My first ad was with Ranbir Kapoor for Pepsi: Priyansh Jora

Priyansh Jora might be playing a ‘Nikhatoo’ (loser) in Star Plus show ‘Tu Mera Hero’, but in real life this dude aims to be an achiever and passionate about his work. He may not be conventionally handsome but his child-like innocent ‘Titu’ has huge fan following among TV audience. As Priyansh is recovering from an unfortunate accident, we bring you the conversation we had with the young actor recently. Times TV Exclusive-

First of all, we would like to confirm whether it’s ‘Priyansh’ or ‘Priyanshu’?
Quite frequently I have been asked this question! I am still juggling with both names. I was born with ‘Priyanshu’ but by accident it changed to ‘Priyansh’. During an audition, I wrote my name on the slate as ‘Priyansh’ since there was not enough space. Later when I read it, I liked the feel of the name ‘Priyansh’, so I decided to continue with it. It is my strong belief that whenever I use ‘Priyansh’, the audition goes well. At the end of it, as they say what’s in the name! (Laughs)

Tell us about your growing up days?
Our family is basically from Rajasthan who later shifted to Delhi. My dad is a businessman and mom is a home maker. I have an elder sister who is a doctor. After I completed by 10th standard, my dad took the decision to shift to Delhi for our better future. I was an average student who believed in understanding the concept than just mugging up the text book. I couldn’t study for more than 45 min at stretch, but still managed to score decent marks during school years. I completed my bachelors in Mass Communication from Amethi University, Noida.

When did the acting bug bite you?
In the 1st year of college I participated in the play ‘Swami Vivekanand’, in which I played the role of ‘Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans’. Till then I had only danced on the stage for a performance. Dance is something which comes naturally to me. The moment I stepped into the auditorium for the audition, something clicked inside me. I cherish the 3 months which went into the preparation of the play. The entire feel of being surrounded by creative people, backstage buzz developed the sense of belongingness in me.

So how and when did your hobby turn into a passion?
‘Swami Vivekanand’ was well received by everyone. After the play, I continued to perform with director Gaurav Pawha’s theatre group. During my 12th standard, I confessed my love for acting to my parents. Surprisingly they took the news calmly and gave me a go ahead. I decided to study ‘Mass Communication’ in Delhi which was pertinent to my goal of becoming an actor. As a part of our study we had to make short films, documentaries. I acted in most of my friends’ projects. Our teacher and mentor Ms. Gauri Chakravarty once commented that my face is made for camera, which added to my confidence. Gaurav Pawha introduced me to performing on stage and my college degree taught me how to face the camera.

How the journey progressed once you landed in Mumbai?
In 2012, I started shooting for commercials in Mumbai. My first ad was with Ranbir Kapoor for Pepsi. I was on cloud nine sitting next to Ranbir on the sets. I thought that ‘this is it!’ I was under the illusion that new offers will start pouring out after the ad. I was wrong. I waited for few months to get good ads. There was no one to advice me. Much later I realized that doing commercials gives you exposure as well as experience in front of camera. I got my first big commercial break through Anil Kapoor’s ’24’. Though the role was small I got to learn many things from veteran like Abhinay Deo who was the director of the show.

What efforts you have taken to portray Titu’s character?
Titu has a comic angle to his personality. I am fascinated with Jim Carrey. I took references from some of his roles. I and Sonia did a workshop with Deven Bhojani before we actually started shooting for ‘Tu Mera Hero’. I learned from him that comedy is about confidence which most people lack. With confidence you can pull off any joke. I studied various regional artistes, their performances to get the true feel of a Mathura boy’s personality. I went to Mathura to observe the local youths there. Lots of preparation has been gone into portraying a ‘nikhatoo’ bone-lazy character like Titu.

What is the experience of working with co-star Sonia Balani?
Sonia is 24×7 in fun mode. Everyone on the sets gets upset with us as we keep cracking jokes even during romantic scenes. The most difficult part is to do romantic scenes with her! She is relaxed and smiling even during the most difficult shoot. Even after shooting for so many months, Sonia still holds herself back while doing romantic scenes which puzzles me. I keep assuring her that as an actor one should learn to let go of their inhibitions when in front of the camera. Besides being a superb co-star she is also a terrific dancer.

As an actor, what are your worst fears?
When I started, I was worried about giving retakes. As the time passed, I learned that giving retake is not bad instead it’s all about giving the perfect shot.

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