– by Alfindy Agyputri
Meet Rakesh Dasgupta, Australia-based Indian actor, who has gone through a rough journey to pursue his big dream. It all started in a small city in India where helpless young Rakesh, who always loved watching movies and portraying the characters in front of the mirror, escaped depression and unwanted ambience in his life with acting. “It’s hard to explain but I used to (kind of) become those characters from within which helped me for that short span of time to forget everything surrounding me.”
Just like other brilliant actors, his life hasn’t always been great. In fact, he started off really harsh. With no friends to talk to, the domestic violence he experienced almost every day, and getting bullied at school, Rakesh fell into depression and difficulties with speech, and worse, permanent physical injuries. But it didn’t stop this bright young fellow to dream big. His grand vision of bright lights has given him the courage to take a huge and brave leap of faith. He left his beloved homeland and ventured into the land down under with only $50 to his name and a few English words, which made it impossible for him to find a job. This adventurous young man spent his first nights in Sydney bus shelters and depended on the Salvation Army for food.
However, the story doesn’t end there just yet. He might have moved to the land down under, but it didn’t bury him. With years of dedication, hard work and a determined mindset, Rakesh set out to pursue his dream to become a professional actor by mastering the English language and his thick accent, and graduating in commerce. He had never got any formal acting qualification, not until 2013 when he started taking informal acting and accent removal classes with some of the experienced actors. He gained his invaluable training and experience on set in unpaid roles for student films in Sydney.
All this hard work finally paid off. Rakesh’s dream isn’t too big to come true. After getting into lead roles and TV commercials and landing paid co-star roles in feature films and TV series, he finally got a taste of his grand Hollywood dream as his latest project, the feature film Down Under, took him to Los Angeles. He left the entire audience speechless with his riveting performance during his first Casting Director workshop that led him to an offer for a role in an American feature film.
But nothing always happens as planned. Rakesh had to turn down the offer due to not having a working visa – which he sees only as a minor setback. He was still offered theatrical representation from a leading agency in Los Angeles and returned to Australia full of hope. “With belief, anything is possible. Soon I’ll be a working actor in Hollywood. It’s not a matter of if, but when.”
This young actor, who looks up to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Dwayne Johnson, and Johnny Depp as role models, is seeking to inspire other struggling actors on the importance of never giving up.
“Acting has saved my life,” Rakesh said. “I don’t want to speak too much on my lowest points in life as I think people who want to pursue acting, want to become actors and have big dreams would get discouraged and scared listening to my past.”
But his survival story is a great inspiration for young actors, and even everyone who knows about his journey. Pursuing a dream has no easy way out, and so does becoming an actor. You can be the most brilliant and talented with a degree from the best acting university in the world, but that won’t guarantee you to get an acting job. Even when you already start a career, you won’t be sure you have financial security. In the early stages of acting career, it doesn’t pay much. And once you reach your dream to become an aspiring actor, you’re still never certain where you will end up in the future. It’s a rough road you’re going through, but just like Rakesh, never give up.
His advice is to only pursue acting if you enjoy the actual art, not to become famous. You don’t need back up options because if you have, you’re basically preparing for failure. Maintain yourself as a good physique is always an asset in the acting business, since you yourself are the product you sell. Practice, practice, practice! Do it every day to improve your confidence level. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. “You have to honestly believe in yourself that one day you will become a successful actor. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?”