ABOUT JITENDRA AKA JEETU BHAIYA
Jitendra Kumar (born 1 September 1990) is an Indian actor. He is better known for his work in web series and comedy sketches of The Viral Fever where he portrayed characters such as Jeetu, Munna Jazbaati, Gittu and Arjun Kejriwal, (a parody version of Arvind Kejriwal, Indian politician & Delhi Chief Minister). He is also known for his role of Jeetu Bhaiya in Kota Factory, Aman Tripathi in Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and Abhishek Tripathi in Amazon Prime’s Panchayat.
He comes from a very small town, Khairtal in Alwar, Rajasthan, with no theatre/film background. He is a Civil Engineer Graduated from IIT Kharagpur. He is an inspiration to the youth of the country and has an exemplary journey about following one’s passion.
This is what he has to say in a very candid interview with TSS Team
How did you get to where you are today? What is your story?
My acting journey commenced after I secured an admission in IIT Kharagpur. As the academic session ushered, all my peers became meticulous towards studies on the contrary, I was drawn to various co-curricular activities like debate competitions, declamations etc. and to my surprise I was winning them. Having accomplished my primary and secondary education from a Hindi medium school, language was one of the major hurdles that I knew that I had to overcome and therefore winning these competitions overtime gave immense boost to my confidence. I even auditioned for the dramatic society of the college and made it through. It was that which gave an impetus to my affinity for acting.
During my days in dramatic society, I met Bisso (Biswapati Sarkar) who used to write plays and we performed them. Before this we used to perform adapted plays written by Rabindranath Tagore, Vijay Tendulkar and Mahesh Dattani. Later, Bisso moved to Mumbai and interned with people who made documentaries, short films and client videos. In 2012 the first video – Rowdies, that Bisso wrote during his days in college, went viral over the internet. On the other hand I was still in the final year of my college, confused with my career options.
As I was in a dilemma I was unable to secure a job post placements in the college. On Bisso’s suggestion I decided to make a move to Mumbai to try my luck at acting. The first professional video that I was a part of was “har ek friend zaruri nahi hota”. We started shooting for the video on my very first day in Mumbai and completed the shoot within 2 days. Though, we did not receive a promising response for the video during screening, yet we released the video after a week. It didn’t get a great response from the viewers, as the first video was a next level viral. After acting in a bunch of other videos and not receiving a good response I started looking for a job.
As I always believed in reality checks and somehow during those 3 months in Mumbai I didn’t meet the expectations which I had from myself. I realized that acting in college in front of a limited audience is very different from acting professionally. I was disappointed. I left Mumbai and landed a job in a construction firm and worked for almost a year. Whilst working at the construction firm, I eventually realised that this was not something that I wanted to pursue lifelong.
Now I knew that acting is my thing and I got rid of the confusion about my career. With this clarity of thought I knew that I had to make a brisk decision so I quit my job. I also applied for the National School of Drama but couldn’t get through at my attempt. I finally assembled all the courage and confessed to my family about my ambition for acting. It took some time to sought approval from my father, but eventually he agreed and even insisted on helping me with my expenses and funding whilst I worked as an actor but I denied. His only question was “ how much time do you need”? On the basis of my previous experience in Mumbai I knew that time is something I can’t decide because I knew it will take long. So I left for Mumbai and to support my expenses I took tution classes of 10th and 9th class students.
Shortly after I retrieved back to Mumbai for my second innings, I started acting in various videos with the most sedulous efforts. My first viral video was “Ek thi behen” in the year 2013. In 2014, “Barely speaking with Arnab” released in which I played the role of Arjun Kejriwal and to a stroke of luck, my character was very well received by the viewers. In 2015, a web series ”Pitchers” was supposed to be filmed but TVF had to release “Permanent Roommates”. TVF delivered India’s first YouTube web series “Permanent Roommates” which was very well received by the viewers all across and it was a confidence booster for all of us.
Then came Pitchers, it was an inspirational show. With a small team, we used to work very hard. We improvised and created the episodes according to the response received from the previous episodes. Eventually the segment got competitive and then “Bachelors” happened, it was a series with 25 min long episodes which was the first of its kind because before that kind of parodies were 5-10 mins short. The first season was filmed with Bhuvan Bam. I was asked to work in the second season.
It was a totally nascent experience for me since the entire team of production was changed. Interns were now makers and those experiences were very different from when we had filmed earlier. As earlier we used to work in stress. Now these guys had a total different perspective and working model. It was a learning for me too, I actually realized that this is how acting has to be done. You should enjoy the process and have fun during the process. This experience was life changing for me. I was recognized for my work in pitchers but I knew it was still a long way to go. I wanted to work in different show, the kind of shows I wanted to do. We always wanted to give something different to the industry as well as our viewers. We explore various genres with shows like Kota Factory, Hostel Days and Cheesecake which was a pet story.
