Bijay J Anand | October 15, 2015
Twenty years ago, a very prominent director from India – Ravi Chopra – walked into a meeting that was being held for the final casting of his new project, Ramayan. As soon as he walked into the room full of around 25 of his team members, even before he had sat down, he said, “put Bijay’s name down for Laxman.”
The entire room reeled in shock. For two very good reasons. First of all, how do you cast Laxman, who is Rama’s brother, BEFORE you cast Rama himself? Secondly, they had collated hundreds of options to be discussed and deliberated upon for each character, so why cast someone arbitrarily?
Ravi Chopra had a one-line answer to all of their salvos, which shut them up in a hurry, and, I quote, “are you guys mad? Have you ever, ever in your entire life seen anyone as hot-tempered and aggressive as Bijay? Now just do as I say and put his name down. End of discussion.”
And that is the story of how I got casted as an actor for one of India’s most famous (and one of the oldest) epics on television.
More importantly, it is also the story of how vile my temper was around that time. If I may say so (without pride), I was a legend. I smashed peoples’ cars with my hands if there was an argument. I could pick a fight with a mob of 10 people (and yet survive to tell this tale). I was famously infamous.
A few months ago, I was invited for a meeting with director Nikhil Sinha, who was casting for his take on Ramayan. My first reaction was what I had been telling everyone since I gave up acting as a career 17 years ago. “I’m not acting anymore, so, thank you very much, not interested.”
As I sat in front of Nikhil, I could glean from the excitement on his face that he had found in me whatever he had called me for. And, it turned out that he wanted to cast me for the role of Janak, who is Sita’s father in the story. As I rolled out my stock reply to refuse the role politely once again, this is what he said, “I am not casting you because you’re an actor who will play Janak well. I want to cast you because you ARE Janak. The wisdom in your eyes, the calmness on your face and the softness in your heart are the hallmarks of one of the most revered Kings that India ever knew about.”
And that is where I missed a heartbeat.
A lifetime had passed since I was eagerly casted BECAUSE of my vile temper, inherent aggression and wild behavior. Years later, I was being castfor the opposite reason.That is where I melted, and agreed to go back to acting after saying no to a myriad films and television shows.
I wanted it to be a telling tale of what Kundalini Yoga does to you. Both on the inside as well as the outside, for what is the appearance and demeanor of a human being if not a reflection of his soul?
Kundalini Yoga purifies your soul. It sucks out a lifetime of pain, grief, sorrow, hatred and suffering that you store inside of your body. And it makes you a better human being. It resets your nervous system and makes you think with clarity and alacrity. It reconnects you to the cosmic pulse and the vibration with which every cell in your body craves to connect with in nature.
Kundalini Yoga has changed my life in more ways than one. Well, for one it got me sucked back into acting and, boy, am I glad for it! I have been filming for the past one month and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
I invite you all to experience the magic of this ancient technology so that you may all live happier and healthier lives. So that you may see what I see everyday of my life.
Pure, unrefined Bliss!