How a 55-12 months-Previous California Instructor Turned a Bollywood Actor


It’s By no means Too Late” is a collection that tells the tales of people that determine to pursue their goals on their very own phrases.


By most accounts, Richard Klein had a fairly good life: a stable job as a trainer at a Hebrew day college in Oakland, Calif.; mates that have been like household, and a ardour for singing and dancing that dominated his nights and weekends. However one morning, on the age of 45, he awoke and realized that he had but to embrace his full potential. He needed to interrupt into Bollywood.

“I’ve at all times cherished performing, and I used to be listening to Indian classical and devotional music lots,” on the time, Mr. Klein stated. The 2001 Bollywood epic “Lagaan” impressed him to attempt to make his ardour his occupation. “Issues have come full circle,” he stated, including that he seems within the 2022 movie “Lal Singh Chaddha” with Aamir Khan, who starred in “Lagaan.”

Six months after that fateful morning, Mr. Klein, who’s divorced and has no kids, moved to Mumbai. At first, he lived within the coastal metropolis half time. He alternated between a gig modifying subtitles for English-language tv exhibits in Mumbai and tutoring again in California, the place he would make sufficient cash to underwrite one other six months of attempting to make it within the performing arts world in India.

Ultimately it paid off. Mr. Klein, now 55, has appeared in dozens of Indian movies, tv exhibits and commercials, enjoying such different roles as a scientist, physician, chef, spy, and, owing to his means to nail a British accent, very often, a “imply British officer.”

Making the change was not with out strife. Nonetheless, he stated he would do it another time. “I’m in India, you already know, the land of reincarnation,” Mr. Klein stated, “however so far as I’m involved, I’ve this one life that I’m coping with. I wish to profit from it.” (The next interview has been edited and condensed.)

What was your life like earlier than you made this alteration?

I had been dwelling within the San Francisco Bay Space for about 20 years. Largely, I used to be a trainer: math, science, laptop lab. My nights and weekends have been spent performing some type of performing arts. I’ve at all times had an affinity towards music. I keep in mind being slightly child, strolling by means of the park, singing. A stranger walked by, and I kind of bought quiet. My mother stated: “Don’t be shy. You sing out loud and don’t fear about anyone else.”

What was the watershed second?

I used to be working as a trainer at a Hebrew day college, and one morning I awoke and thought, “If I don’t do one thing, I could possibly be right here for the subsequent 20 years.” That wouldn’t be a horrible consequence, nevertheless it wasn’t the one I needed.

I studied India in graduate college, once I was pursuing a level in faith. Studying about India impressed me to undertake the nickname Bhakti, which I’ve used since 1991, although I by no means modified my identify legally. In a broad sense, Bhakti means devotion and love. The phrase is a reminder to steer with my coronary heart as a substitute of my head, so each time I hear my identify, I consider that.

My first journey to India was in 1995 as a backpacker. I completely cherished it. I went again a couple of instances after that. So I believed: what if I’m going there, keep, and see what occurs? On certainly one of my first nights in Mumbai, I went out to a jazz membership. All of the performers have been foreigners. We bought to speaking afterward, and I ended up becoming a member of their group as a singer, which was my first foray into the performing arts world right here.

What was the largest problem that you just needed to navigate?

Once I first arrived, I used to be staying in pretty low cost locations. Quite a lot of instances, there was no sizzling water within the bathe. Quite a lot of instances there wasn’t even a bathe — most of my time in India, I’ve taken a bucket tub, which is definitely nice.

How did you go from modifying subtitles to performing in Bollywood productions?

About 4 years after shifting to Mumbai, I began getting alternatives for voice-over work: company shows, TV and radio commercials that needed an American or British accent. Then I began getting calls to dub Bollywood motion pictures. Then I bought invited to audition to behave.

At first, I bought background elements. After which, as a result of I’m blessed with an American accent and a few vocal coaching, I began auditioning for and getting talking roles.

It was a godsend. It was one other miracle of India. To have the ability to study a brand new artwork type now’s so extremely lovely and such a tremendous alternative.

What’s subsequent for you?

I wish to preserve going with the performing. There’s a lot extra to study. I’m getting a whole lot of good suggestions, and the elements are getting higher, they usually’re getting extra different. I don’t at all times play a imply British officer anymore. I’m getting different kinds of roles, larger roles, and I’m getting extra respect. I’m in a ravishing, sci-fi love story referred to as “X = Prem” that comes out in February. It’s my fourth time working with the director, Srijit Mukherji.

In any other case, I simply wish to stay on daily basis on this superb nation.

How has this new act modified you?

Being right here provides me the chance to be the perfect model of myself. I wasn’t feeling that chance within the U.S. I really feel like folks right here see me the way in which I wish to be seen. I don’t know why. I actually really feel prefer it boils all the way down to the ridiculous love that I’ve for this place.

What recommendation would you give to people who find themselves caught and seeking to make an enormous change?

Dream an enormous dream, then work out what all of the little incremental steps are to get there, and hit these steps one after the other. There are at all times obstacles. Family members might be an impediment, cash might be an impediment. It’s not straightforward. There’s numerous sacrifice concerned, however you may dream an enormous dream and make it come true.


We’re on the lookout for individuals who determine that it’s by no means too late to modify gears, change their life and pursue goals. Ought to we speak to you or somebody you already know? Share your story right here.



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