After several auditions and tests, Manish Wadhwa was finally tipped in to play the legendary character, and undoubtedly the magic worked.
The high ratings of the show proved the show to be a success and today we have Manish Wadhwa talking to Telly Buzz about his journey in the industry that finally destined him to do the role of Chanakya.
How has your journey been so far in TV?
I would rather call it a journey in my acting career as acting is my passion and first love and the journey has been really nice. Before I moved into television, I was into theatre and my acting career took off from there.
After your negative role in Mitwa, did you ever expect such a historical role to come to you?
Nothing happens as expected in this industry and we never know what is going to happen with anybody. Even after the look test of Chanakya, I was not really sure of the character as it is a complicated one. Chanakya was neither completely positive nor negative. Whatever he did was keeping in mind his empire and I have never done a character like that. When I was in school I had studied about the character and I used to think about portraying it on screen. Today I can say that I am doing my dream role and I am completely satisfied.
Were you apprehensive in taking up this role?
Not really. Frankly speaking, when the role was finalized I first wondered about shaving my head (laughs). I had two minds whether to do it or not. Normally for films it is fine to use a wig, but on a daily basis, it is a bit difficult. The role is also such that nobody can refuse and hence I finally decided to take it up and shave off my head. And today I have to shave every alternate day.
How do you feel today essaying the epitome character of Chanakya?
I feel wonderful playing the character because this is like a dream come true and I have no words to express my feelings.
The show has got a great beginning and ratings are soaring high. How is the feeling in the camp?
I am happy that viewers like it which gives assurance that we are on the right track. But at the same time there is a responsibility that we have now to keep up the expectations.
How is to work with imagine?
Imagine is a very good channel and they are completely into the show. In fact, every channel has their dedication that is put into each show
What kind of preparations had you to put in for the role?
There are a lot of voice modulations in the character, but I am thankful to my theatre days and experience that I am able to do that well.
Did you have to perform any stunts?
Chanakya is not a warrior; he is intellectually solid and is a political person. He does everything with his mind.
How is it working with the prodigy Rushiraj Pawar?
Rushiraj is more than an actor and he knows how to be with his senior actors. He knows everything and grasps things very easily. He is a very hardworking boy and at times I feel that he was Chandragupta Maurya in his last birth. He is fun to be with and is ready to do what he is told to do.
How is your off-screen rapport with him?
I share a great rapport with him off screen as well and I would say we have a similar relation to what we have on screen. Whenever he feels exhausted or tired, I used to encourage him a lot to buck up and show his strength. And he is always ready for it.
How is it to shoot in Sagar City in Baroda?
It is really hot these days and I feel the climate is drier than in Mumbai. It is like another Film City.
What can we look forward in the track now?
The new track revolves around the new teachers in Maurya's life where he will be trained and set for his Vir Yatra.
Your memorable scene in Chandragupta Maurya till now.
The introduction scene was a tough one to do because we were shooting the scene in water in the month of January. I had to stay in water for nearly four hours and the tough part was, I should not be seen shivering with cold while conveying the dialogues.
Any memorable fan interaction?
Actually I did not get much time for that as I am shooting here in Baroda. But I have been getting mails from my old friends about the performance. They have all been very positive.
What is your message to viewers?
Thank you so much for accepting me as Chanakya and also the show. Even though I shaved off my head, aapne mujhe aapke sar pe bitha diya (smiles). Thank you so much and keep watching the show.
Reporter and Author: Saranya Valsarajan