Didn’t I tell you that I always wanted to be an actor? From my college days, I had this fascination. My silly assumption was that the actors in the film write the dialogues and plan the scenes! So, I was in pursuit of acting in a short film. I tried meeting people from the industry and everyone would ask me for a portfolio. Back then, all I had was a few amateur photos and I would hand that over. I did not have a clue that they were amateur. They were pictures taken at my college fests. Not a single person responded and even when I tried to follow up, I was never told the reason for my rejection. I guess they must have had a good laugh at my pictures.
Then, one day I met Mr.Girish Kasaravalli. He had called for auditions for his film Nayi Neralu. My college P.T. master Mr.Mohan knew him and took me to introduce him to me. Mr.Kasaravalli looked straight at me and in a single glance told me on my face that I won’t suit the part. Strangely, I felt good that at least someone responded! Before leaving, I asked him if I should get a portfolio done. He smiled at me and told me that he is never the one to go by portfolios. Still, he said, if you need one, ask your friends to click a few pictures, that’ll suffice.
My friend and I turned my room into a studio, used a white bed sheet for the background and clicked pictures on my digital camera. I had a working knowledge of video and photo editing. I used Photoshop and modified the backgrounds. That’s how we got our first portfolios done. The next step was to print the pictures, because, back then, we didn’t have Whatsapp. The guy at the printing shop asked me for my name. It was then that it struck me how people had difficulty pronouncing my name correctly. They would call me either Srivastav or Srinivas or Srivasta! Aargh! I decided to rectify that then and there. I decided to prefix my name with another name. I happened to look at a poster of Puneeth Rajkumar’s film Akash at that time. Bingo! Akash! It was easy to spell and remember too. I told the designer to print AKASH SRIVATSA.
After that, I did circulate my photos to quite a few people. The responses this time were better. But it was not what I expected. ‘You look like this hero’, ‘you look like that hero’! So that was it? Wasn’t my face original? Anyway, I had a dawning realization that this wasn’t going anywhere. I had almost decided to quit. As a final attempt, I put up my photos on Orkut. After a month, I got a message – “Would you want to act in my short film?”
In the Next column: My 1st short film experience as an actor – BIRUKU
CUT TO THE CLIMAX: Akash Srivatsa’s debuted as an actor in 2006 .