Mohit Raina has managed to leave an impact with his fierce act of Major Karan Kashyap in 2019’s first blockbuster Uri: The Surgical Strike. The actor, known for playing Lord Shiva in hit TV show Devon Ke Dev – Mahadev, has made a smooth transition to Bollywood with the Aditya Dhar directorial, starring Vicky Kaushal in the lead.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Raina talks about how it was getting noticed even in a small role, life post-Uri and the best compliment he has received so far.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. How’s the josh right now?
It has crossed all limits. It is through the roof. It is too high!
Q. Did you ever think a special appearance role will get you so much limelight?
No, I hadn’t thought it would be so much! I had imagined the love. There was some expectation but obviously, it has surpassed all. It has gone to another level and it’s a great feeling.
Q. How was your experience of working in Uri?
When it comes to the Army and what they do for us, we cannot repay them in any way but that emotion was on the back of everybody’s mind to show the globe what our defence forces can do. So the intention of everybody was that they wanted the project to look good and that paid off immensely. Everybody must have compromised in their own capacity to make the project look good because everybody was so attached to the story and the script.
Q. What was the toughest part of playing Major Karan Kashyap?
Aditya (director) wanted everyone to go through the training because he wanted everyone to look like Special Forces commandos. I trained with the team for two months. We used to do workshops where all of us bonded really well.
The difficult part was to actually train throughout the day because the level of training in the army is really intense. Other than that everything was smooth. And now everyone would like to go back and do the training again, start from scratch!
Q. Can we say you have become half a sniper?
It’s become much better. Now, those are the perks of the profession. So I got a trainer in Bombay and then while shooting in Serbia too as we were using their weapons. From a layman’s perspective, it (shooting ability) is decent now.
Q. What was the best compliment you received for the film?
I got the best compliment from Rohit Shetty. He said that you have an amazing screen presence and you look really good in uniform. The uniform has its own charm, charisma and power. It was very sweet of him!
Q. What has been more exciting – playing the mythical Lord Shiva or a realistic army officer?
Every character has its own charm. I did a show called 21 Sarfarosh – Saragarhi 1897, based on the Sikh regiment’s battle in 1897. So for an actor, he doesn’t work for the medium, he works for the camera. The camera might go the digital zone or a film zone or a TV. But the actor is working as the character. So you have to become anybody. You can become a Lord Shiva, you can become a Samrat Asoka or you can become a Sardar who is fighting a battle or you can become Major Karan Kashyap.
Q. Do you think you were getting typecast doing all those costume dramas on TV?
No, I was the one who was taking them. Maybe I just got too attached to the characters which had power and command. I loved playing them because they had a lot of scope.
In this story also (Uri), you know from A to Z what is going to happen because that has already taken place. To replicate it on screen, gives you an adrenaline rush. It’s a very exciting feeling to play those characters which have existed in reality and which have a lot of power and can generate a lot of command.
Q. Despite being a media shy person, your personal life remains the talk of the town. How do you deal with it?
I don’t have a great social life as such. I have been this person for a while now. Maybe slowly and slowly I would love to change it because that’s how things function at times. But it’s just happening. It’s not like it is planned. It’s just happening.
Q. So, what next from your end?
I have finished working on a digital series. I will be doing more now. One digital series and one feature film. Let’s hope a formal announcement will be made soon.