New Delhi: Choosing the right moment to take a leap of faith from the comfort of easy money he earned by teaching physics to acting was the real struggle for Jitendra Kumar, who is a step closer to achieving his Bollywood dream with his first lead role in "Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan".
An IIT-Kharagpur graduate, Jitendra initially wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. He failed to make the cut and settled for civil engineering but his heart was somewhere else.
"I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. But I didn't get a good rank, so I got civil engineering. That's where I lost interest in studies. If you're not excited for the field of engineering that you have, you can't be a good engineer," the actor told PTI.
"Kyun pull giraaoon main? (Why should I build a bridge that could collapse anytime?) That's more dangerous," he quipped.
That's when acting happened. He joined online channel The Viral Fever in 2012 and taught physics to support himself financially.
In TVF, he became popular with his parody of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejirwal, Jitu bhaiyya in "Kota Factory" and Gittu in "Permanent Roommates".
"I knew I can teach physics well, so earning money from tuition was no struggle. Struggle was to earn money through acting. It was in figuring out the point when you are confident enough to leave the job that pays easy money for the job you love. Then the struggle was to get a serious acting gig to be able to completely sustain myself on it," he said.
"Pitchers", which came in 2015, was the first time Jitendra earned enough money to pay off his bills and he never looked back.
In "Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan", in which he is paired with Ayushmann Khurrana, is a same sex love story woven around two middle class families in small town India.
The actor said his character Aman has come out of the closet for his partner Kartik, played by Ayushmann, but does not know how to open up to his conservative family.
"He is open to his partner. Sometimes, the viewer will feel he is quite dominating in his relationship.
"But when it comes to his family, he doesn't know how to get through them. That probably has to do with the environment at home, knowing his father is a conservative man. So he knows his father won't accept their relationship that easily."
There's much ado about his kissing scene with Ayushmann in the film.
The actor believes that initially it may come as a shock for some, but when the sequence will come along with the story, the viewer will feel the romance.
"When people first saw a couple of the opposite gender kiss on screen, there was a lot of controversy, like it happened during 'Raja Hindustani' all those years ago. Whenever the scene used to come on TV, somebody would cough, mummy would get up and go into kitchen, etc. It used to be quite awkward.
"Now people can watch that long kiss with parents. So, things gradually changed. With time, it became normal. This is the first step. I hope they'll realise this too is just another kiss," he asserted.
Jitendra said love is not an issue like it's often made out to be in our society.
"We try to stop love -- be it between two different castes, religions, genders -- in every possible way. But we easily forgive all crimes, no one comes to stop us from polluting our rivers.
"But when it is about love, people make an issue out of it, films out of it. It's quite unbelievable. Let love be love, there are too many issues that need to be addressed," he said.
Directed by Hitesh Kewalya, the film is slated to be released on Friday.