Actor Jitendra Kumar is not too old in the showbiz industry and his merits in the digital space have already earned him a popular name. His characters such as Munna Jazbaati from Q-tiya Intern, or Jeetu Bhaiya from TVF’s Kota Factory were smashing success and now he is all set for his break in Bollywood. Shubh Mangal Zyaada Savdhaan has Ayushmann Khurrana in the lead role and Jitendra will play his love interest in the dramedy, releasing 21 February 2020.
His current feature is another TVF collaboration, Cheesecake (mini-series), in which he reunites with Akanksha Thakur. Both are expected to bring some endearing moments on-screen. His TVF co-star Akanksha says he overcame his fear of dogs since she is a pet lover and she won't look good on- screen with anyone else, Jitendra shared in an interview with News18.
A Civil engineer from IIT Kharagpur, Jitendra always had his eyes on being an actor. Active in his college theatre performances, he had initially come to Mumbai for a few months and tried his luck in acting. Not matching expectations, he went back home to the construction business. However, something struck him and he decided to give acting another try.
Only this time, his parents were not on board.
“They were apprehensive about me going into it again since I had already struggled. My parents had plans to have a construction business of our own. I’d thought to learn acting because I saw more scope in my growth if I acted. It took time, but my parents have understood now and support me,” he said.
Jitendra has landed a role opposite Ayushmann Khurrana in the upcoming movie Shubh Mangal Zyaada Savdhaan, as his love interest. While many actors had declined the offer, it was Jitendra who finally landed with role. The simple and basic reason was, he said, “Ayushmann knew me since a long time and had pushed me to take up this role, like many other projects. Others shortlisted had declined, and I was being considered. After sitting through various narrations, and exchanging feedback, all of us including the director-producer and Ayushmann came on board about me being the choice.”
The actor says he misses his Benaras schedule as it was really fun to play the role of Aman Tripathi, and having worked with many of the actors in the ensemble cast before (such as Gajraj Rao), made it more exciting. “All of them are crazy actors and we used to have mad energy at the sets,” he says. The team will be heading back to Benaras after completing their Mumbai Schedule.
The movie is set to explore a delicate, and less talked about topic of homosexuality. Jitendra says that that’s how concepts in Bollywood works and there comes a time when the trends are refreshed. “We start with new concepts and stories, which are liked by the public. Then they slowly get lost in massy entertainers, only to comes back and form a cycle. Right now is a good time in cinema and we have many relatable stories played by actors such as Ayushmann and Rajkummar Rao.”
Apart from being exciting, things are hectic for the actor currently. But the next thing he has got in store are some ideas which he plans to execute as stories. Hesitant to reveal any idea for now, he jokes, “If I share it now, someone else may pick it! But I have stories to share about characters from my college days or the place where I come from. I even saw stories in the shopkeepers there, which I will put in my story when I write one.”
For his new show, MX Player’s Cheesecake, the actor has paired up with her TVF co-star Akanksha Thakur once again. The story revolves around a married couple who have become snappy under the pressure of their work lives and how an unexpected guest (a dog named cheesecake), enters their lives for good.
“I had to overcome my fear of dogs because Akanksha is a big-time pet lover, and she doesn’t look good on-screen with anyone else,” Jitendra laughs.
But the shoot was certainly not a cakewalk for the actor. Jitendra revealed his phobia of dogs stems from a childhood incident. “I used to visit my maternal aunt during my vacations, and they had a pet dog named Jackie. Whenever he used to start nipping, I would run to a bed, which was tall for him to jump onto. After a few months when I went back, I did not realize that he had grown taller. After a fight with my cousins, they set the dog on me. When I rushed to that bed, he jumped on it too and bit me! After that, I have always had a fear of them.”
“It was a challenge since Day 1 for us as well as the director. But we had training periods, test shoots, etc. When we went on the set, Aaryan (called as Cheesecake in the show) gave us much better takes than we expected. We felt he was a more professional actor than us,” the actor shared while talking about his experience of working with a dog as a co-actor.
Read our review of the show here: Cheesecake Review: TVF Series Disappoints Everyone But Pet Lovers
When asked what the inspiration behind the concept was, he said, “People in the current generation have become a bigger pet lover than ever. Earlier couples would have kids to stay busy with. Now, there’s more void to fill, and pets, be it a dog or a cat, seem to be the positivism in the house now. We wanted to tell the story how a pet can change the life of a normal couple,” he signs off.
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