Mohit Raina is currently basking in the success of his digital debut, Kaafir. The ZEE5 original also stars Dia Mirza in the lead role. Written by Bhavani Iyer and directed by Sonam Nair, the eight-episode series chronicles the journey of a young Pakistani woman, who gets held as a prisoner after crossing over to India under mysterious circumstances. Mohit, who plays lawyer-journalist Vedant Rathore, takes it upon himself to set her free. Kaafir also touches upon the subject of prejudice and the ‘us versus them’ divide in the country.
Mohit has been a popular television face having played lead roles in shows like Mahadev, Ashoka and 21 Sarfarosh: Saragarhi 1897. Earlier this year, the actor made his Bollywood debut with the much-acclaimed Uri: The Surgical Strike. Mohit recently spoke to indianexpress.com about his shift from television, working with big banners and his love life.
Excerpts from the conversation:
While you have been a popular television face, was it a different kind of struggle for you in Bollywood?
Honestly, I feel it’s all about time. But one can’t be dependent on the past work. You have to start from zero, with a clean slate. There was a lot of unlearning to be done when I moved from TV to films. There would be opportunities but it is all up to you. How you milk the right offers and work it to your advantage.
You have mostly done strong characters with a nationalism angle. Do you want to stick to the genre knowing you are acing it?
I would love to do all kinds of roles. Yes, the past characters were strong but I have a lot of things lined up. The next roles will definitely take me out of my comfort zone. It will have me projecting different emotions. There’s Shiddat next which is a romantic film. There’s another project which has drama and emotions. So, you will see me in different flavours soon and I hope I keep getting the best roles.
Do you see yourself playing the lead actor in a big banner film someday?
Of course, it will all happen in its own time. One can’t force things. But yes, I am doing Shiddat next, which has me as the primary lead. Nothing happens overnight in the industry. It all takes time. Maybe after Kaafir, big producers will trust me with solo projects. They would be able to believe that I can shoulder a film.
There’s a loud buzz that you will be starring opposite Jacqueline Fernandes in Shirish Kunder’s Netflix film Mrs Serial Killer. Can you talk more about that?
There is nothing to talk about it right now. Let an official announcement happen first.
And are you still open to television offers?
Definitely. If there is something distinct and interesting to do, why not?
While you had a small part in Uri, it definitely got noticed. But according to you, which project has been a turning point in your life?
I don’t know. Every day is a learning process for me. Some projects make you and get you adulation. Others get you fame and money but one has to go on doing work. One can’t let success go to the head or failure pull you down. The journey will have its own ups and downs but one has to carry on.
While actors today are all out on social media, you are still not very active. Why so?
I need my own time and space. I am not a very social media kind of person. It takes time for me to adapt to these things. I respect my privacy and don’t believe in posting everything that goes in my life.
You recently posted a picture on Instagram with a mystery girl captioning it with a heart smiley. So, are you finally taken?
(Laughs) Not at all. It was just a random picture with a friend. I am single and trying to undo the tag. But guess there’s a little hardship before that happens. It was a normal picture. Nothing special.