I was a shy kid. The introvert, studious kind of shy kid. I belonged to a family of doctors and I was inspired to take up the same profession. I had already decided on what I wanted to do. But a simple competition spun my world around.
I liked singing, but to make it my first priority was something I had never envisioned. I had been forced to sign up for a singing competition and as luck would have it, I was running a 102-degree fever on the day. I stood backstage shaking with nerves seconds before I got called on stage. But as soon as I stood in front of the mike I don’t know what came over me. It could have been a momentary adrenaline rush or a fever induced push, but I belted my heart out to a Lady Gaga track. I won that competition. In fact, my Mom and Dad sat me down after this to discuss whether music could be an actual career choice for me.
I would have liked it to be sooner, but I met theatre five years ago. I was still trying to make a place for myself in the music field when a friend told me to go audition for an original musical being produced by the NCPA called Gandhi The Musical. That’s it. That was my first step into the word of musicals and I haven’t looked back since. It was love at first sight. The singing was obviously the first pull, but it was the stage, the spotlight, the people – basically everything it had to offer and then some more, that made me stay.
One thing led to another and I gratefully got my next project The Sound of Music. It was through the vocal coach of The Sound of Music that I got to be a part Aadyam’s Sing India Sing. And then through the choreographer of Sing India Sing I got the chance to become a part of Disney’s Aladdin. Whenever I tell someone that I act in musicals, their reply is ‘oh that must be tough. The competition must be cut throat’. But I think I’ve been blessed, because everyone I’ve met on this journey has been so welcoming and encouraging. Be it the director, the actors, the dancers or the backstage crew, everyone believes in building each other up and putting on a stellar show.
The team on a musical is huge, but you never feel left out. I’ve had the chance to be in four musicals now and I proudly say I have four families that I’m a part of. Every show has been different. Every stage has been different. But my favourite part, something that has been consistent in all the musicals I’ve done, is the prayer circle we do right before a show starts. The entire cast, no matter how big, gets together and shares their energy. We literally become one being. And the kind of vibe that is created always reminds you of why you are doing what you’re doing. We had a show on the 1st of January and I remember we were originally feeling blue about it. But then, during the prayer circle, someone mentioned how lucky we were to start the year by doing something that we all absolutely love and respect. And there was no denying that.
I truly have been lucky to get constant support from my family to work for what I love. Its magic when work doesn’t feel like work, it just feels like home.