Dheeraj Dhoopar: 'I Don't Do Anything Without Asking My Wife, I Am A Complete Family Man'

Dheeraj Dhoopar: 'I Don't Do Anything Without Asking My Wife, I Am A Complete Family Man'

It's not that I can't do it, but I like to ask the smallest things from her

Priyanka ChandaniUpdated: Saturday, December 02, 2023, 04:49 PM IST
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Actor Dheeraj Dhoopar best known for his roles in television shows like Saubhagyavati Bhava 2, Kundali Bhagya, and Sasural Simar Ka recently made his OTT debut with Tatlubaaz. Dheeraj is seen playing the role of a con artist, which he says has allowed him to play many shades of the characters differently. With his OTT debut, Dheeraj not only breaks his long-time image as a TV actor but also proves his acting mettle while convincingly playing a conman of Uttar Pradesh.

Also starring Nargis Fakhri, Divya Agarwal, and Zeishan Quadri in prominent roles, Tatlubaaz is streaming on Epic On and is earning fairly positive reviews from the audience. During our telephonic conversation with Dheeraj, he opened up about his career trajectory, the roles he would like to play, how he doesn't want to be known as a TV or OTT actor but just an actor, and his ultimate desire as an actor. Excerpts:

Tatlubaaz is very different from what you have done in the past. How exciting was your OTT debut for you?

Very exciting! I wanted to switch the medium to do some different work than what I was doing on TV. Tatlubaaz was something that I was looking forward to doing for a long time. I haven't done a character like this before. It was an exciting role and there was so much to do. I got to play different shades of the role. We shot in different locations in Varanasi, Bareilly, Alibag, Goa, and some parts of Mumbai, which was completely different from what we do on TV. I did some workshops to get the UP dialect and get into the character. It was like coming out of my comfort zone and going into the field.

As an actor, you have really taken some bold decisions to quit some successful shows on TV. Were you apprehensive that your fans may be disappointed because they loved you so much?

It is very challenging because people are attached to the character. But, on TV you don't have many options to choose from. I wanted to do something different and Tatlubaaz was a good opportunity. Here, people will know me by my name rather than a character. Also, I didn't quit shows. It has always been part of the plan and the script. We didn't get good numbers so it happened early. Same with Kundali Bhagya, it was a mutual decision between me, the producers, and the creative team. We decided to call it off. For Sasural Simar Ka, I was doing that show for seven years and then there was nothing more for me to do in the show. So I decided to part ways amicably and do something better than that. I didn't have anything in hand when I quit any of the shows.

When you say you want to do something different, what kind of roles would you like to associate yourself with? 

I want to do every possible thing. I don't mind running around trees, doing a biopic of a cricketer, or thriller movies. I would love to play a criminal or a don. I have never played these characters on TV. I also don't have anything with the medium, I want to be known as an actor and not as a TV, OTT or film actor. I think this is a culture of calling actors by their medium. An actor can't be defined by a medium. I want to do good work that comes my way irrespective of the medium.

Many of your parallel actors say that one gets stereotyped in the industry. Did you ever feel that way?

I haven’t experienced that so far. I have played different roles, from a romantic hero to an antagonist. If I had been stereotyped, no one would have offered me a different role. I was told not to play a father as I would be stereotyped but after Sasural Simar Ka where I played a father of an 18-year-old girl, I got Kundali Bhagya where I played a young flamboyant character. If producers are watching you and your acting talent you will get diverse roles.

There's so much pressure on actors to be certain ways, especially with social media which demands constant engagement. Does that become overwhelming sometimes?

I think that's a lifestyle. I have been an actor for the last 18 years, so looking in a certain way is a part of my job. I can't get away with it. I have to be fit all the time. I take care of my styling and look when on show. I am very conscious of how I look. Yes, there's pressure sometimes, that you have to look a certain way even when you don't feel like doing that. But I have passed that phase. I can just wear a T-shirt and pyjamas and go to an event. I am comfortable with that. But yes, the industry demands a lot and your fans expect you to be seen a certain way and that's great.

If you are not acting, what would you mostly be doing?

I am a family man. My kids, wife, and dog keep me busy. I spend time with my family when I am not working. My wife and I are movie buffs so we watch a lot of movies. You won't see me going to a lot of parties. I like to be at home. I like to balance work and home. My wife, in fact, pushes me to meet friends and attend events.

What do you do to keep yourself physically and mentally in shape?

I go to the gym every day no matter what. If I don't go then I am very conscious all day of what I should eat and not. I eat healthy food and I follow a diet. I sleep on time and don't exhaust myself. I play with my kids as they are my stress-busters. Mental health is more important to me because of my job. I relax a lot. I follow a certain skin and hair routine.

What does fashion mean to you? What is your style statement

Whatever looks good on me. It's not always about being comfortable. If something looks good on me but I am uncomfortable, I will still wear it. Heels are a new fashion for men. They are not comfortable but I do wear them because I absolutely enjoy them.

If not an actor what would you have been?

Working in a corporate firm or in the hospitality industry.

What do you hope to achieve in 2024?

To take more risks and do good work. I become richer and better.

If you get to be someone else for a day, what would you choose to be

Shah Rukh Khan! Not for a day but for a whole life. It looks impossible to achieve what he has achieved. I want to be like him to see what a day looks like to be Shah Rukh Khan. I want to feel how it is to wave to fans outside the house.

Your biggest fear?

Losing my family and my loved ones. I still cry like a baby when my parents come home and leave after a few months. I can't see anyone from my family going away from me.

Do you have a celebrity crush?

It kept on changing. Julia Roberts, Preity Zinta, and Neha (wife of Manoj Bajpayee).

One piece of advice from your wife (Vinny Arora) that you follow?

I don't do anything without asking her. I don't even wear a T-shirt without asking her. I love asking for the smallest of details from her.

What do you admire the most in your relationship with your wife? 

Compatibility, understanding and patience. Some days are tough but we work it out and calm the other person down. We understand that any of us can walk out of the relationship but if we are together we made a choice to be together.

Does your wife feel jealous of your female fan following?

Not at all! She is very comfortable with herself and my popularity. She is never insecure about anything.

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