An Actor, A Chef and A lyricists from Imphal, Manipur who is making his Bollywood .He has been living in Mumbai for a decade and The Northeast Window had the privilege to hear from him, a story on making big in the showbiz industry, not many can make a living in the “City of Dream” Mumbai which many have tired and had failed to do so. Coming from a small town and from Northeast India who had proved himself where he belong and will be an inspiration.
Tell us something about yourself?
~ My name is Bijou Thaangjam, a small town boy from Manipur, chasing my big dream in Mumbai. I am an Actor by profession. A little bit goofy with a dark sense of humor. A tiny fry trying to make a name in this big ocean of Showbiz world.
Where have you done your studies and how was your childhood like?
~ I finished my High School from DAV Public School, Imphal and completed my Graduation from Bangalore University.
My childhood was pretty much like any other kids from Manipur, a simple and innocent life. Spent most of the time chasing over butterflies, running around the paddy fields and sneaking out with friends to go swimming and fishing in river. Also I was very much inclined into arts and culture.
Being an actor in Bollywood what were the challenges you have to face since coming from northeast India?
~ Choosing to be an actor is itself a challenge. Leaving behind my comforts and stepping out of it, knocking every production houses for auditions, to slogging of finding work/ gigs. Being a Northeastern adds on more challenges than any other regular person. From the Oriental features to the language skills. I need to put more efforts and work harder than my counterfeit. I am not always fit for every auditions. There are only tailor made roles and characters for Northeastern actors.
When did you start acting and what was your first movie?
~ While growing up, I was the ‘Dramebaaz’ kid in family, always performing for the local events, drama and others. But later in 2012, I decided to take Acting as my full time profession and the film Mary Kom happened. It was my first film. I got associated with the film Mary Kom for over 2 years, not just an actor but also as a Manipuri Language Consultant and a Lyricist. This film will hold a special place in me and my life.
Tell us about the works you’ve done so far?
~ I have done near about 7 films ( like Mary Kom, Shivaay, Jagga Jasoos, III Smoking Barrels and others ), 2 webseries (Like AltBalaji Original ‘The Test Case’ and DailyHunt Original ‘Need To Know’) and more than 50 TV commercials and Advertisement.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
~ Do not be naive, be curious and don’t be shy. Trust yourself more and never let any bullies back you down your moral and self esteem. You are wonderful and Unique. Love to embrace that.
Name one character which has been the most challenging and difficult for you?
~ Playing ‘Kancha’ in the film Shivaay has to be the most challenging and difficult for me. ‘Kancha’ is a 16 years old boy who behave like a 9 years old kid, and I was 30. It was tough to act like a small kid without making it look like a caricature. I had to undergo not only physical and appearance changes but had to work on my body language and behaviours, to look like a kid.
You’ve worked with big names like Priyanka Chopra in Mary Kom and Ajay Devgn in Shivaay what have you learn from this big superstar?
~ All these stars have one common in them, persistent and discipline. I have learned to be curious and not to shy away asking any questions related to the character or any technical doubts. And also the most important lesson I learned from them is, to be grounded and humble.
How is your movie set look like?
~ ‘Chaos, exhausting and exhilarating but worth it’. Days are long- typically 12-14 hours for actors and you may be called several hours before you are needed. Then comes the waiting. Waiting for the director’s brief, for the make-up and Costume and for the camera and lights to set up. Then comes more waiting until your shot and more for next shots.
The on-set acting is just a tiny proportion of the day but is intense and the actor must be in extremely creative and vulnerable state.
Being patient is the main ingredient to be on set.
What are your upcoming projects?
~ There are few films and Webseries coming out soon. I have completed shooting for 5 films and 2 web-Series – One for Netflix and another for ErosNow, which will get released later part of this year. Currently busy in prepping up for the next project which is starting in June end.
Highlights some dos’ and don’ts for aspiring actors coming from Northeast India?
~ There are not such any rules and regulations, like Dos or Don’ts, but what I can say is, Never forget where you come from , be proud of your Ethnicity and your roots. Make use of it but never let your ego to pull you down to learn something new. Communication skill plays a very important role in this profession, so work harder on this part. And also do not try to blend in the way mainland actors are, be proud of what you are and how you look, but focus more on the crafts, skills and create your own uniqueness. This will lead you to great height.
You’ve been staying away from home Manipur for quite a long time, do you feel homesick or what do you missed the most about your place?
~ Yes, I have been staying away from home for quite a while now, but honestly, I feel it was just yesterday that I left home.
There is something about Northeast that you cannot take that away from you. The people, the food, the culture, or just the place and the air itself, are quite different. Something I don’t get it quite often and dearly wants it from heart.
Message to the youths of Northeast?
~ Northeast is synonymous to Talent. It’s the mitochondria, the power house of Talents. We often take it for granted as it is easily available and we lack of polishing and nurturing too. If you start loving yourselves and focusing on more into the vocational way of living, by creating and working on yourself than getting influenced by others, we will, sooner or later, the world will sing the song of Northeast, for its people and their abilities.
Stay true, stay Unique.
Quick 5 questions
- Things you always carry with you?
~ Mouth Freshener
- Favorite food?
~ Soibum Eromba
- Favorite book and author?
~ ‘The Book Theif’ by Markus Zusak is my Favorite Book and Paulo Coelho is my favorite Author.
- Best holiday destination?
~ Any day – anytime getting lost in the wilderness of Himalayas. I just love the fresh air, the trees, the fresh water streams, the birds and long trekking.
- Favorite actor in Bollywood and Hollywood?
~ I have quite a few- Al Pacino, Daniel Day-Lewis, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Irrfan Khan, Shabana Azmi, Kalki Koechlin are some few.