Shardul Pandit, Kavita Kaushik and Naina Singh on Sunday entered Bigg Boss 14 as wild card contestants.
Pandit has been part of TV shows like Bandini, Kuldeepak, Sidhi Vinayak among others. Also a radio jockey by profession, he made headlines during the lockdown after announcing he was moving back to his hometown as there was no work for him. Before entering the Bigg Boss 14 house, Pandit spoke exclusively to indianexpress.com, giving more details about his low phase, why he thinks the show would open new doors for him and his take on this season’s contestants.
Excerpts from the conversation:
How did Bigg Boss 14 happen?
I think the belief that God eventually plans something good for you came true in my case. Honestly, I had given up on my acting career, left the profession and city when this came in. It’s a big reminder that there is always hope and things can turn around if you have faith and talent.
Could you tell us more about the phase where you had no work?
Honestly, I wouldn’t even want my enemies to go through a similar situation. And it was not just work-related but also personal. I was going through a relapse of jaundice, and my mother too was dealing with illness. With no work, there was extreme financial crunch. However, I believe whatever worse could happen has passed. The doctors were not even sure if I would make it. We were in talks for Shehnaaz ka Swyamvar, but things didn’t work out. And then this lockdown came in and put a halt to everything. I had no option but to move out of the city as I couldn’t even afford rent.
There is also a buzz that you made this up as a way to enter Bigg Boss.
If I am such a mastermind, I should enter politics. Honestly, I cannot stop people from talking about me. They were not around when I was facing these difficulties. And it’s quite easy to just judge others or make these rubbish assumptions. Bigg Boss makers are not stupid that they would fall for this lie. I am sure they must have done their research well before taking me on board. I had just Rs 1200 in my bank account. I wonder how I could have pulled such a PR stunt with that.
Why did you choose to enter as a wild card and not go in from the start?
Firstly, it’s not a wild card entry. It was a creative call that few contestants will enter after two weeks. When you are in a film, the writer plans your entry. Similarly, it was not in my hands to decide, but I am excited to join in.
Don’t you feel it would be a disadvantage given viewers have already chosen their favourites?
Yes, and these contestants not just got love and support for two extra weeks but also payment (laughs). However, I would look at the positive side. Every season, we have seen people saying they are not enjoying the show but soon getting addicted to it. I am entering in a time when people are already connected to the show. Also, there were these Toofani Seniors. Who would notice others in front of those champions? Hence I have no complaints, as this platform is a very important one for me right now regardless of when I enter.
What’s your take on the contestants of this season?
They are all very strong, kaafi kadak hai. But I don’t think I have any competition with them. All of them are already at some level while I am here restarting my career. They have a lot at stake while I have nothing to lose. And hence neither they are my competition nor would I be one for any of them.
What can we expect from you on Bigg Boss 14?
Honesty, reality and a lot of tadka. I hold the Limca Book of Records for hosting a show live for 19 hours, so you can expect a lot of entertainment. Most guys on reality shows want to portray themselves as someone who can fight at the drop of a hat. However, this is not a WWE show. I want to tell the world that I am an entertainer and looking for some good work.
Do you feel more work will come your way after this show?
Earlier, it was believed that actors who have no work do Bigg Boss. However, we have seen in the last few years that after doing the show, some celebrities have touched new heights. Look at Hina Khan, Vikas Gupta, Priyank Sharma or even Asim Riaz, they became such loved personalities. So I am very sure that more work will come my way.
You had also spoken about your mental health during this time. Will you use the platform to spread awareness?
When I had put up that status, I got so many calls from actors, who said they have experienced the same things but cannot speak about it. And the reason is that people would feel that we are doing this for publicity, or as you rightly mentioned, for Bigg Boss. However, it’s time people understand that depression and anxiety are like any normal illness. It’s a real thing and can happen to anyone. Bigg Boss being a real show, I think it would be a good platform to share it. As celebrities, one can earn money and fame from anywhere. but this would be an opportunity to touch people, and maybe influence some young minds. If I can do that, it would be my biggest victory.
Lastly, one of your best friends Karan Patel has often been on the show. Did he give you tips?
He is like a brother to me, but I really don’t want Karan to come in my season. He would make so much fun of me on camera that I will be really embarrassed (laughs). While he hasn’t given me any tips, I have learned a lot from him. There was so much negativity around him, but he never changed himself. And slowly, people understood and accepted him. They also got to see what a fantastic human being he is. Hence I would also like to be real in the show, and I am sure the audience will see my earnestness.
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