First of Many: Vindu Dara Singh revisits Karan
There is more to Vindu Dara Singh than his Bigg Boss journey. The winner of the reality show’s third season, Vindu, comes from a loyal family, and admits he’s never had to struggle to get into showbiz. Having been in the industry for nearly five decades, Vindu started out as a child artist at the age of five, until his first film as a lead actor hit.
The son of ace wrestler, actor and politician Dara Singh, Vindu had the perfect entry to star in Bollywood. But according to him, he lacked the motivation to build a career in Bollywood. Vindu, however, ended up making dozens of films, including Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, Partner, Housefull, Son of Sardaar and more, outside of TV shows.
Here’s what he shared about his first film as a male main character and how life came to him afterward:
What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?
My first film as a hero was Karan. At that time, there were so many producers that anyone could make a movie. The movies were made on time and on budget, say Rs 1 crore, you can throw your kid. I learned fighting, dancing, and acting for a year, during which time I received offers to act that I skipped. It’s because we had planned to make our own film for my launch, so that we could put elements to the best of my talent. Since my father was doing it, director Shiv Kumar has worked on his story for a long time. This is how Karan was made on a good scale. But shortly before its release, Aamir Khan’s brother movie came along which failed to happen. When such a thing happens in our industry, people get scared. This is the established routine. So if one star kid isn’t performing, people assume the other won’t perform as well. Karan didn’t have exactly the kind of outing he should have had everywhere. It worked in some places and bombed in others. So it received mixed reviews. Like in Mumbai, he lasted 15 weeks at home and disappeared in Delhi in no time. It was all fate, but we had a blast doing it.
Karan was shot in 1993 and released in 1994. It was a story of love and action. When Zee TV started in India, it was broadcast for a few hours between evening and night. The rest of the time he was showing songs. This time songs from a movie starring Aditya Pancholi were shown. I contacted him and Aditya explained the process to me. We followed it and finally when Zee TV stopped during the day Karan’s songs played between 6pm and 7pm before the channel started playing after 7pm. It became our advantage and our songs became popular.
What do you remember from your first day on the set?
Mohan Kumar gave the first applause. We started with the action in my first scene because that was our expertise and you always start with something that you are comfortable with. And there was a lot of action in Karan. This shot was shot at Mukesh Mill, and there wasn’t too much acting on the first day, so I just relaxed.
Were you nervous? How many times have you taken?
For me, it was like I was born to face the camera and I decided to do it in my childhood. I was not at all tense. So I never thought too much or thought too much. But until the time the cameraman, the combat master, and the director aren’t happy, you have to do covers. But I don’t think there were many, mostly because of me.
As I had faced a bit of a camera in my childhood, I had a knack for it. I will never check the photo. If the director accepts, I’m fine. I’m a director’s actor, a one or two take artist, not like Aamir Khan who believes in 15 takes. I don’t think I’ve ever given more than 3-4 takes in my life. I like it like that.
How was that connection with your co-stars when you got to meet them or work with them again later?
We shot in Meerut with Kiran Kumar. What happens in the story is this guy is jailed and Kiran Kumar is the jerk over there. There was a great sequence with him that we shot in a prison in Meerut. It had not opened for regular prisoners until then. There were so many other actors in Karan – Prem Chopra, Anupam Kher, Raza Murad, Ashok Saraf, Randhawa Sandjeeva, my father and others. It was a good action movie for the time. The main female role was Anita, although she and I used different names in the movie. This actor named Sanjeeva was the bad guy.
I am very close to all these people, they are like family. I don’t meet the actress so much, even catching up with Sanjeeva and Ashok Saraf doesn’t perform regularly. Rest, Raza Murad, Kiran Kumar, Anupam Kher and Prem Chopra, these four are very close to this day.
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If you are given the chance to reprise your lead role, what would you like to change or do better?
Looking back, I realize that I could have been more motivated by my career. I was enjoying life without any worries. We lived on the money of our fathers and our ancestors. You think differently if you don’t have to struggle. I never ran after anything, I forced myself to ask people to throw me. I have a long career of 25 to 30 years with everything that has happened to me. You can call me a lazy actor (laughs).
A movie or a role that inspired you to become an actor?
For star children like us, we always grow up in our film circle with filmed friends. So we grew up around Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Shakti Kapoor and Raj Babbar. We played Holi at RK Studios. I saw the filming of Bobby and Mard. We were therefore born on sets and had in mind to become an actor from childhood.
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