While Maniesh Paul was known to be a natural on stage, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5 (2012) kickstarted his journey as a star host. Since then, he is touted as one of the most popular celebrities for anchor shows. With the show back on TV after five years, Maniesh says that there is an ‘extra energy’ in everyone. He added that he’s very excited as the platform gives them a chance to have a lot of fun, especially with the judges Madhuri Dixit and Karan Johar.
Talking about his journey, Maniesh told indianexpress.com that it has been ‘fantastic’ and Jhalak has given him the chance to grow as an artist. “Things kept improving after that, as I got something new on the table. People also started noticing me a lot. ‘Kuch alag karta hai yeh’, they would say. The fun that I used to have with Madhuri ma’am, Karan sir and Remo Dsouza back then was something magical.”
While he’s hosted multiple reality shows, Maniesh started his career as an actor in 2007 with Chhoona Hai Aasmaan. He recently appeared in Jugjugg Jeeyo.
Now that he’s gaining fame as a host, we wondered if people have stopped seeing him as an actor. “Initially, it was the case but things have changed over time. People did feel that he’s funny, so isse funny kaam karwate hai. However, after JugJugg Jeeyo, I can see the change. Karan Johar played a big part in taking my small screen talent to the big screen. It may have been a small role but the response has been fantastic. I feel blessed that people today are now looking at me as an actor.”
The host also shared that he has lesser-known ‘jhalak’ to him that he can also be intense. He revealed that a producer has recently offered him a web show that will see him in a never-seen-before avatar. “When I heard about the character, I was like this is not me. And he told me that’s what we want. I am so happy that someone has shown that trust in me. I hope more makers can give me work, that can help me break that mould. That excites me as an actor.”
Given that Maniesh Paul has worked with the same team for a long time, there are chances that things may seem repetitive. However, he shared that there is no conscious decision to reinvent or do something new. He said, “I feel that when you try to do something new, it doesn’t click. As a team, we don’t work on every line rather most of it is impromptu. I think that’s the most beautiful thing about this show and our bond.” He also opened up about the criticism that TV hosts face for the kind of buffoonery that they need to indulge in for fun. He stated that for him everything is entertainment, and requested viewers to have fun rather than look at everything with a critical lens.
The Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa host also opened up about his tough phase in life. Sharing that every actor goes through a series of highs and lows, he’s never sought sympathy from anyone. He also added that he never even calls it a ‘struggle’ as that has been his journey. “Like Amitabh Bachchan once said ‘Jabtak jeevan hai, tabtak sangarsh hai’. I too believe in it and don’t look back at anything with regret. Hit or flops, I take onus of everything and have no blame or complaints.”
However, he did add that there was a time when he hit rock bottom but emerged out of it like a phoenix. “I remember before Jhalak, the whole year I was at home with no work. Swallowing meals would be tough. My wife was earning and so supportive throughout. God has been kind as after that phase, everything was just so much better. I think the fire that I developed during that phase helped me burn the stage,” Maniesh Paul added with a big smile.
Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa airs on Colors TV.