What did you like about Ek Haseena Thi that made you pick up the show?
I wasn’t really looking to do any show on television, but then I met Siddharth Malhotra, who is the producer of the show, and he wanted me to hear something. When I heard the concept, I thought it was very different from the usual saas-bahu shows. There’s a lot of mystery, suspense and drama in it. The team has been working on the project since two years, and I’ve been associated with it since the last one and a half years. Every episode has so much twist to it, that the audience would want to see the next episode immediately. Earlier when people saw the promos, they thought it would be a horror show, but now it’s clear that it’s a suspense thriller, and so far the response has been good.
Tell us about your character Shaurya, and the traits you had to work on for this character.
Usually, as an actor, I’m quite spontaneous, but for this character, I had to watch the mannerisms of a lot of people. My character is very stylish, flamboyant, arrogant, and with a lot of attitude. Sometimes it’s also about the day-to-day activities that a character does differently. Like the way my character Shaurya talks on phone is very different. It was difficult since the character is arrogant, and a spoilt brat which is a complete contrast from what I am.
Television largely is about a lot of drama and emotions. So, how comfortable are you with expressing various emotions in this suspense thriller?
I think the most difficult emotion for me is laughter. Other emotions also aren’t easier than doing comedy. But since this show is pretty serious, there was no question of comedy. There will be times when something will make people laugh, but then obviously, there won’t be an element of slapstick comedy.
So many years down the line, people still remember Just Mohabbat. What has changed from then?
The biggest difference is, that time the show was once a week, now most shows are six days a week. It’s way more hectic than it used to be. We’ve been working on this show for so long now, and have already shot for about 28 episodes so it’s not that hectic though. Today the scale of a project, and the production values have gone up. We’d spent so much on the promo shoot for Ek Haseena Thi, we’d done city tours, and none of this existed earlier. People are liking television shows more now I guess, that’s why the serials have gone six days a week. As far as I’m concerned, I feel I have evolved as an actor. I feel nobody can teach you acting. It’s only when you work more, that you learn more. The more you practice, the better you get. So, over the years, it’s the experience that has made me get used to the atmosphere, and become less inhibited.
How do you work on your dialogues?
Again, it’s the experience that teaches you, I think. I remember during Just Mohabbat, I would take two hours for learning two lines. It was so difficult, but now that I’m working for so many years, it tends to get easy.
What else interests you on television?
A while ago, I did Jhalak Dikhlaja, so I’m open to doing anything interesting that comes my way. But it has to be something that I would love doing. So far, whatever work I’ve done, I’m very proud of it, and loved doing the roles I did. As of now though, this show is taking up all my time, and concentration. But I’ve been told that it’s a finite series, and not a never-ending show which would drag forever.
Is television also mentally stressful sometimes?
Yes, it’s difficult mentally, because you’re shooting for long hours, and then have these lengthy dialogues, and you have to do it with so much intensity, that it drains you. I try and take 2-3 days off, sometimes. I also play cricket for Sohail Khan’s team Mumbai Heroes, so doing things like that, and being with friends, is quite de-stressing!