Men in Rajasthan pride themselves on their moustaches. It is a sign of their masculinity. So I had to have one,” says actor Ashish Sharma, who is making waves with his unconventional take on the romantic hero. With his stubble and yes, the moustache, Sharma plays the harsh and rugged Rudra Pratap Ranawat, a border security officer in Rangrasiya on Colors.
Born to an IAS officer from Rajasthan cadre, Sharma grew up all over the state. So when he was offered the main lead in a love story between a village girl and an arrogant but honest officer, set in Rajasthan, he wanted the character to look picture perfect. But the ‘angry young man’ look, which is now setting a trend of sorts, didn’t come easy.
As he says: "I heard the script and knew instantly that this guy Rudra had to have a mooch. But the director, producer and the channel just couldn’t imagine a romantic hero on TV with a moustache. For them, he had to be clean shaven. I fought hard for it!”
Excerpts from an interview with television’s latest star:
You seem to have become the hottest guy on TV...
(Laughs) We got lucky. I think the persona of Rudra works in its totality. The way he walks, talks (or rather doesn’t) seems to fit well with the character. And it wasn’t just the moustache. I changed my entire workout regime. I did a lot of combat training. Security force men are never bulky or muscled. They are lean and fit. I had to get that physique. I worked hard to get the character right.
Do you relate to your character?
Every role I have played has had a bit of me in them. I am like Rudra in the sense that I too am a rather reserved person. I have very few friends and don’t talk much. So yes, I am like Rudra in some ways.
You started with films. Why did you agree to be on TV?
Yes, I made my debut with Love, Sex Aur Dhokha. Then I got an offer to do Gunahon Ka Devta on Imagine TV. So that was a start. I knew the mediums were different and so was the work but then I was acting and acting is the same, whether it’s television of films. The medium doesn’t matter.
What next? Back to films?
I don’t know. It could be anything. I could be writing or directing or maybe start a production house. It just needs to be the kind of thing that I want to do.
From HT Brunch, March 2
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch