From Hindi GECs to the ad-circuit to film noir - the actor talks about seamless transitions.
In the pre-social media era, actors were often 'spotted' the old-fashioned way by talent scouts - in restaurants and at bus stops, perhaps. This is what happened to actor Vikrant Massey who was barely 16 years when he was scouted by a television producer, when waiting in queue at a restaurant washroom. Even at that age, Massey was a responsible teen, who alongside his college hours, worked as an instructor at a special branch of choreographer Shaimak Davar's institute, teaching children of sex workers mostly, to dance.
That particular show never made it on air, but it did lead to a Disney show called 'Dhoom Machao Dhoom', eventually followed by the title character in NDTV Imagine's 'Dharam Veer' in 2007. Then came the big one-his role as 'Shyam Madan Singh' in Colors' Balika Vadhu - a 2-month cameo that extended to 2 years. Massey says, "During Balika, I finally stopped travelling by train and bought my first car".
How does he feel about sharing space with 'stars'? "Screen space doesn't even occur as a thought because in television, you have 10 actors in one scene. That teaches you to not waste time and do your bit well," he says nonchalantly. It's a skill that probably helped him in his role as as 'Rana' alongside the ensemble cast in the 2015 film, Dil Dhadakne Do.
Speaking further about working in ad films, Massey explains, "You need to get it right in 30 secs. Now, with social media you may have 75 seconds, but every second counts. And you need to reach out to folks to sell the product, not yourself."
Hindi GEC to ad circuit to 'real' films - a crossover of sensibilities? Massey replies, "You understand who and what you are catering to. Though the same audience that watches ads, watches content at home and watches movies at the theatre, for an actor, there are different structures attached to theatre, films, ads and dance - and you prioritise that particular mindset.
However, he adds, "The worst thing to do is bracket actors - TV actor, film actor, theatre actor or Ramleela actor. Why label? The finest of actors have been doing all these mediums."
This year, with films like Lipstick under My Burkha and Konkona Sensharma's directorial debut Death in the Gunj, also winning him praise, Massey seems to be on the right track.