But portraying such a character is no way affecting Vishwajeet Pradhan and in a candid chat, he opens up his mind on being part of such a show and his journey as an actor that started from Fauji.
You have been in this industry for so long. What are the landmarks of your career?
I had the opportunity of working with pioneers like Badal Sircar, Safdar Hashmi, Habib Tanvir and also Naseeruddin Shah in Theatre. I started out my work during my college days as a production assistant to Arundhati Roy and her husband Pradip Kishen who directed the show Bargad. On my landmarks on-screen, Fauji was surely the starting point. I got the break in films by Feroze Khan with his movie Yalgaar. I have also worked with some of the most popular banners and directors like Rajiv Rai ,GP Sippy, the Nadiadwalas, the Ghais, the Kapoors, the Bhatts, the Khans,Ramgopal Verma, the Duttas,the Sharmas and the Bazmees.
How was the experience of working with Shah Rukh Khan in Fauji?
Wonderful, and he is pretty much the same even now. Only that he has a lot more work to do and many responsibilities on his shoulders. He had the abilty and he took risks and experimented.
Do you miss that you never got to work with SRK in any film?
I have worked in three films with him like Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and Chalte Chalte (both directed by Azia Mirza) and also a cameo in the Yash Johar produced & Mahesh Bhatt directed, Duplicate.
Did you ever meet SRK in Mumbai after the boy from Fauji became the King Khan?
Yes of course, after all I have worked with him in films. He has come up from scratch on his own and is quite an inspiration.
How did Maryaada Lekin Kab Tak? happen?
I got a call from Deeya and Tony's production house DJ' Creative Unit and I decided to do it.
People think you are as cunning in real life as SSP Brahmanand Jakhar. Comment.
Its natural for people to believe the screen image and they love to hate Brahma. I am glad they do and my success lies in their hands. But then, no hero is as noble as he appears on screen and no villain is as evil as his on-screen avatar. It's actually the opposite.
Your chemistry with Kamya Punjabi is quite talked about. How do you feel?
Kamya is a wonderful actress and a thorough professional, though obsessed with her iPhone 4(laughs). We have been able to achieve a certain comfort level with each other which is essential for a natural performance, especially romantic.
Because you are shooting for a daily soap you have lost many film offers. Do you regret it?
Well yes, I did miss out on some good film offers but at the same time a character actor has to match dates with the heroes'. And long outdoors are a part of a film shoot which I could not manage because of my commitment to a daily soap. But I am trying to balance both. A wonderful film & a wonderful role should never be allowed to let go off from your hands .
What do you enjoy more; films, television or plays? Why?
All three are challenging and have their own pros and cons. But from an actor's point of view, theatre is amazing because once the performance begins on stage the actor is the King. But you earn less.
You are also into politics. How active are you as a Congress member? What are your political goals?
I am just following the family tradition and my father till his death was a senior Congress leader. I have been taking active part in the party activities as per the directives of the party bosses. In Rahul Gandhi ,we have a young leader who has his heart in the right place.We need to stop criticizing and start participating positively.
You are from Allahabad like Amitabh. Do you find any similarity in his and your journey?
My birth place is Meerut, but yes I have finished my studies from Allahabad University. Bachchan saab's journey is beyond comparison. But yes, watching him on screen, he has somewhere sown the seeds of acting in films in me. I did a cameo in Buddah Hoga Tera Baap and just to be able to work with him is a great experience.
Senior character actors hardly get their due recognition as young actors grab the limelight. What's your view point?
It is mostly true, but now I feel TV has rectified that mistake and amidst a lot of competition and TRP baiting, good character actors are getting their due.
You play a character who is at least ten years older to you in real life. Does that trend of actors playing far older roles than their age affect you?
Flexibility is a sign of good performers.Young Sanjeev Kumar did wonders playing father to Amitabh Bachchan and also,Rakhi played his heroine as well as his mother. I am glad I have got an amazing character like Brahmanand Jakhar to play, who has so many shades. For me, age is not a matter at all.
You have got an immense response for your role in Maryada. But since the content target segment is adult and time slot is also 11 pm don't you feel you are reaching out only to the adult and selective audience?
That is the best part. That in spite of the odd time slot we have a large and loyal viewership which is increasing everyday. Maryada has created a new time slot for channels successfully.
How do you feel working for a daily soap? Isn't it difficult to handle the pressures and erratic shoot schedules?
Whether its a Test Match, a One Day or a T-20, for a lover of the game, cricket is cricket. So is with me, a daily soap on TV is more like a T-20 wherein you should gain maximum runs in the minimum overs. That's where specialists come in, the Gladiators which we are.
You have a wife who totally supports you. How much credit will you give her for contributing to your career?
It's a big help if your partner is supporting you and I am fortunate to have a positive partner. Marriage is a journey where the partners have to travel in a common direction and God forbid, if the tugs are in opposite direction, then God, save the Queen.
What is your fitness funda?
Eat right, exercise wisely, sleep sufficiently and don't worry yourself to death.
How do you unwind yourself?
By travelling, reading, watching movies and spending time alone. I..ME..Myself. I play with my son and daughter and read out to them and listen to them.
What do you like to watch on television?
TLC is my favourite channel wherein with the flick of a remote button, you are in Turkey or Japan or Canada or anywhere in the world. It helps to experience the lovely world vicariously. I also watch news channels for a short time just to stay updated and also watch good films if any.
How is it working with Indrani and Kamya Punjabi?
Wonderful. Both are very professional. Indrani is a National Award winner and has been acting since childhood. So she is quite a veteran already. Kamya is also full of energy and devoted to her craft with a flair for comedy .
Any interesting incident from the sets?
During the monsoons we used to have a tough time shooting as we have water-logging problems throughout the season. So many a times Jakhar's house had the look of a mini swimming pool even at 9 AM. But, in a couple of hours after the water cleared, we used to shoot as if everything was normal on-screen, when it was actually wet so wet. So much for screen magic.
How do you manage to give time to your kids?
It is extremely important for me to spend time with my son and daughter. I try my best to be with them. If we don't give them time now they won't have time for us later. These are magical times when children are young.Their life revolves around their mom and dad. So this wonderful period should not be allowed to go waste under the guise of being busy. Eat..pray..play..live...enjoy together.
Do you have a fetish?
Can the love for sweets and chocolates be termed as a fetish ?
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Wherever I may be, I would like to be healthy, happy and prosperous with my family. The whole world is my oyster.
What are your future plans?
Life is an adventure and a gift from God. Hence, I would like to explore the world and be with the nature. At the same time, be useful to the society and people at large.