Bollywood actor Shreyas Talpade recently ventured back to television with My Name Ijj Lakhan. The dramedy has the Golmaal actor play a local goon with a heart of gold. Parmeet Sethi and Archana Puran Singh are seen as Shreyas’ parents in the 26-episode series.
Shreyas recently spoke exclusively to indianexpress.com about his new TV show, the TRP battle and his return to direction.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. What made you choose My Name Ijj Lakhan as your TV comeback?
I was completely sold by the character and concept. Director Paritosh (Painter) and I have been discussing the concept and were wondering whether we should make a film or web show out of it. He then, by chance, spoke to the head of SAB TV and they really wanted it to happen on their channel. But I am not a daily soap person, so we decided on making it a limited series. I haven’t attempted something like this ever so I was really kicked about the role. I have also wanted to do a typical tapori role for a long time. So everything just fell in place.
Q. Your role is packed with action, romance and emotion. But do you feel it came a little late in your career?
I think it’s better late than never (smiles). I feel there is a time for everything. I have been waiting for such a role to come my way. And it would have been foolish of me to say no to this. This is also a great opportunity to prove myself. There might have been people who wanted me to cast for something like this but were not sure. Now they will know what all I can do.
Q. Television is also a money minting industry. Was that ever in your mind?
Well, money is a very personal choice. There have been times when I have let go of money to work on certain projects because I believed in them. Also, one cannot miss the opportunity of making a library of good work for money sake. You never know when something catches the eye of filmmakers. While money is important to me it’s not the driving force. I will never take up a project only to increase my bank balance.
Q. Do you think TV is still looked down upon compared to Bollywood?
I am surprised why it’s still considered as the small screen and given step-motherly treatment. The reach is much bigger than movies. And the biggest TV stars earn as much as film stars. I didn’t think of it as a step down rather a chance to reinvent myself. From the serious hero to comedy, I now want to perform different genres. These are the kind of challenges that motivate an actor to do better.
Q. How comfortable have you become with the TRP game that rules TV shows?
Honestly, I am not thinking about it at all. Over the years, you start understanding that your happiness cannot be contingent on success, failure or ratings. I am enjoying my work without these worries. But yes, feedback is something really important for me. And luckily, in today’s time, in just a click you get all your answers on social media.
Q. You have earlier produced Marathi TV shows. Any plans of helming a Hindi series?
I did try production in 2015 but I didn’t really have a good experience. So I don’t think I want to do it again. But as they say, never say never.
Q. And what about getting back to direction?
I am working on a script currently. The lead role requires an A-lister, someone like Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn or Shah Rukh Khan. So I am waiting to get them to say a yes. And then we will be rolling.
My Name Ijj Lakhan airs every weekend at 7:30 pm on SAB TV.