Living the dream: Meet Chhapaak, Special Ops actor Devas Dixit who is on his way to superstardom in Bollywood
Actor Devas Dixit
The journey of life is not smooth sailing. There are setbacks and regrets but for those who conquer obstacles and challenges, life can hold great success and happiness.
Napoleon Hill once famously said, “Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” And, actor Devas Dixit learned this the hard way.
After failing thrice in qualifying in the final round of the National School of Drama (NSD) course, Devas had given up on his dream of becoming an actor. But his firm determination and endless hard work gave him box office hits like Raid and Chhapaak, among others.
In an interaction with YSWeekender, Kanpur-boy Devas tells us about his Bollywood journey and what lies ahead….
In the news and loving it
Last year Devas bagged a role in the Hotstar premium web series- City of Dreams featuring Atul Kulkarni. His recent performance in the web series Special Ops won him many accolades. He also appeared in a small role in a web series BOSE, starring Rajkumar Rao.
“Web series are great to work in. They gave me a new and different exposure from my original genre of cinema that I truly love,” he says.
Devas Dixit as Lallan in Special Ops
Last year, Devas also joined Piyush Mishra’s theatre group Tamboo to portray the role of freedom fighter Sukhdev, in the musical theatre play, Gagan Damama Bajyo.
Where it began
Devas was three years old when he got into the habit of mimicking his relatives. He says that his grandmother used to love watching him making funny faces and talking in the same tone as his family members.
Like most children during their growing years, Devas was clueless about what career path to take. He loved only mimicking people but this was not a practical way for a child of a middle-class family to earn a livelihood.
“I never told my family that I wanted to pursue mimicry. I thought that it was just a filmi keeda inside me and that I couldn’t go beyond just copying voices and facial expressions. I chose Science as a stream in class XI hoping to become a doctor," he says.
Devas also prepared for the PMT but his heart was not in it. At that time, one of his relatives was working with a national newspaper as Editor-in-Chief. Whilst discussing his problem with the editor and talking about the media, Devas realised that he did not want to pursue a career in medicine.
"That day, I spoke to my grandfather for about five hours, and that simple discussion influenced me to join mass media intending to become a journalist," he says.
The world of theatre
But life has many twists and turns. Though Devas grew up doing mimicry and then planned to become a doctor and then dreamt of being a journalist, everything changed when he read about a theatre group in a college prospectus.
“I can’t explain that feeling but I felt a sense of happiness when I read about the theatre group in the prospectus. That was the only reason I joined that college and the first move I made on my first day of college was to join that theatre group,” Devas remembers.
Devas Dixit in a theatre play Main Hun Naa
Devas joined the college theatre group in 2007 and did small street plays, and since then, there has been no looking back.
Failures and success
During his summer breaks in the second year of his college, Devas joined Kshitij Theatre Group to hone his acting skills and was later employed there for a salary of Rs 3500 per month. Devas played in about 15-20 theatre plays before deciding to join NSD to receive formal training in acting.
“NSD was my target. I wanted to qualify that but I failed in the first attempt. I didn’t lose hope and tried the second time, but failed again. I was very discouraged and felt awful but I didn’t lose hope. I went ahead again the third year with a third attempt and this time, I didn’t even qualify in the prelims. That was the evening, I wanted to cry out loud.”
Devas has always received his family’s support. Even after his failed NSD attempts, his family never stopped supporting him. “My father wanted me to become a journalist if I failed in the NSD test as I had graduated from a mass media course but on that day he said- “Tumne FTII ke liye bhi toh apply kar rakha hai. Ho jayega- (You have applied for FTII as well, you will qualify)”. His words moved me to tears.
Devas Dixit as Raja in City of Dreams
The Film and Television Institute
Devas applied in many other acting colleges but nowhere did he qualify for a seat. His last hope was the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) that has produced great filmmakers and actors like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Tom Altar, Rajkumar Hirani, Om Puri, Rajkumar Rao, Shabana Azmi, and many others.
“There were only 12 seats for candidates in FTII. When I didn’t qualify in any acting college, I couldn’t dream of passing FTII. But life has a way of surprising us. I got in.”
Devas joined FTII and completed his acting course. However, he faced another twist in his life when during his course, a lot of political agitations happened in the institute.
“The students went on a strike. I learned a lot about the correlation between humans and politics and I felt sorry for the ecosystem. And from those incidents, I learnt about empathy which is crucial for any actor," he recollects.
In March 2017, Devas moved to Mayanagri Mumbai and the same year, he bagged a role in the Ajay Devgn starrer- Raid. Later he played a small role in the movie Kaamyaab.
Devas Dixit as Manish in Chhapaak
Devas says that moving to Mumbai wasn’t a challenge, it was the beginning of a new life. “I knew from that time onwards, whatever I did would make a difference to my life and I would have to be very careful,” he says.
After Raid, in 2020 Devas was chosen for a role in Chhapaak- a movie based on acid attack survivor, Laxmi Agarwal played by Deepika Padukone.
“I have given a number of auditions. The industry is tough but I have learned that you have to keep doing your bit each time. Hence, I never gave up on auditions," he adds.
What lies ahead
Devas will soon be seen in a Prashant Nair movie called- Tryst with Destiny which stars Jaideep Ahlawat and Ashish Vidyarthi. His other movie- See you in Court will also be released this year. He will also be seen in Kanu Behl's movie, Agra.
Devas Dixit on the sets of Raid
Talking about the COVID-19 scenario in the Bollywood industry, Devas says the times are really difficult. It is also critical for artists who are beginners in the industry like him.
‘All I can say is that we must use this time to enhance our skills. I know it’s easier said than done but it is way better than getting depressed and losing hope.”