You had been missing from the small screen for sometime, why did you choose to make your comeback as Vasant inGulaal?
I was never intentionally away from TV. I work in a show only if the role compliments me and helps me grow as an actor. I usually have a gap of 3 months to a year before I accept a new role. My last role was in Mr. and Mrs. Mishra on Sahara one. I try to do just one project a year because the subjects I normally come across are the typical stuff. I want my character to be a class apart and am willing to wait for the right role. All my roles in the past have been challenging and mature and I have even played a woman in Babul Ka Aangan Chootey Na. I had never played a character like Vasant before and he is a contrast to all my previous roles. Gulaal is an amazing blend of a great setup, fantastic director and cast and brilliant cinematography.
How easy or difficult was it to slip into the character of Vasant?
Normally when the script is narrated to me, I start visualizing the character, but in this case I found it difficult to do so. Our director Siddharth Sengupta is brilliant. He supported me brilliantly and our wavelength matched perfectly. I admire the way he thinks and makes you come into his tangent. I would describe him as an intelligent and creative man. Under his directon when you watch yourself on screen you get mesmerized by your own performance. I have learnt so much from him.
How did you work towards perfecting the Kutch dialect for the show?
I did not really work on it much because we have tried not to go into it too deeply, keeping the audience all over India and also abroad in mind.
The introductory episode had a scene where you are sleeping in the desert. Did you face any difficulty shooting that scene?
We shot that much later, about a month after the shoot started. I wanted it to be shot earlier because it was my introductory scene and I wanted to get my first note right. When we finally shot it I did not face any difficulty, infact I enjoyed shooting it.
How was the experience of shooting in Rajasthan?
Rajasthan has lovely locations. People usually go to Goa for a romantic weekend but I would suggest they opt for the beautiful Jaisalmer.
How has the experience of working with co-stars Manasi Parekh and Manoj Joshi been?
I have worked with Manoj ji in the past, so our tuning is very good. I had heard about Manasi before Gulaal but never interacted with her. She is a director's actress, very spontaneous and natural. I feel astonished seeing her performance in the show.
Any memorable incident while shooting or memorable scene from the show?
There have been plenty of memorable incidents. In Jaisalmer we were shooting outdoors and every morning I used to find myself on top of a camel (laughs). Everyday is a new experience. Gulaal is shot on a huge canvas and has an original script.
Do you think Gulaal will match up to the popular show Bidaai which it has replaced?
I don't watch TV much but I have heard that Bidaai had done wonders. Everything actually depends on the audience and the two shows are totally different. The only common thing between Bidaai and Gulaal is the time slot and channel.
Why according to you is the most interesting part of the show?
Everything from the direction by Mr. Siddharth Sengupta to the acting to cinematography is interesting.
What can we expect to see in upcoming episodes?
There is loads that you can expect to see on the show. Gulaal is an ocean, it's more like a film on TV, not just a daily soap. It has a love story as well as war between villages. The show is not restricted to just one family or person. I have never seen anything like this on TV and thank Allah for making me a part of Gulaal. It is brilliantly written and the camera work will leave you awestruck.
You have earlier worked in a show like Hatim which was of the fantasy genre. Do you enjoy fantasy or realistic shows more?
Whatever I do whether it is anchoring, acting in a documentary or daily soap I enjoy everything. Whether it works or does not is not in my hand. My reward is when the audience accepts my work. Hatim was a landmark for me. It is probably the only show that has consecutive reruns since the past 5 years but I did not want to be typecast in the Hatim type image. I kept breaking the image that I had created in my previous show with every new show that I signed.I broke my Hatim image with Saarthi and broke that image with Yeh Meri Life Hai and so on. I dreamt of playing a cop and that wish was fulfilled with Mr and Mrs Mishra. Now I am Vasant of Gulaal who is madly in love with his village and can do anything for it.
Any message for your fans on Starplus.in?
Love your parents as they are the best gift that God has given. People are influenced by western culture a lot these days but please never forget your roots.
Keep watching Gulaal every Monday-Friday at 9pm on STAR Plus