easy for Roy to see and choose acting as a fully-fledged career. And that is why for the longest time he had to keep his dreams as a secret.
He knew to even have the slightest of a chance to turn his dreams into a reality he had to leave his hometown. After completing his schooling from Vaishali, he came to Patna to complete his graduation in Mass Communication from Patna College. During his course of study, Chandan joined theatre and used to perform in Kalidas Rangalaya to hone his acting skills. And later he joined the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) to study about TV and Radio journalism. He did not do any theatre during his time in IIMC.
Thereafter he worked at Dainik Jagran newspaper. It was in now that his steady association with theatre began. He worked with the Shahid Anwar’s Bahuroop theatre group at Jawaharlal Nehru University and the National School of Drama as a freelance actor. Even while working in Delhi his heart was always hovering somewhere over Mumbai. Chandan realized that this
9-hour job is not what he wants! “Whenever I used to look over my cubicle all I ever saw were people working hard and without a break. It was like labyrinth to me. And I realized that I am wasting youth. I am wasting my golden years doing something that I don’t love and I left my job at Danik Jagran”.
Like any other person who finally arrives at their destination, Chandan also remembers the day he arrived at Mumbai like it happened yesterday. He boarded Gareeb Rath from Nizamuddin and arrived at Bandra on 7th October 2017. Then he rode Bus no 221 and arrived at Yari Road. And from there a new chapter of his story began. The chapter that holds the record of his struggles as an actor.
Vikas and Panchayat
Talking to Chandan reminded me so much about his character Vikas. He has similar vibes. So I guessed that preparing for Vikas might not have been that tough. But I was pleasantly surprised. Chandan is not a man who takes opportunities lightly. “When I first held the script in my hand it became my Bible. The script was written so well that I had no trouble; I did not had to add more to the character of Vikas or improvise a lot. I read it so many times that Vikas became a part of me. After a while I soaked the script so well that I was confident in my acting”, says Chandan.
When I asked, that did his roots help him with his character? To this, he replied that yes that was an advantage but he would have played any character with similar enthusiasm and dedication.
Chandan strongly believes that to excel in a field one must have passion. “If you are passionate about your dreams then surely one day you will turn them into reality”.
Roy shares how surreal it was to him when he used to get messages from big names of the industry about his work in Panchayat. “It was the messages from the audience that made me realize that now I have a responsibility, as an actor now it is my duty to entertain them. Acting was previously something I used to do for myself it was fun and all but after Panchayat it has become more than that” says Roy about his responsibility as an actor.
When asked about his opinion on Digital wave in the world of Cinema Chandan said “It is a beautiful era for any creative personnel. Cinema has always seen people who have experimented with different genres; it has seen different writing styles and directing styles. There has always been diversity in this field and that’s what makes it so interesting. The world of Cinema is dynamic in nature, it is ever-changing but that doesn’t mean the old and traditional ways will lose its charms. Television was introduced but that didn’t stop people from going to movie theatres. It is similar with this wave. Digital platforms have enabled people who are caught up in their lives to have quick moments of recreation. You have an hour-long ride and you don’t know how to pass your time, you simply have to open your phone and voila the world of entertainment is a click away. This platform has surely given a certain kind of freedom to people of this field. It has given newcomers like opportunities to showcase our talents.”
Family and Roots
The men in his extended family have either served the Indian army—in 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars—or, like his father, been with the Bihar Police. “There were no linkages with acting whatsoever. He tells later explains how his perception of his father was highly influenced by the representation of cops that he saw in films—strict, unbending and fearsome. “I was scared of my father, I still am!” he says innocently.
Roy was close to his grandfather. “Whatever I am today is because of him and his blessings,” says Roy with awe.
“Earlier my parents used to be scared about my future but after Panchayat things have changed at home, my mother has memorized my dialogues”.
Talking about his roots, Roy says with” Roots are everything. They are the fundamentals of you being you. Without roots, no tree can survive for very long. It will rot from the inside.
When I am alone or when I am sitting idle, I miss home. I miss my family. Summer reminds me of Malda. But I know why I am here. I am here to work and to make a name of myself and I am going to do just that.”
Quote of the day-“The Way Get Started Is To Quit Talking And Begin Doing.” ― Walt Disney