What made you take on the offer to host Halla Bol?
Halla Bol is a show with a cause, and that’s definitely the prime reason that attracted me to it. It is about women, who fight back. I remember discussing the heinous gangrape incident in Delhi with my father, and feeling miserable about women being helpless in a democratic country like ours. So, when I was told about Halla Bol, I was very excited as it’s nice to see women fight back, and not see them being made to feel helpless or guilty and victimised. I don’t think we have seen anything like this show on television so far.
When a show highlights the problems that women face, it is also essential that the host be sensitive while dealing with it. How has that been for you?
We have a fantastic team from the channel, which puts in a lot of efforts in writing a script; we all sit down together, and discuss it before shooting. There are certain norms that need to be followed. We can’t hurt anybody’s sentiments. We have to be politically correct, and yet make a point, and appeal to women, men, the society and the government (for that matter) to do their bit to live in harmony. Even if we feel very passionate about raising the issue, we have to be correct about it.
What are the thoughts that go on in your head as a man hosting a woman-oriented show?
It’s important to have a man hosting the show that is about women, because we’re talking about women as victims, and making an appeal to men as well. Why do women have to think ten times before venturing out at night, when men can easily roam about freely any where? Women should also enjoy the same right and freedom. So, it’s an appeal to men that it’s high time they stop looking at women as an object of desire. Instead, it’s every man’s moral responsibility to protect every woman, not just women in the house. I’m honoured that the channel approached me to do it. When you have a television face attached to it, it’s natural that it brings more eyeballs to the show. I would be glad if I could bring in some audience, so there’s more awareness. On the personal front, I also support a lot of charities like ‘Save The Girl Child’. I’m an out-an-out feminist. I respect women a lot, and I truly believe that men exist because of women. I come from a household where I have 11 cousin sisters, which is why I feel strongly about the subject and am emotionally attached to the show.
How is hosting different from acting on television?
I love hosting. When you play a character for a very long time, your identity gets lost somewhere. Hosting gives you an edge as an actor and really brings out your real personality. It lets the audience know what kind of a person you are and how you think.
Now that you’ve discovered the joys of hosting, will that overshadow acting?
I really enjoy acting, it will be my topmost priority. A lot goes into the making of a character. When I hear a narration, I go back home and write down certain aspects of the character that I am going to play and try to understand the lifestyle of the person. That’s always been a habit with me. It’s a fun exercise and not always about looking pretty on-screen.
So what’s next on the cards?
As far as fiction is concerned, if I hear something exciting, I would love to do it. But, I’m not liking anything these days. In my earlier shows, all my characters were different from the other. Doing similar roles is not creatively exciting, so I’m not doing anything for the moment. Actors are emotional people, so as and when I find something exciting, I’ll do it. Besides, these days channels are coming up with new-age concepts, and moving away from the saas-bahu dramas. It’s a good sign as the audience need to see shows that reflect their reality, the changing pattern of relationships in today’s world etc. So, hoping something exciting comes my way soon.