Bhavesh Joshi Superhero actor Priyanshu Painyuli on finally getting noticed for his role in the film

Abhishek Srivastava

Jun 09, 2018 16:19:39 IST

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero might have been a dud at the box office but it surely has succeeded in awarding a capable talent to Bollywood, which at any given point is always short of such gifts. With a performance which could only be dubbed as earnest and sincere, Priyanshu Painyuli, the real Bhavesh Joshi, has rightly been hailed by many as the breakout actor from the film.

Harshvardhan Kapoor and Priyanshu in a still from Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. YouTube

Harshvardhan Kapoor and Priyanshu Painyuli in a still from Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. YouTube

When I meet him at a popular Versova joint, he is down with stomach infection, and the peach iced tea somewhat comforts him. “The kind of response that has come out is really overwhelming. I was confident of what I had done but I was not sure that such a reaction will pour in,” says an elated Painyuli who is also somewhat disappointed at the film’s collection. So what went wrong with the film? “I was told that we guys were trying to touch the clichés but did not really go there. That I think was a risky part that we did not give people what they actually had notions about a superhero film. Also, the film was not marketed properly,” reveals a candid Priyanshu.

Reviews have been full of praise about Priyanshu’s character with generous usage of terms like 'natural', 'sizzling' and 'riveting'. Inform him that he hogged all the limelight from Harshvardhan Kapoor and he comes up with a modest reply. “I was given major lines in the film and I drive the film emotionally in the first half so I think people connected with me more.” One thing which went against the film was the very title which instilled false notions among audiences. Priyanshu reveals something startling. “'Superhero' was not supposed to be there in the title of the film. I think it was a last minute call either by the producer or the studio. When we were shooting the film, it was only called Bhavesh Joshi and not Bhavesh Joshi Superhero.”

For someone who prefers calling himself a North Indian from South India, the eight-year journey since Priyanshu set his foot in Bollywood is mostly dotted with the wait for meaty work. Though born in Dehradun, it is Bangalore that has taken care of his education since the third grade. Chucked out of the prestigious Christ Church college on account of poor attendance, an interest in digital filmmaking helped him enroll for a course at the School of Audio Engineering. “At the school, I got firsthand experience in digital film making but alongside, I also pursued my passion for theatre. It was also a time when Bangalore’s English theatre scene was slowly evolving.” The course at School of Audio Engineering helped him land up his first job at News 9, a Bangalore based English news channel, where he was assigned the task to produce a lifestyle show which involved writing scripts, covering content and anchoring the show. The next progression was political. “I made documentaries on land reforms and farmers for the then-Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Thereafter, I directed a small film for Large Short Films titled Do, Ke Teen?.

In the absence of a degree, his family cajoled him to go to Australia in order to pursue a degree in filmmaking but the lure of coming to Mumbai in order to get a first-hand exposure was bit irresistible. A deal was cut with his family whereby it was decided that he will make Mumbai as his base and the money they were planning to spend on his education would go towards paying rent. Though he failed to find assistantship with any of the A-list directors, it was Deepti Naval who proved to be his saviour. His theatre and film making background came in handy, and in no time became a sort of personal assistant to the veteran actress. Right from editing show reels to making PowerPoint presentations to assisting Deepti Naval in writing his book, he almost became indispensable.

“I joined Deepti ma’am’s team after she had finished her film Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish. At that time, she used to arrange screenings for people here and there, and we often took cans of the film to various screenings. Fortunately, her film also had actor Rajit Kapoor who managed his own theatre company. I asked him about work at his group and he informed that it was already packed but he was looking for someone who knew the technical aspects of theatre plays.” Soon, he started devoting half his day to Deepti Naval while the other half catered to the demands of Rajit Kapoor. “I used to make posters and promos for the play which was a novelty at that point of time. I was almost backhand support for both Deepti Naval and Rajit Kapoor, and they eventually became my mentors.”

But it was the musical show with choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant which, apart from earning financial stability, also helped him explore the globe. Taj Express, the Bollywood musical which also featured Pulkit Samrat, Pallavi Sharda and Joy Sengupta, witnessed close to 130 shows spread across Asia, Africa and Europe. France alone witnessed 40 shows. “The two years when I did Taj Express were the best phase of my life. I performed five characters in the musical and did close to 130 shows but because of my long stay abroad, it also meant that I was losing work in Mumbai. Whenever any director wanted to meet me, I was just not there in the city.”

For someone who also resorted to two-bit roles in the initial phase of his career alongside MS Dhoni for a Pepsi commercial just to sustain himself in the city, Painyuli is in no hurry. According to him, the choices of an actor are very important. A die-hard fan of Martin Scorsese, Painyuli is yet to sign a film. “I am hoping something comes along," he says. And we sincerely hope directors have taken note of this bundle of talent.

Updated Date: Jun 09, 2018 16:19:39 IST