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Also spelt Ravi Kissan and Ravi Kishen
i) My father saved me from becoming a male prostitute: Ravi Kishan
Priya Gupta, TNN | Oct 31, 2013
ii) Ravi Kishen takes a sabbatical
Kunal M Shah, Mumbai Mirror May 4, 2012
The Bhojpuri superstar
Ravi Kishan Shukla (born 17 July 1971) may have taken up Bhojpuri films as he had no work in Hindi-Urdu cinema, but Bhojpuri films got him the superstar status, along with the respect and the money. he has high self-respect and is deeply emotional. he feels that if you give him love, he will become your servant. If you give him respect, he will return more than what he gets. he believes he is like a typical crab, which, when hurt, gets into its shell that may not be good for the world he belongs to. he would rather sit and pray for work as against sucking up for it. Despite having done over 200 films, he is simple at heart. His wife Preeti, whom he met in Class XI, has remained his partner in struggle.
He was born and brought up in a 10x12 sq ft chawl in Santacruz. They are five siblings and he was the youngest of them. His father was a priest and had a small dairy business. When he was 10, due to a dispute between his father and his brother, the dairy had to be shut down, as a result of which they moved back to his hometown, Jaunpur in UP. he stayed in Jaunpur for seven years and was simply not interested in studying. They just had some land on which they would do farming and were very poor. They lived in a mud house and could not even afford a sari for his mother on Diwali. he hated the thought of not being in Mumbai and felt he would either die or turn mad or become a goonda. But he watched a lot of Amitabh Bachchan movies and that encouraged and influenced him a lot. Hearing him say, 'Main pheke hue paise nahi leta' gave him a lot of power. And he realised how for guys like him, who had no backing, no education, no teacher in life, cinema became his teacher. He was also a part of Ramleela, where he played the role of Sita. He believe that God plans your life. His father wanted him to do milk business and used to bash him up badly with a belt saying, 'Yeh tum nachaniya kya ban rahe ho?'
When he was 17, his mom gave him 500 and he ran away from home to come to Mumbai. he then stayed in their old 10x12 sq ft place and met an old friend Hriday Shetty, who introduced him to a filmmaker. he got his first B-grade film Pitambar and made his first 5000. he bought a bike and started struggling. He was recognised after Tere Naam, where he coincidentally played the role of a priest. he copied and used his papa's clothes to bring in authenticity.
How an Awadhi-speaker got into Bhojpuri cinema
There was a time when he was not making money in Bollywood and he was then offered a Bhojpuri film. he called his mom. They speak Awadhi at home that is close to Bhojpuri. She said, 'Do it for your village people.' he did it and became a Bhojpuri superstar and that changed his life. he had no house till then and no money. But Bhojpuri cinema gave him the respect, recognition and money. he bought back his 10x12 sq ft place that was earlier on the pagdi system, made it into a much bigger place and gifted it to his sister. His parents now live in a bungalow like a raja and rani and entire Jaunpur comes and clicks pictures with them. People have now started naming their kids Ravi Kishen. Being a big star of Bhojpuri cinema got him Bigg Boss that made him famous. When he came out, he did films with Shyam Benegal and Mani Ratnam.
Biharis like his simplicity and the fact that he has not forgotten the language and that he did not let success go to his head. he recently went to a mall in Patna, where this fan wanted to jump from above to just touch him. Fans will come to him and say, 'Bhaiya, I want to cut my finger to lagao teeka.' he once slapped a boy in front of his mother for doing that. For them, he is everything and they know everything about him. he dance and cry with them on Chhath puja.
Relationship with father
His father never supported him at one time. Today he feels he is God born in the house. he never felt angry towards him. he used to hit him and Ravi used to love it. Had he not hit him, he could have turned to drugs, or made bad friends or become a womaniser and would have certainly gone wayward in life. he also taught him the habit of getting up early in the morning.
His father being a priest impacted Ravi's spirituality.
None of his other siblings is as spiritual as Ravi is. Ravi's father taught him everything about life, woman, maya, attachment, detachment and sex in a polished indirect manner. he used to tell him save your mind and your body. Don't waste your energy. Don't become a male prostitute. Don't give a false commitment. he was very strict about being a one- woman man. Ravi is a full Shiva bhakt.
When he was eight, he would go crazy dancing in marriages. During Ganpati, he would dance on the street all night. he loved music and would be mad about dancing. Ganesh Acharya and he used to dance together in a cottage in Santacruz railway colony when they were young and he would borrow a few steps from him.
His Shiva connection
Ravi is a crazy Shiva devotee. There are a few people he likes to meet, but he gets powerful when he is alone. In 2002, there was a period of four months when he had no work. he would keep smelling his makeup box and cry just thinking about the time it would be applied on his face again.
Friends in the industry
Saif has been a friend for 16 years. he understands Ravi. he makes him laugh. Even though they are from different worlds, he too loves his craziness and likes him as an actor and finds him honest. he is a nawab and may be he can see that he can never ask for work from anyone and will not pile onto you. he like his wacky sense of humour and he loves his and they are comfortable with each other.
There is a strong woman in Ravi. he can relate with a woman's pain, their moods, their love, their passion. Maybe the percentage of woman in him is more. Maybe, being a Shiva devotee helps him. And that is why he can take so many avatars in front of the camera. Once he performed Hothon Pe Aisi Baat on Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa where Madhuri Dixit was a judge. She was shocked and told him how he looked so beautiful performing like a woman. he would always get close to women, be it his mother, his wife, his daughters or his co-actors. he know what they are going through and can empathise with them. he worship his daughters and touch their feet. he also touch his wife's feet. Of course, he do that when they are sleeping as they don't allow it. he is a crazy man and can do many things many times. Recently on Karva Chauth, he touched his wife's feet. Maybe in his next life, he would like to be born a woman.
2012: break from acting in Bhojpuri films
In 2012, after acting in nearly 165 Bhojpuri films between 2004 and 2012, Ravi Kishen, decided to call it quits, at least for the time being.
What prompted such an extreme decision? Apparently, the actor is disappointed with the quality of the new crop of Bhojpuri films. Speaking to The Times of India's Mumbai Mirror at length, Ravi Kishen said, "I am not getting the kind of scripts I am longing to do. I am bored of routine work and doing the same kind of films over and over again. I want to do something more...The commitments in Hindi cinema are also keeping me busy. But my whole aim is to take the Bhojpuri industry to the next level and give back to it what it has given me, right from my house to the cars I drive to the respect I have earned."
Ask him whether this means he will never return to Bhojpuri films and Kishen is quick to say, "Never say never. I am definitely not accepting any new films right now and I have about four films on hand. I am returning the signing amounts of a couple of films I have signed. I have always maintained Hindi cinema is my father and Bhojpuri cinema is my mother. I can never leave my mother so I will always be involved in the Bhojpuri industry but mainly as a producer. I will be producing films at regular intervals. I will only act in a Bhojpuri film if the script is out-of-the-box and is capable of taking the industry one step forward...I have learnt where the Bhojpuri industry is headed. I believe if films are made in the right way, even our industry can make path-breaking cinema."
His work in Hindi-Urdu cinema
Kishen replies, "[Since 2009] I have worked with filmmakers like Mani Ratnam, Shyam Benegal, Vikram Bhatt, Rajkumar Santoshi, Sriram Raghvan and Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi."