He is now basking in the glory of Zee TV’s successful show Satrangi Sasural and is enjoying every bit of itFrom ad films to Bollywood, and television;
How are you enjoying the success of Satrangi Sasural?
It’s been a wonderful journey. I think I couldn’t have asked for a better cast. We have 7 senior actors as mothers and we have so many scenes together and so much to learn on the sets. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.
What made you to quit the previous job of a consultant in a famous firm?
We all have something inside us that we want to explore in life and we should. I’m not a desk job kind of a person. I like to meet people, like to chat with people. I wasn’t enjoying my job and when I was around 24 or 25, I had to make a decision and that’s the time when you can afford to change careers and get into something that you really want to do.
So that was the opportunity when I thought there was something inside me that I needed to explore and I came across acting as something that I could connect to. ‘3 Idiots’ was released at that time, and I was extremely influenced and very inspired by the film. It gave me the strength to quit my job at 24 and tell myself if I had to do something, it had to be then. That’s how I quit my job and got into acting.
Is acting a childhood passion or a college time fantasy?
To be really honest, I never thought acting was ever something that I want to explore. I wanted to join the Armed Forces or Air Force as a kid, and when I grew up I had thoughts of becoming an astronaut sometimes and in college I always wanted to play cricket for India.
These things were a part of me and I had never thought about acting, but as a kid I’ve always been influenced by films. Films have changed my life and after watching a movie I used to stand in front of the mirror and act those scenes and do action scenes with my friends.
Did you face any rejection?
Absolutely. No dreams or no great life opportunities come without rejection. When I started off doing TV commercials, the entire industry hubs were in the suburbs like Andheri, and I lived in South Bombay. There was a lot of travel for me and there would be times when I would go for an audition, stand in the queue for hours and then the casting director would just come and say that you don’t fit the role. That’s one of the disappointing facts but you just get over it.
Have you ever thought of giving up after rejections?
As I said, you have to think practically and give yourself a year or two. When you give yourself some time, there should be no other thought that should come in your mind. Within the given time, whatever happens you should be strong enough to face it, and at the end of the time period you need to see where you stand and then accordingly decide.
Has the journey been a cake walk for you?
No, not at all. I had a lot of financial problems when I quit my job and lots of responsibilities at home and other things. I have pushed myself harder every single day to be focussed. There were times when there was no work for a really long time and my parents couldn’t support my expenses as well.
I had to walk to auditions at times from Andheri station, stand in long queues to take bus and wait for hours as I was free lancing as an actor. In this industry, it’s never a cake walk and there’s a lot of struggles. Sometimes the struggle is not seen outside and there is mental and emotional struggles which pushed me forward.
Tell us about how you got the opportunity in your debut movie ‘Horror Story’.
I honestly don’t know how that opportunity came to me. I was just doing TV commercials at that time and one day I got a call from Vikram Bhatt’s casting agency who informed that they are making this film about four friends, and they see me as one of the characters and asked me to come down for an audition.
I went for the audition and in a couple of weeks I got a confirmation call and had a meeting with the director. I didn’t know these casting people and I don’t remember sending my pictures to Vikram Bhatt’s office anytime. So I wonder how this came to me. It is probably the destiny.
How were you selected for ‘Meri Bhabhi’ tele serial?
After ‘Horror Story’, I was approached for this “Star Plus” show and I went to their office and understood the content and I liked the content and the character that had a lot to play around. I got to play the hero in ‘Meri Bhabhi’ and it was a great experience for me.
Coming to ‘Satrangi Sasural’, when you were told that you will have seven mothers in the show, what was your instant reaction?
It is a very different concept and such a concept has never come out on Indian TV yet. The first thing that comes to your mind is, “why seven mothers?”, “Who is the real mother?” and “why only women live in this house?” It really intrigued me to think how this story will move forward.
We were assured that it won’t be a typical saas bahu drama and would be different from other shows. Knowing that seven mothers are going to be all senior actors, it was a great feeling to go ahead with such a great concept.
Any memorable moments with Farida and the other actors?
There are lots but I remember my first big scene with all seven mothers where we were sitting in the lawn and they were all upset that no girl is ready to come and live in this house because there are seven mothers. My character Vihaan tries to cheer them up.
I had a lot of lines, it was about a two page scene. That was a very big scene and I did that in one take and after that, Farida ji was kind enough to come and tell me this was my real test of performance when all of them were present and I did so well. She was really proud and happy and blessed me.
How is it working with Mugdha?
Mugdha is a wonderful co-actor. Both of us share a lot of similarities. She has been very compatible and understanding when at times I go overboard and want to rehearse continuously again and again just to make sure I’m right with the emotions of the scene. At times, I’m really so involved in the scene that I don’t want to talk. She has been extremely understanding with all these aspects and she is the best co-actor that I could have asked for in Satrangi.
If you are not happy with the content, will you move on or continue to work on the show?
As I said, content really matters. On TV it’s an ongoing saga. At some point in time if the actor is not happy with the content, he/she has the right to make decision about it. The writer is going to write what the audience wants, but there is also a creative satisfaction that an actor wants.
What’s in store for the fans in the show?
There has been so much of drama in the show. Going forward there’s going to be a lot of entertainment and drama. There will be lots of shocking changes that the entire Vatsal family will go through and also changes in the show as well. It is going to be a lot of entertainment.
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