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Kabir Singh: I will not forget my experience of shooting for the massive film Kabir Singh, which has got a great star cast, good production unit and a wonderful directorial team. Everybody worked hard during the film and I got to learn a lot. It was a great learning experience to watch Shahid Kapoor perform with intensity as well as other co-stars too, such as Kiara Advani, Swati Seth and Anusha Sampath. I feel great about the whole experience and the success of Kabir Singh is well deserved.

Hum: I played a character called Gaurav Gill in the ALT Balaji web serial Hum – I’m Because Of Us. It was a great experience shooting with my co-actors and director Partho (Mitra) sir, who is a very articulate man and gave me excellent feedback. It was another great experience, where I got to learn a lot, like how the camera is used.

Ragini MMS Returns 2: This was my first experience in the webspace and will remain close to me in every aspect. Whether you have a smaller supporting role like in this or something more substantial like in Kabir Singh or Hum, each experience teaches you something. I have more to learn and experience in this life.

Miss Calculation: This short film I worked on is based on the concept of cancer awareness, so if you all get a chance to watch it, please do. The message is very nice. It is about quitting tobacco and spending that money on the future of your child. I also dubbed for it, which was also a learning experience as it is where you re-live the moment. I also dubbed for Kabir Singh.

Grim Reaper: I have done a short film recently called Grim Reaper and it’s a work in progress. I watched its first-cut trailer, and it will be out at festivals. It is an intense movie with a good background score. I am doing another short film soon, which has
a fun script and am looking forward to it.

Advert: I have done adverts including with GKB Opticals, which gave me a lot of exposure. The hoardings with my picture have been put up across the country along with giving goodies and posters. I have been fortunate enough to do other adverts for big brands. When I left a stable job to pursue this career, I thought of achieving these things, but never thought of how I would do it. It was a very happy moment for me.

Family support: A big moment for any actor is getting that family support and unconditional love from those who believe in your dreams. When I told my parents I have to go to Mumbai and give myself some time to see how I fare, they agreed, even though I don’t have an industry background. My mom is very artistic and spiritual, which is beautiful and keeps us grounded. She told me that I would become an actor. I have a long way to go, but I am happy with where I am right now and moving forward with my parent’s blessings.

Inspirations: Great moments for an actor are seeing others do excellent work and getting inspired in some way. One of my favourites is Ranveer Singh and I aspire to be as versatile as him. He is diverse in the way he works and the roles he performs, which come naturally to him. Another big inspiration in my life has been music. I enrolled myself in the Suresh Wadkar’s music institute in Dubai to learn Hindustani classical music for five-six months, which has helped my breathing when performing.

Moving to Mumbai: A lot of actors come to Mumbai at an early age because they know the competition is so hard, but I had created a comfortable space in Dubai as a 27-year-old and then decided to take that leap towards my dreams. When I came to Mumbai, I didn’t know a lot of people from the acting space and it took time to understand the city. When the city and I accepted each other, doors started to slowly open for me and my hard work helped me to move towards my dreams.

The first shot: Last, I would like to tell you about the time in Dubai in 2013, when I faced the camera for the first time wearing an Indian Sherwani for a designer and walking the ramp. I don’t know what made me say yes, but I did and it broke my inhibition of being in front of the audience. Making a video on the phone, performing at home or singing in the bathroom are different things, but when you perform in front of people then it’s quite a deal and I salute the people who pull it off whether it is on television, movies, web series or anything else.

Kunal Thakur is an actor, who recently starred in this year’s highest-grossing film so far, Kabir Singh