From the typical kitchen politics in the saas-bahu sagas to historical shows like Peshwa Bajirao, Suryaputra Karn, Ashoka and many others, the Indian television has witnessed a major shift in the recent years. And television actors who have always been on a lookout for versatile characters are the happiest with this evolution. Shaleen Bhanot who garnered much appreciation for his role of Duryodhan in Suryaputra Karn is back on television with yet another historical show – Sher-E-Punjab: Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The actor is all praises for such a drift on Indian television.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com Shaleen said, “It’s a great shift as metropolitan kids need to know about the Indian history and the culture of their country. Since today, parents are too busy to educate their children about these, I think children can definitely learn a lot from these shows.”
But, with people being quite sensitive about religion and history nowadays, wasn’t picking up such a subject, risky? “People must understand that we are here to entertain them and our intentions are very good. We are here to spread goodness and smile. This show is also a little initiative to guide the youth about a great warrior Maharaja Ranjit Singh so that they take away some lessons from the inspirational journey of this Sikh leader,” said Shaleen. He added, “Talking about the facts, there is a huge team who is taking care that nothing goes wrong. In-depth research has been done and best efforts have been made to not hurt anyone’s religious sentiments. But at the end of the day, we too are humans and could make mistakes.”
Being a non-Sikh and Punjabi, Shaleen was in a cultural shock when the creative team of the show approached him. But the actor took up the role of Maha Singh, father of Maharaja Ranjit Singh as a challenge. “This was by far the most challenging role I took up in my decade-long career because of the language barrier. Though it was interesting to learn a new language but it was tiring as well. That ‘assi’, ‘tussi’, ‘bhabhi’ all were difficult to pick up and above everything, the horse riding took a toll on me,” the actor said.
So what did you do to get into the character of Maha Singh? “I had to hire a Punjabi teacher which was another task living in Mumbai. For nine days I didn’t step out of my home. I watched Punjabi movies and listened to Punjabi folk music. Now I think I am quite good at it,” replied Shaleen.
Check out some pictures from the launch of Sher-E-Punjab: Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Sher-E-Punjab: Maharaja Ranjit Singh which airs on channel Life Ok also features actors Damanpreet Singh, Sneha Wagh, Rumi Khan and Sonia Singh in pivotal roles.