Nagpur: He is still in his early 20s and has been bitten by the “acting ka keeda” for the last 8-9 years.
He began by taking part in Drama competitions while in college, where he studies Ayurvedic Medicine and got an MABS. He then acted in some Hindi plays that were staged at the Rastrabhasha Hall in Sitabaldi. But he then realized that there was more ‘life’ in Marathi theatre and learnt Marathi. He was part of the ‘Manorama’ group in Nagpur that was then mentored by the 96 years’ old Manorama Date who had dedicated her whole life to theatre. She used to offer per premises free for any drama enthusiasts for practise and setting up of plays. He did Marathi theatre for a while and then he moved to Mumbai; spent some time unlearning and getting rid of his Marathi accent and made space for himself as a TV actor, specializing in doing short films and special feature films made for Cable. (Zee studio, Airtel, Shemaroo etc.)
He has done bit roles in big films and not such big films.
He got a break in Mahesh Bhatt productions, Vishesh films, doing a negative role but the movie is still in the cans.
And now he has got his first break in a commercial Hindi film – that too doing the main role. He is the leading man of “Lira, my soulmate” being shot in Prasad studios, Wardha.
Mehul was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. His dad Vishnu Advani owns the popular ‘Advani Dhaba’ on Umred road which sees roaring business every evening. His mother, Sarika Advani is a Social worker. Mehul also actively took part in running Advani Dhaba for a while thinking it was his duty to help out his father, since he is the only son. (Both his sisters are practising Doctors.) He threw himself wholeheartedly into the job and used his creativity to introduce new dishes that became quite famous with Advani patrons.
Mehul points out the Veg Maharaja and Snack dal as two of his creations which are much in demand!
Guided by his father Vishnu, he also began and ran a clinic for mine workers and villagers at Panchgaon, near their dhaba on Umred road. He treated them free and also gave them medicine free of cost. This clinic ran for over 6 months.
But whatever he did, wherever he turned, dreams of becoming an Actor stayed with him. Knowing his aspirations, his theatre friends, who knew he had talent and worked very hard too, encouraged him to go and try out his luck in Mumbai for an year at least.
“Do not give up your dreams without having really tried it out” they advised.
So Mehul bought himself a one way ticket to Mumbai few years ago. He chose to live like a beginner, struggling like other new comers and stayed in a crowded chawl at ‘char Bangla’ for over an year.
Then as TV work, some ad films and bit roles began coming in, he moved into his own flat at Lokhandwala complex.
For those who may jump to the conclusion that his first film is in any way financed by his family, this would be 100% wrong.
“If I had to take my family’s help I would not have struggled in theatre for so long. I do not believe in short cuts, nor do I want instant stardom. I want to know the ropes of acting, become sound at it and stand on my own feet known as an Actor who can deliver.” He says matter of factly.Mehul is very grateful for the stint of acting coaching he got from Ashok Puran Sir who also had Manoj Bajpayee as a student once.
Ira…is being produced and financed by Sri Kalji who is using it as a vehicle to introduce his talented daughter Leera Kalji. She also sings for this film.
Javed Ali, well know play back singer who is at the top of the ladder now, has crooned the main song that is being picturized on Mehul.
“Javed Sir agreed to sing for us, only when he was confident that this movie was going to be released” says Mehul.
Kalji will be releasing it himself and it will be a big release with 600 theatres booked.
Lira – my soulmate, which as the name suggests is a love story, that goes beyond physical love and relationships to talk about true love, is going to be released in September 2016.
We wish it the best of luck and good fortune. Not just because Mehul hails from Nagpur but also because he is a youngster who has worked hard to reach out for his goal and deserves all the success!