You might have seen him on television hosting a number of shows. Also an actor on the small screen, Salil Acharya has come a long way. Making his debut in Mohit Suri's Awarapan, Salil spoke to us in an exclusive interview.
When did you know that you wanted to get into the entertainment business?
I don't know. Being a RJ was something that I started off with even though I was not professionally trained and that's how I came to Bombay and then one thing just led to another. In a way it was a good learning process for me, because I used to interview lot of film actors. Through these interviews I learnt that there are certain norms of this film industry which you have to abide by if you got to survive here. I switched a lot of jobs from doing radio journalism to going to events and taking interviews, to editing interviews. I never used to watch Hindi films, but eventually I started watching Hindi films. Later I also had a film critic show on Radio Mirchi. Slowly, I got to understand what Bollywood was all about. I never wanted to become one of the many RJs. I never stopped working on my body building. I used to spend good money on my health, mainly food. Then I participated in a contest on AXN and I won that contest. I used to do a show called AXN extreme Dhamaka. B4U was looking for a VJ who had a good sense of humor even though my good sense of humor does not come across now, but at that time I had a good sense of humor. That's how I took up as a VJ and I enjoyed being a VJ. I also did a few serials but that was purely to earn some quick bucks. I thought if I have to live in Bombay and live comfortably, afford a decent flat, at least have a car then I will have to earn enough. So I calculated that I would earn an X amount in VJing, an X amount in voicing and an X amount by acting in TV. I used to almost work for 20 hrs a day for those three years. I used to work so hard that I did not even go for my real sister's wedding in America. I went home after two years that too only for two days. I made many sacrifices because I had this obsession for achieving success. People around me used to tell me that I am not focused in life, that I should not be doing so many things at the same time, but I told them why not:? There are people who do MBA, CA, college all together, so what if I had this special ability to be a VJ, a TV actor&a voice artist. I had done economics honors and started MBA also. Multitasking was in my blood. Then Vishesh films happened to me, but I had learnt everything which I had to prior to getting this film offer obviously not about acting but how to be mentally prepared. In that sense I was at least not raw with the business of Bollywood.
Did you always want to become an actor?
No, I never have pre-set notions that I want to be film actor categorically. You know when you come to this city every person has this ultimate dream of working in a Yash Raj film or a Karan Johar film the moment you have stepped in Bombay, but in reality this does not happen. I was always clear about one thing; that I do not want to while away my time like any other struggler who lives on wada pav and survives in this city. I was always a performer, I had to keep myself alive, so it did not matter to me in which medium of entertainment I was working, as long as it gave me money and creative satisfaction. I did not want to work in one film and then have a long gap then tell people that I am being choosy. My biggest complain about TV actors doing films is that TV actors are portrayed as TV ACTORS. I have not seen any of my generation actors doing meaningful roles; of course there have been many senior TV actors who have done good work in films also. Therefore when I was offered my first film Awarapan my only request was that I should not be portrayed as a TV actor, and I am happy with the way my role has shaped out. It is one of the lead roles in the film.