Telugu cinema’s leading man Harshvardhan Rane is all set for a new innings in Bollywood with his Hindi release Sanam Teri Kasam this coming friday.
It’s been a long hard struggle for Harsvardhan. At the age of 16 he ran away from his home in Gwalior with just a 100 rupees in his pocket.
“I wanted to escape the drudgery of a small town existence. Any escape to any place bigger than Gwalior was fine. I took the first train out to Delhi because that was the only fare I could afford,” recalls Harshvardhan.
Once in Delhi, Harshvardhan’s concern was his next meal, “I started working in an STD phone booth where I had to note down all the numbers that were dialed -–this was post 9/11 when security was a looming issue. I got Rs 10 per day for my work. Soon after, a benefactor offered me a job in a cyber café down the road for Rs 20.”
Mumbai was always on Harshvardhan’s mind. He says, “From the time I was a child I wanted to be an actor. In Mumbai, I got a job distributing DVDs. I thought this was a great opportunity for me to network with important people.”
Soon Harshvardhan landed with his first acting assignment on a television serial called Left Right Left.
“I thought it was a great opportunity since Shah Rukh Khan too had started with television, in a serial about the army. I thought I was following his footprints. In fact I learnt acting in Delhi from Barry John, who also taught Shah Rukh Khan,” recalls the actor.
Harshvardhan soon realised television was not where he wanted to be. He wanted to see himself on the big screen. Next stop for this adventurous actor was Hyderabad where his first film Thakita Thakita happened without much effort.
And now when Harshvardhan is poised for his Bollywood innings, he looks back at his adventurous life so far as nothing but a series of chance opportunities provided by fate.
“I’ve seen the best and worst of times. My parents were divorced when I was a child. I was brought up by my father. I fled my home town and did odd jobs including re-designing old furniture before I became an actor. But I don’t think my life-story is in any way remarkable. What is remarkable is how acting opportunities have come my way,” he reveals.
When Harshvardhan approached co-directors Vinay Sapru and Radhika Rao for the lead in Sanam Teri Kasam the role was already taken up.
“Radhika Rao ji and Vinay Sapru ji very clearly told me they had signed someone else for the role. Very stubbornly I insisted this was my role and my film. Just to humour me they were kind enough to take my screen test,” recalls Harshvardhan. The rest, as they say, is history.
After seeing his screen test the directorial duo decided Harshvardhan was the right actor for the part. He can’t believe his luck at having wangled such a powerful role.
“I’ve modeled my character in Sanam Teri Kasam on my father who is stern on the outside but all heart inside. I couldn’t be any luckier than this. And more so to have the very beautiful Mowra Hocane as my co-star. For a guy who comes from Gwalior to be able to work with someone so beautiful and classy, is like a dream. I guess I am living out my most precious ambitions," he says.
Harsh is all praise for the directorial debut, “When I was in a relationship—the only relationship that I’ve been in so far—I used to woo my girl with the songs choreographed by Vinayji and Radhikaji. And now, to be directed by them, is just.. wow!”
Harshvardhan is already on to his next assignment, a Hindi adaptation of his Telugu hit Maaya, which Mahesh Bhatt will produce. The young actor is looking at a simultaneous career in Hindi and Telugu.
Sanam Tero Kasam releases on 5 February