Ashish Vidyarthi is not only one of the most famous actors of our times. He also wears many other hats. He’s a vlogger, a motivational speaker, a traveler. In fact, in his own words, he says he’s “an actor too.” In a candid chat with Hindustan Times, the actor talks about taking up travel vlogging to combat the hustle and bustle, becoming a motivational speaker and why he doesn’t mind being typecast as a villain. Read also : Ashish Vidyarthi hospitalized after Covid-19 diagnosis, shares video: ‘It’s a positive I didn’t want’
An alumnus of the National School of Drama, Ashish has acted in films and television shows for over three decades. Having worked in films in 11 languages, he recently decided to present himself on YouTube and not in the form of webcasts, but as a vlogger. Her travel and food vlogs have become popular with her YouTube channel amassing nearly seven million subscribers. He shares, “It started with restlessness, which I realized very early in my life. You are assured as you get older that the restlessness will disappear. But not too sure about that. I’m 56 and still restless.
In fact, the actor shares that he started making videos on his travels as early as 2004 but didn’t know there was a name for it. “Wherever I traveled I would like to include what I saw and I didn’t want to be outside either. And that was me what I looked like without makeup. I would include the food I ate and the people I met. During lockdown, I found out there was something called travel vlogging, food vlogging, and life vlogging. And I said, ‘hey, it’s me!’ he tells us, laughing.
The genesis of this vlogging came from the actor realizing that he just wanted to be himself with no filter, no frills or makeup, which cinema does not allow. He shares: “When you do theatre, you are yourself. There is nothing to represent outside the stage. But the moment you step into the movies, there’s something being created. And you are told that you have to be in a particular way. I was very uncomfortable when people told me not to chat with everyone and that sort of thing. I went there for the first few years, and then I found out that I was very unhappy doing that kind of stuff, behaving in a way that I wasn’t.
After vlogging, during the pandemic, Ashish has also become a motivational speaker through his Avid Miner initiative. Has there ever been a fear that acting will be relegated to second place in his life? “Let’s not be afraid of what we’re doing. Because when I’m vlogging people tell me “I quit acting?” I say “vlogging right now”. So right now, if someone asks me, I’ll say I’m being interviewed. That doesn’t mean I quit acting,” he replies. But were people surprised to see this man – a famous movie villain – become a happy vlogger and then a motivational speaker? “Oh Yes. What happens is people put you in a box,” he replies, adding, “At some point they put you in a box and you agreed. But I said I didn’t see the box.
This habit of not “seeing the box” also helped him fight against being typecast in the industry. For a long time in the 90s and 2000s, he was almost always portrayed as a villain. He says, “I started as a theater actor, then I became a Hindi film actor, then I worked in ten other languages. For some, I was a theater actor or Hindi actor or Hindi actor. For me, I was just an actor. I have never seen myself in a cage. I am more than they think I am.
In recent years, he has been less prolific as an actor than he was before. This is partly because other activities take up his time. But he doesn’t hesitate to admit that there was a time when he didn’t have a job. “The career of actors is changing. There are times when we have a lot of work and there are times when there is almost no work. In 30 years of career, having made nearly 240 films, I have seen periods of absolute, continuous, daily work as well as periods of non-work. Actors do not always choose the evolution of their career. It all depends on what is offered, what can be done. In fact, there was a period of about five years long before the pandemic when I didn’t have any films. I haven’t faced the camera for two years. When the pandemic hit, people said the work had stopped. I had seen it before that. All actors have seen. People call you and you’re at home and they ask you ‘shooting cancel ho gayi hai?’ and someone like me would say ‘I don’t have a shoot,'” he says.
The National Award-winning actor says that while he now has several upcoming projects, he will continue to vlog and give motivational speeches. And he shares a simple goal he wants to achieve with: “I want to share the hidden joys in normality. You don’t need to go to the Maldives for this. It’s all there, around you.