I was sitting on the couch at my place in Andheri. It was 3 in the afternoon and I realized that my life had returned to being pretty much the same as it was before I shot for 2 states. Most part of my day was being spent just lying around doing nothing. This bothered me because I had always believed that no matter what we do, we should try to build an upward graph otherwise all your previous work goes wasted. However, I was suddenly feeling reluctant to go hunting for auditions. I dreaded hearing the “Not fit” that I usually heard almost every time I walked in for an audition that I wasn’t called for. I felt very uncomfortable with the thought of going back in those huge crowds of aspiring actors who flock audition studio doors waiting for their turn. And there are always some smart asses who jump their turn in the cue-sheet and end up getting in ahead of the others. I asked myself if I was getting complacent after doing a Dharma film. But that was certainly not the case as I clearly knew that my role is 2 States wasn’t big enough for me to even relax thinking that I have done a big banner film. It was more like the role of a background artist. Then what was stopping me from getting back out there? It was FEAR. The fear of getting back into the world of auditions, meetings and the so-called “struggle” which always made me think that I was a misfit there. I had loved every bit of the shooting process though. Being on set, acting in a film, rehearsing my part and playing it in front of the camera… was every bit as cool as I had imagined it to be. I had brushed shoulders with Arjun and Alia.. had little conversations with Remo and Binod Pradhan. Now, getting back into the crowd where I was a nobody and the urge to crack it again to be on a similar set-up was frightening me. It was making me extremely nervous. It took me a while to tell myself that life moves on. I should be prepared to even think that the Dharma gig was a fluke and I might not work with a big banner again. Does that mean I will stop acting? No! Does that mean that I will put my acting life on hold till I get a call again from Dharma or Yash Raj or any of such big names? Of course not! And not just me, even the biggest of stars don’t do just big banner work. Everybody from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, from Madhuri Dixit to Vidya Balan, from Paresh Rawal to Anupam Kher… EVERYBODY has worked in all kinds of films made by all kinds of banners. So who am I? With that in mind, I started looking for auditions again. However, before I could go hunting for an audition, it found me. I got a call from my friend Manoj Kirdat, who was my ex-roomie. He was assisting in a small-budget film which was to cast all new actors. He told me it was being directed by Sunil Subramani, who has been Anurag Basu’s assistant for many years. He asked me if I would be interested to audition for it. I immediately said Yes. I was called to the Santacruz office of Mahima Productions for an audition. Manoj met me there and gave me a brief of 2 characters. AD Avinash then auditioned me for both the characters – one a chawl hooligan and the other an office guy – both were to be the protagonist’s friends. My auditions were recorded and I was told someone will get back to me. A few days later I got a call from Sikander bhai from the production department informing me that I was selected for the chawl guy Pakya’s role. I then had a meeting with the director, Sunil, to discuss my character and look and in about a week’s time, we were shooting my first scene. The film was to be called ‘Fuddu’.