“Gone kesh” was the first film I was casted for and Kota factory was on rage when SMZS team had seen me on those shows so eventually I got casted in “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan”. After a few reading sessions with Hitesh Sir and a meeting with Anand sir, I became even more confident and excited to work on the project. Everything about this project was special – story, cast, behind the camera production crew. We became very good friends and had a lot of fun while filming. It was a very ecstatic and optimistic environment.
The responses that were received after the film was released were overwhelming. The length of texts I received from people filled my heart with joy and brought a smile to my face. My latest project is Chaman Bahaar which will be streaming in Netflix and I hope people will love it. I am nothing but grateful and in awe of all the prospects and opportunities that have come on the way of this journey.
Placement Season at IIT Kharagpur
From a Fan pic to a Co-Actor
50 Shades of Jeetu
A Star is born
Can you say that you are successful now?
Now that I am a part of film industry I feel that there lies a greater distance that remains unscaled yet. My ultimate dream was to work on films and now that I have worked in a couple of them I feel elated. I have an IMDB page that definitely makes me feel good. I had few criteria or I shall rather say a checklist and Shubh Mangal ticked each of them. Honestly, when you are in the process you don’t think that you had this dream and now you are successful. It is when friends, family and people around you celebrate your achievements that is when you feel the joy and take pride in the endeavours too.
Did you have a road map like an engineering project?
I was keen on reading biopics of actors like Amit ji, Shahrukh sir , Amir sir, Dilip Kumar sir. Their journey and interviews have always intrigued me as a reader. I always tried relating my hardships, journey to theirs, that was very childish and pure. But during the process I realised that each person has a unique journey that one embarks upon. And from my 1st innings in Mumbai that just lasted for 3 months I understood that time is never a deciding factor. There is nothing like a timeline. Some scale their path within a span of few months while for some it takes a little longer. The only thing that matters is how consistent you are, and I always had some reality checks in place. I believe you will see the opportunities during the journey and you have to take them.
What made you go back and take a job?
I had already gotten a reality check when I came to Mumbai for the first time. During that time I had realised that performing in front of a college audience and enacting a character in front of the camera are two totally different things. I had to take up a job. It was never that I didn’t want a job, I was an engineer after all. Also, my initial plan was to work for 3-4 years, earn money and make my own short films. I can say that back then I didn’t have a clarity of thought and once I didn’t meet my expectations during those 3 months in Mumbai I switched back to a job, something I felt I was trained for. It was after working there for a year that I was eventually able to realise that I wanted to put my energy into the creative prospects that were complete opposite of what I was doing at that time. I felt stuck in that job and I started believing that I may not be able to give my best in this field. I knew that now acting is the only thing which is meant for me and If I don’t grab that chance, life is going to be hard. So during my second take in acting, I was more diligent and fastidious with my efforts and decided to leave the rest at the leap of the faith and to my surprise, I started getting great reviews for my work. It was quite important for me to act upon my decisions fast otherwise I would have been stuck in between a rock and a hard place.
Why do you think it is important to follow your dreams?
I believe that if you follow your passion, it will surely give you a fruitful result at the end. It gives you a “Satisfactory Bank Account”. It does make you feel “alive” and gives you a clear head space. It makes you more human and less machine I must say, you can differentiate between right and wrong. If you are passionate and ambitious at what you do, then you can definitely move mountains. You can feel happy. You can feel real
You are an inspiration for the youth, would you like to share your mantra for a success?
Past and future are vague. The action of the past might affect us sometime and we tend to overthink about the future but in the process we completely forget the importance of living in the present. When we contemplate about the past or our actions in the past, we tend to forget that had we lived in the present then, we wouldn’t be remorseful for our actions now. Perseverance, consistency and giving the best in the present moment is the key to success, as overused as it may sound but it is the truth.
Do you have a superhero in real life? If yes? Who is he/she?
It is very difficult to choose. Whenever a character is appreciated by the viewers, it becomes my favourite. It gives you a different energy and you see a way. Every characters comes with a new path, a new journey. Each of them unlocks the potentials within you – “Arjun Kejriwal” from Barely speaking with Arnab, “Ek thi behen”, Kota factory Jeetu, pitchers Jeetu, bachelors Jeetu all have opened new ways and possibilities for me. The best part about playing these characters is how people are able to relate to them and how personal these characters become to them eventually.
Everyone should be treated equally and we should respect not only humans but animals as well. Each being is special and deserves to be respected for that. And they should be given a chance to explore and exhibit their talents. The moment you are able to achieve you become important.
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan
Barely Speaking with Arnab