Television actor, Akashdeep Saigal was first noticed when he played the role of Ansh Gujral on the long running soap, "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi". He recently shot into the limelight again, with his entry into the realty television show, "Big Boss", Season 5 on Star Plus. He was most recently seen in the fifth season of the Indian Television's Reality Show "Bigg Boss", where he entered the drawing rooms of millions of India, as "Sky". His entry into the world of show business was courtesy the Gladrags Manhunt Contest where he went on to win the title of , Super model in 1998. The same year he appeared on the 1998 music video for Shweta Shetty's Deewane to Deewane Hain. He has done a few Hindi and Tamil films. Somewhere the audiences like to see him in roles that have shades of grey, mostly those that give him a complex character. Even so, his negative roles too have some interesting off beat shades that could reveal a delinquent, maverickish and, quirky side on one hand and a lost, endearing, confused side on the other. Where does the real Akash or Sky stand? In conversation with hindustantimes.com, we unravel his relationship with travel, something he admits to feeling very strongly about.
Which is the last holiday you took and what were the highlights of the trip?
I went to Dubai post Bigg Boss to take a much needed break with my newly found sister Juhi Parmar and best friend Pooja Bedi. It was wonderful taking time out with two individuals whom one did not know so well but after braving tough time in the Bigg Boss became close friends with. Though I've been to Dubai on many occasions one of the highlights of this trip was that everywhere I went be it malls, restaurants or beaches, I received so much love and support, not just from the Indians living there but even the locals. I had no idea that even television had such a strong hold on people's minds and even though you may be one of many stars, each of us somewhere manages to carve out a unique identity with our own brand of fan following.
When on vacation what do you like to do?
Depends on what the purpose of the holiday is and who my travel companion is. Interestingly weather too plays a significant role in determining the nature and quality of the vacation. So whether it is for leisure, relaxation, sports or just to indulge in oneself, the holiday takes on a hue of its own. Which is why my encounter with a destination may be very different from yours since our needs, feelings and desires may be different.
What has been the most bizarre thing that you have eaten when experimenting with your food in a foreign location?
During my stint in "Iss Jungle se mujhe bachao" which was shot in the oldest rainforest in the world, in Malaysia, my resolve was tested as I was challenged to eat tarantulas, scorpions, chameleons, wild rats, praying mantis etc. All of this was utterly gross and though at the time one went with the flow, I'm so happy and relieved to eating what I love - appams and fish curry. One thing however, I would like to say. If you want to enjoy travel in an uninhibited sense, try not to abide by a long and never ending list of do's and don'ts. While you do not have to go out there and eat snakes, frogs and snails, you surely can try different cuisines, moreso local delicacies. Also engaging with local cooks and figuring what they use, how they make the food items and what makes them unique can be a great way of giving more meaning to your travel sojourns.
Which destination for you has the highest repeat value?
Internationally Dubai, as my family stays there and it's malls, restaurants, beaches and lifestyle make for a well balanced holiday. Within India, nothing quite match the relaxed feel and international flavour that Goa has. You can going back and return with some more new memories and travel ideas. A vacation has to be memorable. You want to remember it and draw strength from it. Goa somehow gives you that something extra every time.
Which place according to you is highly over rated?
Mauritius! Because, to me at least it was utterly boring, way too overhyped and with way too little to offer. Someone has to do a reality check on the tourist brochures that a lot of such destinations bring out. They do not realise that this way, they will get tourists once, but not again and again
How do you plan your holiday?
Our work schedules are erratic, so as and when I get a break, I make instant plans and jet off to the best possible destination. Ofcourse this has to factor in the time of year and the number of days that one has at one's command.
Most embarrassing travel moment.
When I was doing the television soa, "Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi", a man came up to me on a flight and started yelling at me, even threatened to hit me. Turns out he was in love with the character played by the leading lady and hated me for being the bad guy, Ansh! On one hand it was flattering to know my character had created such an impact, but a part of me wanted to simply open the emergency door and send him packing for the last thing you want is to be hated for something that you are only acting out.
While on vacation what is most important to you?
Holidays for me are well rounded experiences that must appeal and satiate all my senses. So a healthy combination of shopping, sightseeing, food, friends and family and solo time out is integral to making it a perfect holiday.
Which place do you recommend for a weekend getaway in India?
Goa, panchgani and Matheran based on your budget and interest. My advice here is to not get taken in by what others have to say. Your decision should be based on what you like, are comfortable with and want. Travelling and holidaying should not be based on herd mentality. You can never really enjoy with that mindset.
How do you think the travel scene has changed in India in recent times?
Affordable fares, great combination deals by hotels, credit card companies and airlines and a lot better connectivity through different modes of transport, have made holidays possible for most Indians. Also, destinations in India have become so appealing that people prefer holidaying in India rather than going overseas all the time. There is so much to see, savour and learn and thankfully we are now looking at doing new things and following the unbeaten track.
Which are the five places that are there in your 'must visit' list?
Greece, Italy, Spain, Africa and Las Vegas.
What are the things that really put you off when holidaying?
Nothing puts me off! If I'm on holiday I am out to have a great time. Smile and laugh through everything. Holidays are time for happy space and in a lighter vein, even the "cheaters" here must be excused. On a serious note, most destinations have something magical about them. Its for us to find that and hold onto it as we move on and get back to our regular lives. For me, its always a thrill to come back with some new story or discovery about a location, one that is somewhat unique and exclusive to me.
Any tips on how a young couple can make a vacation truly memorable?
Take lots of photos and give endless love to each other. There may be no tomorrow and you may never return to that city, town or country again, even if you do resolve to do so. Which is why, when on vacation, live in the 'here' and 'now' and do everything you can to amass and hoard stuff for your memory bank.