That he was different from others, was pointed out to Ashish Singh when he was in his teens. “All my friends would call me chottu, it hurt. But I took it in my stride,” says Singh, who worked as a body reference for Shah Rukh Khan in Zero.
Ashish who was born in Jasmai village of Mainpur, UP, realises that his dwarfism will crop up in most conversations he engages in. “I realised that I will have to strike a balance. I will have develop a thick skin and also be sensitive. I knew people were and will be patronising but I have to try to use the attention they shower upon me for something benefitial,” he says. Eventually, Ashish
joined a six-month long acting course, and bagged three Bhojpuri films.
But his real big break came when Anand L Rai spotted him in Delhi and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Today, he is being showered with media attention. Thanks to some articles, Singh is being plagued with requests for interviews. “Everybody wants to know about the real-life Zero,” he laughs.
“I worked hard on this film. I have two years of my life to it. I do realise that opportunities like these don’t come to people a number of times, I have to make the most of this attention I am getting,” says Singh.
Another real-life hero who could very well have been inspiration behind Zero, is Malayalam superstar, Guinness Pakru aka Ajay Kumar. After making it to the Guinness World Record in 2008 for being the shortest hero, Pakru, made it to Universal Records Forum, Limca Book of Records and Best of India Records book for being the shortest hero this year. Pakru, who stands proudly at 2 feet 6 inches, has won several prestigious acting awards in his career. He has also directed several films.
Pakru believes that his success has nothing to do with his body. “There are hundreds of dwarves like me but they don’t all succeed.
It’s about mind, not just the body.”
What inspirational heroes!