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Debonair Mr. Bajaj

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Posted: 31 December 2004 at 5:13am | IP Logged

Debonair Mr. Bajaj

Jenika Shah
Posted online: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 0000 hours IST

He started his career as a dishwasher in a hotel. His debut film Jaan Tere Naam in 1992 was a huge hit. After which he started his own security agency called 'Ace Security and Protection' providing security options to some of the top stars. Today, Ronit Roy plays the inimitable millionaire - Rishabh Bajaj in Balaji Telefilms' Kasautii Zindagi Kay aired on STAR Plus. Shooting at Future Studios in Goregaon, he talks about his life and his role as Rishabh Bajaj

 

Your debut film Jaan Tere Naam was a success at the box office. But what happened after that? Why did you take such a long gap before acting again?
I believe that success is a journey, especially for an actor, as he has to keep performing. After my debut film was a hit, I did 13 other feature films but due to various reasons they did not work. I have a habit. Every six months, I think back and contemplate about my life and whether the steps I took were in the right direction. The turning point in my life came when I was shooting for one of my films and one young girl came to my co-star for an autograph. My co-star casually asked her what does her father do? This made me think. How will it be when my daughter says that her father is an actor? I decided that whatever work I do, it must be good and most importantly recognised. That's when I decided to start afresh. I started my own business and then just waited for the right opportunities.

And the right opportunity came with the role of Rishabh Bajaj?
Yes. After three years of business, Balaji Telefilms called me for the role of Rishabh Bajaj. I took it up as a challenge because I strongly believe that you cannot prove yourself till you are given a chance. It is like a race, where you have to run in order to win.

Was the decision to come onto the small screen a very difficult one?
Everyone says that it does not matter to him or her whether it is the big screen or the small screen. But I mean it. In the end it is your performance that matters, which always keeps changing from screen to screen. A character portrayal on the small screen as opposed to the big screen will be very different. At the end of the day, it is all about the performance. People say that currently I am biggest star on Indian television. I would like to think that I am at least one of the biggest stars on Indian television today. When people come to me with film offers I tell them give me something bigger than Bajaj and I will do it.

One similarity between both your characters of Mihir Virani in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Rishabh Bajaj in Kasautii... is that both of them are older characters. You are not playing your age.
That's true. But again I think that your entire perspective about a character changes when you think that you are a star. It really should not matter whether you are playing an older character or if you are not portraying your age. For example, I am going to Australia to shoot for Kyunki... where I have to play Mihir Virani as he was 20 years back. So here again my character will become very much younger than what I have been playing currently in the serial. The key is to adapt to the character along with the changes introduced in it.

The character of Mihir Virani had already been played by two actors previously. What made you accept the role?

After playing the character of Rishabh Bajaj I wanted to do something which would be bigger than Bajaj. Balaji and the directors of the serial had turned Mihir Virani's character into an icon. When I was offered the role of Mihir Virani, there were different schools of thought. I was given four hours to decide. I decided to take it up as a challenge. There was a lot of pressure since there were too many expectations. But I have always performed better under pressure. So when I came on air as Mihir Virani, I received a tremendous response. People began saying that I was the best 'Mihir' among all the three 'Mihirs'.

The character of Rishabh Bajaj has been really popular. What was the brief given to you for this character? What is your personal contribution to this character?
The basic brief given to me about Rishabh Bajaj was that he was a man in his mid-40's who has achieved a lot in life, is a thorough professional and has salt-pepper hair. The character of Bajaj has grown from day one. With every episode, new sides and aspects of his character are being revealed. Apart from being a shrewd businessman, he also has a softer side which include the love for his children and affection for Prerna. I have been getting into the skin of the different variations in the character.

Are there any similarities between Ronit Roy and Rishabh Bajaj?
There are a few similarities. Bajaj must be very well brought up, just like me. But there are a whole lot of differences too. Bajaj is very ruthless when it comes to business but I have never done anything ruthless even in business. I have never snatched other people's work or played dirty politics. I have immense faith in destiny. Whatever I deserve I will get. Also Bajaj is very rigid in his relationships, while I am completely the opposite. He also dresses very well always in three-piece suits, while I can be seen in a casual jeans and T-shirt with floaters. And, of course, he is millionaire which I am not. (Laughs).

The response to Bajaj's character has been overwhelming. How do you handle this entire fan following?
Well, it is really very flattering. Some women come and touch my feet. They kiss my hand. I get letters not only from women, but also from men, adults, and also children complementing my performance. I feel proud to have reached this stage in my life. I take all this appreciation as my award and recognition and it encourages me to do better work. I have come a long way and I think that all the rethinking and improvisation has finally paid off.

Now that your television career is really looking up, are you getting any film offers?
Yes, I am getting film offers. I have got around seven film offers, but I am not doing any one of them. This is because when producers come to me, they come with the Jaan Tere Naam Ronit Roy in mind. I tell them to come with a character bigger and better than Bajaj and I will definitely do their film. Right now, I am very happy with Balaji and my serials. I have no greed for money, name or fame.

What are the kind of roles that you are looking at?
There are no specific roles, but they must be very different. The role must appeal to me. Work has always come to me, so I am sure good roles will definitely come my way.

Which is the one character that you would like to portray in the future?
It is not a particular character but it is a story I have in mind. It is a story set during the British Raj - when they had these drummers called Dhakis. I would like to play that Dhaki. I might also make a film based on this story some time in the future.

What are plans for the future?
I am already working in another Balaji serial called Kammal and another serial on DD1 called Phool Aur Patthar. I also plan to build a tranquil, divine and spiritual retreat in Goa redefining the meaning of a holiday in Goa. Besides managing my own security agency, I also plan to get into some hotel projects, since I started my career as a dishwasher in a hotel.

 



 

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