EXCLUSIVE: Neeraj Kabi, a teacher disguised as an actor

Neeraj Kabi, an actor with a class apart is a teacher first. For the past 24 years, he has been teaching kids and adults. Read more about his journey!

Neeraj Kabi, a man who is on this journey to leave his mark on every cinematic piece he touches. He started off with an Oriya movie and made his way to the world of theatre and then decided to enter the Hindi Film Industry. Right from The Last Vision (1997) to Talvar (2015) to web series like Sacred Games and Pataal Lok, Neeraj has aced his role in all of them. Side by side, he even conducts acting workshops during the summers for people who want to learn.

During a very interactive conversation with Neeraj on the occasion of Teachers’ day, he opened up about how it feels to be a teacher and what lessons he has learnt as a student. His passion of being a teacher overpowers his passion of being an actor. Throughout his life, he made sure to take some time out and teach the children in schools and adults in workshop.

While remembering his times as a student, Kabi talked about this one teacher in his school who would not go by the book but had an unconventional way of teaching. He was a friend first and then a teacher which is something he has been carrying with him since then. As a teacher, Kabi spoke about how he creates a connection with the students and make them feel safe in their own space. He said, ” For all these years, it is a blessing that the children remember me because of my teaching ways. I never believed in classroom education, I tried to be spontaneous with them. I took them to the school ground or some times the rooftop and then we used to sit together and learn few things. I always made sure that they don’t feel bored while trying out new things. I believe in sharing human feelings and relations with my student while my teaching takes a back seat, this allows me to teach and talk to them about anything in this world.”

When asked about one lesson that he would pass on to his fans and the people trying their hands on acting, he said, “I would suggest people who are trying their hands on acting to go ahead and teach the children. There should be a compulsory part in the course, where you go and teach kids at school even if you don’t know how to. Go out and learn. This will help you understand your audience. Obviously, experience of life counts but this is important too.” 

While remembering his childhood, Neeraj talked about how he was a part of a prank in school that included the Principal. He said, ” There was this one time in school when we had to celebrate Teachers’ day and we decided to prank the whole school. We sent out pamphlets in school that a retired army officer is visiting the school. We dressed up one of our classmate with all the fancy beard to give him the look. The wonderful part was that even our Principal was including in this. The guy got on stage, and everybody was in awe. Even the Principal addressed him and he was given a garland too. The thing went down when the guy’s beard came out on the stage! The whole school went crazy and everyone was laughing. This was one of my memorable prank”

Neeraj Kabi is currently working on his future projects and hoping to start online classes and workshops for the people as the demand is increasing day by day.