What made you come back to Madhubala, especially in a different character all together?
All I know is that this character is going to be challenging for me. I have yet to get a proper brief from producer Abhinav Shukla. I was just told that it’s a very intriguing role, and he thought I could do justice to it. We’re yet to work on the nitti-grities, but I am happy that I will be able to do something that I haven’t done so far.
You’ve played R.K for long, and the character was very popular among the audience. How difficult is it going to be to break that image, especially in the same show?
I’ve totally believed in the audience, because these are the people who make and break us. All I can do is work doubly hard, than I did for R.K, and hopefully, the audience will love the new character as well. Initially, yes, it will be difficult for me, as I’ve been told by the producers that it’s something that I’ve never done on television before, but I will work towards it.
Does television and its deadlines give you scope to prepare or enhance your creativity as an actor?
I actually don’t like to prepare and am bad at it. I’m not a method actor, because I think that if I have a fixed notion of my character and if I only stick to that, then it’ll be boring for me to play the character and it’ll also be monotonous for the audience. I’m still learning and I’m no expert, but I personally feel that spontaneity is a must in an actor, and that’s what pulls the audience as well. When you spontaneously do a scene, and you get reactions from people present on the set, including the lightman, then it makes you confident, because they are reacting as an audience.
Television is extremely hectic with its erratic schedules. Does that affect you in any way?
Television is hectic, but that’s what I chose to do. Having said that, I totally believe that the television scenario needs to get better because it takes a toll on an actors’ health. There have been many actors who have left television as they could not cope with the pressure. It has improved though, after some actors have put their foot down. It’s difficult to get time, but when I do, I always like to spend time with my family.
What’s more difficult for you—delivering heavy dialogues or just expressing through body language?
I think it’s very difficult when you have to express an emotion through your eyes and body language. Saying dialogues is much more easier than making someone understand your character’s point of view through facial expressions.
Indian television and soaps are still largely about melodrama, and thrive on emotions. Which is the most challenging emotion to express for you as an actor?
I think, for me, the most difficult emotion is crying as I hardly use glycerin. There have been times however, when I haven’t been able to cry naturally and had to use glycerin. Then, sometimes, you may be in a bad mood and your day has started on a bad note, and your next scene requires you to be jovial. I take each day as a challenge, not just as an actor but also as an individual, as we are constantly learning.
Your popularity is what actually played a role in the makers wanting to bring you back on the show. How do you deal with this kind of attention, which may sometimes even lead to arrogance?
I really feel blessed to have fans, because they give me a push, and motivate me to work harder. It makes me nervous, because there are expectations, but you have to work hard everyday. I think one should appreciate it, because God has blessed you with people who love you. The pay cheques and popularity are on one side of the scale, while on the other is the love that you get from people, which is more valuable. The appreciation gives me the constant energy to perform. But I’m at a learning stage, and I shouldn’t take my popularity very seriously.
It could be because of the broody characters that you play, but does the perception of you being slightly eccentric and arrogant bother you?
When you’re working so long for a fiction show, people tend to relate you with your character. They start imagining you as that character, which is not the real me. At times, I get bogged down, because people then think that I am arrogant. There have been instances, when I’ve bumped into people I know, or a few journalists and haven’t noticed them. It’s not done on purpose, as I’m always pre-occupied with my thoughts and am lost in my own world. Besides, I have a bad memory. But when someone greets me, I have always been cordial and reciprocated. I’m not a friendly person on a regular basis and cannot make friends easily. I feel, one must judge a person by the way he treats people who are below him. No matter who it is, I always behave in a cordial manner with everyone on the sets. And there’s never been a time when I haven’t been nice to someone who’s come and spoken to me. So, I don’t pay attention to what people say about me.