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How The ‘Rap God’, Eminem Inspired Bollywood Actor, Vijay Varma

The ‘Mirzapur’ actor on how a young Marwari teen found refuge in Eminem’s music

Divyansha Dongre Jul 26, 2021
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Every individual associated with the creative industry credits their artistry to one who inspired them to pursue the arts. It’s common to find artists recall stories of those who’ve played an integral role in influencing their journey and persuade them to explore the realms of their creativity. You’ll usually find artists resonating with someone from their field of work, but in actor Vijay Varma’s case, inspiration presented itself in the form of rhythm and poetry.

Born in Hyderabad, Varma came first across Eminem’s music at a college fest-“I remember that was a turning point for me because it suddenly spoke to me- the music, the words, in a way that no other musician before that did. And, to the effect that we are in 2021 right now, so it’s 22 years and I’m still listening to him.” Though he credits Eminem’s “Slim Shady” that introduced him to the hip-hop culture, Varma found himself compelled by Eminem’s candor in other hits such as “Stan,” “The Way I Am,” “Sing For The Moment” and more.

Today, with critically acclaimed films such as Shor, Pink and Gully Boy (the film that made him a household name) to his name, Varma still finds himself inspired by brutal honesty and nuanced understanding of life that hip-hop entails. A fitting example of this takes us back to his early days where Varma was accepted at the Film and Television Institute of Indian (FTII) on his second attempt. 

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Despite facing rejection in his initial attempt, Varma persevered and decided to get the gears on his dreams running by joining a theatre group. A glimpse of hip-hop presented itself yet again when his father disapproved of his dreams of pursuing acting. But with hip-hop’s lessons of rebellion and hustle, Varma trusted his instincts and embarked on his long but steady journey to stardom. 

Through the Rolling Stone India Tribute series, Varma pays homage to his inspiration, Eminem- The rapper who even today sets Varma free in many ways, helping him understand the crux of human behavior and celebrate life as it comes. 

Watch Vijay Varma’s tribute to Eminem below.

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