He is admired for his artistic temperament and esteemed for his personable and deferential persona. Raqesh Bapat of Life Ok’s popular ‘Bahu Hamari Rajni Kant’ speaks with Dhrithi Sudhakar Gulvadi about the changes in the character, his attempt towards comedy and more…
You had been performing for serious roles before, how is your approach towards comedy?
It’s challenging that I’ve never attempted anything like this before. If there are no challenges in an actor’s life, then it becomes neutral. It becomes monotonous and boring. I always wanted to do comedy and I used to love this show. I have been a fan of Small Wonders while growing up. I was very happy that somebody attempted this genre. I knew Sonali before. She’s the producer and the writer of our show. I met her and told her that I love her show; I am a fan of her show and would have been glad if I had done this show from the beginning. I didn’t know about replacement, but she told me that they were replacing the character and asked me to come and meet. The creatives and the co actors are so sweet that they are helping me with the genre. It’s becoming quite easy because I am fitting into the role. First two days were difficult, but slowly I am coping with it. However, it’s adaptable. I feel that comedy is the toughest thing to do than any kind of serious kind of roles.
What made you wait to return in television?
I wanted to do good roles. I really don’t care about what the TRP ratings would be. My main focus is when I go back and sleep, I should feel happy that I did something good throughout the day. That’s what I keep looking for when I take up any work. The vibe should be correct and the energy should match with the people who I work with. I look at all of these things. I am not a person who believes in the number game. I go by what the heart says.
What inspired you to do regional movies?
Because I am a Maharashtrian and Marathi is my mother tongue, so obviously, I wanted to do something in Marathi. The film that I did was a remake of a South Indian film, which was a blockbuster in the south. For the first time in Marathi, they (the makers) were experimenting pure action in the film. I love doing action sequences. I took it as a challenge as well. I liked the people I was working with and that is the reason I chose to do the film. I never plan my life as such. I’ve never fixated in my head that I want to go with a particular theme. What comes into my way; if it pleases me then I go with it.
People perceive this character differently with Karan V Grover and differently with you; do you think you are able to manage people’s understanding or impression about this character irrespective of whoever had played it?
I think so because now the audience has really become smarter. I totally believe that any TV show is not governed by the actors. It’s governed by the script. The script is the real hero. If the script is strong enough, then whether people are going or coming, it doesn’t matter. What stands really tall is the story line and how correctly the dialogues have been delivered. I think ‘replacement’ in television is no more an issue in today’s time because people go with the character and if the story is great then they’ll still enjoy the show and the loyalties are still there.
Do you find it challenging to carry the same impression of the character as it was left by Karan V Grover?
No, I don’t because the makers told me that it’s a different phase. They’ve said that it’s a change of phase and change of character, as he (character) needs to be a little heroic now. I didn’t look at it as a replacement. Karan did such a fabulous job. He is a dear friend of mine. I keep telling him that it’s going to be very difficult for me if I am replacing him and if they are going to keep the same character. Luckily, it wasn’t actually a replacement. It was a new take on Shaan (character name).
What is happening with painting?
There are curators who’ve got my work now. Kalpana Shah of Tao Art Gallery is one of the biggest curators in India today. She is somebody who is pushing me all the time. Right now, there is no time because one needs to be in that zone to create and one needs to be really at peace. One needs to have time to get into that. One cannot think that it’s a factory and churn out product. Right now, I am keeping it low, but I would want to get back to it because painting is something I really love doing and it’s like a stress buster for me. I am doing a course in visual art therapy, so it’s a therapy through art wherein one can cure people through art. I’ll be finishing the course in this month and after that I’ll be a certified therapist.
Are any more movies on your wait list?
As of now my concentration is on ‘Bahu Hamari Rajni Kant‘. I have kept everything aside and I have been saying no to the offers that are coming because I want to concentrate one thing at a time. This show really needs my attention and I want to give my 300% to it.
(Bahu Hamari Rajni Kant airs on Life Ok from Monday to Friday at 8 pm)