Thursday, July 11, 2024

Worked as a cotton seller in 9th class: Was addicted to cigarettes and gutkha at an early age; 'Vinod' Ashok Pathak did not want to do Panchayat series

1 hour agoAuthors: Arunima Shukla and Virendra Mishra

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Vinod is watching….

Vinod's character became popular in every household on a large scale due to this small dialogue in the series Panchayat. Ashok Pathak, who played the character of Vinod, was not aware of this. He did not even want to work in this series.

Ashok, born in Haryana, was not interested in studies. He started earning from an early age. He also got into such bad company that he became addicted to cigarettes and gutkha.

While doing his graduation, Ashok was introduced to acting and then he could never keep himself away from acting.

In this episode of Struggle Story, read the struggle story of Ashok Pathak who played the role of Vinod in Panchayat.

Childhood was spent in poverty
Talking about his family, Ashok said, 'I am originally from Bihar. My father had a big family, but there was no source of income in Bihar. So my father came to Faridabad in Haryana in search of work. I was born here.

Father used to work as a fireman (one who throws coal into the furnace). There were many people in the family, but their income was very low. After this he got the job of a boiler attendant, but his income did not increase much.

Ever since I was conscious, I saw my father struggling. I knew that I would not be able to study because I was not interested in it, so I decided to earn from an early age. However, my mother and father wanted me to study. I was beaten many times for not studying. Even the school authorities were upset with me.

He was addicted to drugs and used to sell cotton at one time
'There is a child in the village or city from whom parents advise their children to stay away. In my area, I was that child from whom other children were advised to stay away. Actually, I did not study, but wanted to share the responsibilities of the house with my father. This was the reason that I never became friends with boys of my age. I used to hang out with people older than me. In this way, I came in the company of some bad people and got addicted to cigarettes and gutkha. My family members were tired of my antics. Fed up, they left me on my own.

At this time I had started doing small jobs. In the 9th class I worked as a cotton seller. I used to cycle 20-20 kilometres every day to sell cotton. Then somehow I passed the 10th class. After this I worked in a slipper factory and also did painting.

After some time, father moved to Hisar with the whole family. There, father got a job in Jindal company, due to which the financial condition of the house improved a bit, but I stayed in Faridabad on the pretext of job. However, after some time I started having problems with food and drink. So that I do not have to stay hungry for many days, I told father that I have to study further and live with the same people. After this, I studied 11th and 12th in Hisar.

Ashok with parents, brother and sister in one frame.

Ashok with parents, brother and sister in one frame.

Ashok was heartbroken when he did not get admission in NSD
Ashok started doing theatre while doing his graduation. After doing 1-2 plays, he got so attached to theatre that he decided to become an actor. Regarding this, Ashok said, 'I never wanted to do graduation. A friend said- College life is very beautiful, you should definitely go.

He showed me so many dreams that after a lot of struggle I was able to get admission in a college. While studying here, I was introduced to theatre. I participated in the youth festival, in which I got the Best Actor award. After getting completely involved in theatre, I wanted to learn the tricks of acting from NSD. I could not go to a private institute because I was not financially strong. I gave the entrance exam of NSD for the first time in 2006, but could not clear it.

There are wins and losses in life, but this rejection broke me a lot. I cried a lot, I was in a state of depression. I got a lot of support from my father in this condition. Earlier he did not talk openly. Then he told me- Don't worry Babu. I will arrange the money, you go to Mumbai.

I did not want to go to Mumbai. I wanted to make my future in NSD. After rejecting my father's offer, I worked with him in Jindal company for a year. After 1 year, I again applied for NSD, but this time too I was disappointed.

After losing twice, I accepted that becoming an actor was not written in my destiny. I decided to give up this dream and take up some other job. Then I came to know about Bharatendu Natya Academy. I took admission here after giving the entrance exam in 2007.

'After completing a course from Bharatendu Natya Academy, I decided to come to Mumbai. At that time I did not have enough money to come here. I could not even take money from my father. Then I got a show for which I was paid 40 thousand rupees for directing. It was through that money that I came to Mumbai.

It had been only 5 days since I came here and I got work after giving my first audition. My first job was in Sony Max channel. I got 2500 rupees for my work here. Then after a few days I got work in Domino's ad, for which I was paid 70 thousand rupees. When I got the call for Domino's ad, I thought a friend was joking. I could not believe that I had got an offer for such a big work.

At that time, there was so much money in my account, which I had never seen in my entire life, nor had I ever thought that I would be able to earn so much money.

It had been only 7 months since I came to Mumbai when I got work in the film Bittu Boss. I played the role of a driver in it, but my screen time was very long.

After working in this film, I felt that everything was settled now. My future life would be wonderful, but even after this, I faced a setback. The film Bittu Boss flopped at the box office. I went back to where I had started.

I stopped getting offers for good roles. I was only offered driver's roles. By 2014, there was a shortage of work. Then I turned to Punjabi cinema. The people there accepted me. I worked in Punjabi cinema from 2016 to 2020, due to which there was no problem of food and drink in my house.

I have worked in films and series like Sacred Games, 72 Hooray, Rangbaaz and Fukrey Returns, but the recognition I was craving for, I have got from the Panchayat series.

Ashok did not want to work in the Panchayat
On being a part of the Panchayat series, Ashok said, 'After watching the first part, I became a fan of the series and its star cast. I wanted to watch the next part of the series as a viewer. But fate had something else in store.

When I got a call to audition for the role of Vinod in the second season, I was in a dilemma. I had done many such roles before. That is why I did not want to do this character. I had 1-2 acquaintances in the casting team of the series, who insisted a lot for me to give the audition. Finally I had to give the audition. Everyone liked my work very much and this is how I became a part of the series.

Ashok told that he had auditioned for these two scenes, on the basis of which he was selected.

Ashok told that he had auditioned for these two scenes, on the basis of which he was selected.

Ashok further said, 'I had no idea that my small role in the series would leave such a deep impact on people, but as the series was streamed, a lot of messages and calls started coming from people. My small role became popular on a big level. I also got emotional seeing the immense love of the people.

There was a time when people around the house used to make fun of me becoming an actor. They used to say- Ashok, neither do you look good, nor do you have a body, how will you become an actor. Today, the same people respect me after seeing my success and say- we knew that you will do better work.

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