Anand Kumar Ojha

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February 17, 2020: The Times of India

Anand Kumar Ojha switches seamlessly between real and reel. One day he’s seen at Agra’s busy crossings, keeping an eye on traffic movement, and the next he is the lead in Bhojpuri films.

A celebrity of sorts in Agra’s traffic police department, Ojha joined UP police in 2001 as sub-inspector. But not before running away from home to start a career as an actor in Mumbai. “Ojha was passionate about acting since childhood. He fled home twice. But it didn’t work out. He later joined police, but never gave up on acting,” said Rakesh Sharma, his batchmate.

“As a cop also, he has set a benchmark. He is always available,” said traffic inspector Satish Rai, Ojha’s senior. “He doesn’t excuse himself from work to shoot films. He uses his yearly leaves for it.” A story goes that in 2013, when Ojha was posted in Lucknow, he rescued a 22-year-old college girl from abductors. He was also feted for it. Ojha idolises Amitabh Bachchan. “During my school days, I fled home with Rs 20 in my pocket for Mumbai. But the train’s ticket collector found out and I returned home after reaching Jabalpur,” the officer said.

“A couple of years later, my friends collected Rs 500 and sent me to Mumbai. I worked as a watchman, visited studios but didn’t get an opportunity. Later, my father brought me back,” Ojha recounted. “He wanted to see me as a government servant. Once there was hiring going on in the police force in Varanasi. My friends suggested I should tag along with them and tell my father that I was sitting for the test, and that I could use that as my escape route to Mumbai. But after reaching Varanasi, I decided to fulfil my father’s wish.”

“In 2005, while I was posted in former CM Mulayam Singh’s security convoy, I got an opportunity to visit Mumbai. It was there that I met Bhojpuri movie producer Nirmal Pandey and gave an audition. I got the role of lead actor in a movie called ‘Piyar Karela Tuhi Se’.”

The Bhojpuri movie which catapulted Ojha to success was ‘Sabse Bada Mujrim’ in 2013. “I started getting offers after that,” Ojha said. Five movies are in the pipeline. In April, he will be in Europe shooting for ‘Mahi’. The cop does not charge money for his movies, as he is bound by UP Police’s code of conduct.

“As most of my leaves are exhausted in shootings, I meet my family – wife and three children, on film sets,” Ojha added.

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