“I’m a very proud Bedi,” says actor Angad Bedi — son of former Indian cricket captain Bishan Singh Bedi — who says having a certain surname alone can’t take a person anywhere. It takes talent, hard work and luck in equal measure if one is to climb the ladder.
Nepotism was a popular word in Bollywood last year, what with the debate that actress Kangana Ranaut sparked by calling filmmaker Karan Johar a “flagbearer of nepotism”.
Asked if his surname has helped him, Angad, whose latest release is Tiger Zinda Hai, told IANS: “Not at all. A surname can never take you anywhere. It’s your talent and potential that take you places. But, yes, I am a very proud Bedi and I am very proud to be born to Bishan Singh Bedi, who has done our country proud for 20 years.
“Just to be his son is an achievement in its own way, but I wanted my father to be proud of his son, and he was when he saw Pink. He is liking the choice of work I am doing. Let’s see where I go from here.”
Angad worked on the small screen as host of Extraaa Innings T20 in 2010, and hosted Cook Na Kaho as well as participated in Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi (Season 3).
It was Shoojit Sircar’s production Pink, which saw him play the misogynistic Rajveer Singh, that changed the course of his career, landing him a chance in projects like Inside Edge and Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer Tiger Zinda Hai.
“Tukke lag rahe hain bas (It’s all a fluke). Yes, I worked quite hard to be in a position where I can be part of such deserving films, but I would also say that when you put in hard work, even luck plays an important role. But I believe you can’t be lucky without working hard. So it works both ways.
“Pink… got me noticed and I got a lot of visibility; Ali Abbas Zafar saw Pink and that’s how I got Tiger Zinda Hai, and while I got ‘Tiger…’, I also got ‘Inside Edge’, and Shaad Ali saw me in ‘Inside Edge’ and called me and put me in Soorma.”
The effect of Ungli was reverse.
“After Ungli, nobody wanted to work with me… Nobody signed me for two-and-a-half or three years. But Shoojit da saw me at an awards ceremony and that’s where I got found,” he said.
Reflecting on his journey, he pointed to a “simple thumb rule” of the industry.
“If the film works, everybody works (with you). If it doesn’t, nobody works (with you). ‘Ungli’ was a great film on paper, was backed by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, directed by Rensil D’Silva who made Kurbaan, but it didn’t work. Sometimes, timings don’t work, so things don’t work out.
“There was Emraan Hashmi, Randeep Hooda, Kangana Ranaut, Sanjay Dutt, Neha Dhupia… It was a great cast, but the film just didn’t materialise. Everyone has their day,” Angad said.
Actors come in phases, he said, adding: “In 2016, it was Sushant Singh Rajput all the way with MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, in 2017, everyone was talking about Rajkummar Rao… Hopefully, in the new year, if people talk about me in the same light as how they talk about Rajkummar, I will feel I have achieved something.”
As far as Tiger Zinda Hai is concerned, he hopes it has exposed him to the audience and market that a Salman movie commands.
Angad’s next movie is Soorma with Diljit Dosanjh. It is a biopic based on the hockey legend Sandeep Singh.
What has been his biggest challenge in Bollywood?
“To convince people that I can work in their films, give me a break, give me a chance and instill faith in me. It so happens that you wait, wait and wait, and then someone takes a punt on you and everything changes.”