Vikas Kumar: The Bihari who teaches nuances of English-Hindi to who's who of film industry

The series will start streaming from February 9.The actor said his character is restless, eager and, in fact, desperate to catch Aarya.In season one, Khan tried to discourage her from getting into the drug business.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 08-02-2024 16:13 IST | Created: 08-02-2024 16:04 IST
Vikas Kumar: The Bihari who teaches nuances of English-Hindi to who's who of film industry
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''Is he from the South or West Bengal? Or, is he a Christian?'' These are some of the questions actor and dialect coach Vikas Kumar says he is often faced with when people try to gauge where he hails from.

Some are even surprised when they find out that the actor, known for ''CID'', ''Hamid'', and now Disney+ Hotstar's ''Aarya Antim Vaar'', has roots in Bihar.

Gaya-born Kumar is a proud Bihari, who grew up in and around Bihar Sharif and studied at Welham Boys' School, a boarding school based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.

''People get surprised when they get to know that I hail from Bihar. This has happened a lot that people keep guessing. Some think I'm from the South, perhaps looking at my complexion. Some think I'm from Bengal or am a Christian. When they get to know I'm from Bihar, they are like 'Arrey!' ''I don't know whether I should take it as a compliment or not because they don't see Bihar in a good light or don't expect all of this from Bihar and are giving a backhanded compliment to me,'' Kumar told PTI in an interview.

The actor, who has trained some of the biggest names in the film industry as a dialogue coach, said he grew up as a diligent student with an interest towards languages. ''People from Bihar and UP may speak in a different accent as there is an influence of the mother tongue no matter where you go. But if you have a grasp on a language, which may be weaker in, say parts of Mumbai, it's beneficial for you. I was always inclined towards studying and speaking well,'' Kumar said.

The actor's first project as a dialogue coach was the 2006 Hollywood film ''One Night With The King'', directed by Michael O Sajbel. Starring Peter O'Toole, Tiffany Dupont, John Rhys-Davies, and Luke Goss in the lead, the movie was shot entirely in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

When an international film is shot in India, the production hires a lot of local actors, he said, adding the brief was to ''speak English well'' without an Indian accent.

''It was my first assignment as a dialogue coach, I don't know how I did it. There were many stalwarts like Amar Talwar or senior actors like Alyy Khan. Some had even done theatre from the UK's 'Royal Academy of Dramatic Art' (RADA). One of them even said in jest, 'So, now we will have to learn English from a Bihari!''' Kumar recalled.

He has worked as a dialect teacher for Vidya Balan in ''Ishqiya'', Prithviraj Sukumaran in ''Salaar: Part One - Ceasefire'', as well as a dialogue coach for Katrina Kaif in ''Merry Christmas'' and ''Tiger 3'', among several others.

People who know him in Bihar also wonder how he has such a grasp on Magahi dialect despite being away from the state for such a long time.

''I am the best when it comes to following the Magahi dialect there. Even when I go to the village, they are surprised. Maybe there was an ability to stay grounded and to try and absorb these different things which, in some invisible ways, are helping me in my acting and dialogue coaching.'' When he goes to small towns, people call him 'CID' or Rajat, his character's name on the popular TV show. In the last two-three years, ''Aarya'' became a big hit and so did his part of ACP Khan.

''People have appreciated the character a lot. The first part of season three premiered a few months ago. Just before that 'Kaala Paani' had come out (on Netflix). That also did well and people liked my character (Santosh). In that way, numbers do increase. ''People compliment me at the airports, for 'Aarya', and also for 'Kaala Paani'. Sometimes they come up and tell me, 'I've seen you somewhere, but where?''' In ''Aarya Antim Vaar'', Kumar reprises his role of ACP Khan, the upright cop who is focused on catching Sushmita Sen's drug lord Aarya and putting her behind the bars. The series will start streaming from February 9.

The actor said his character is ''restless, eager and, in fact, desperate to catch Aarya''.

''In season one, Khan tried to discourage her from getting into the drug business. In season two, she ditched him in the courtroom. Since then, he has been trying to figure out what Aarya has been up to.

''As the season ended, he realised she had become a don. In season three, she is a full-fledged don. Now, his sole purpose is to catch hold of Aarya. Khan is someone who has been walking in a straight line since season one with the aim of wiping out drug menace from Rajasthan,'' he added. Next up for Kumar is ''Uljhan'', a Lucknow-based story of an upper-caste family which also stars Saloni Batra of ''Soni'' fame.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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