Manish Paul’s spontaneous repartee and engaging on-stage personality have made him one of the most loved TV hosts today. Although he is enjoying immense popularity as the host of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (JDJ), things weren’t always hunky dory for him. Now as he looks forward to his debut film, Mickey Virus, in which he plays the lead, Manish recounts the struggles in his journey in Mumbai so far, and how he’s dealing with his newfound fame.
You struggled for a long time before making it big in the last two years. How has the journey been?
I have been in the industry for 10 years. In the first two years, I wasn’t serious about the shows I did. It was only after I came to Mumbai eight years ago that my struggle period started. In 2008, I went through a very bad patch when was at home for eight months without work. I was getting offers but they didn’t appeal to me, and I didn’t want to succumb for good money. I had offers for daily soaps, but I didn’t want to be part of them.
You’ve neither highlighted nor hidden your marital status, which can be a hindrance to newcomers.
I was a nobody when I married Sanyukta and I don’t think she will ever be any hindrance to me. She’s been my biggest support. When I was going through a bad phase, she was there for me like no girlfriend would. Anyway, she likes keeping a low profile.
How does she react when you get attention from your female fans?
My wife supports me a lot; if she had any issues, then it would bother me. She feels great about all the love coming my way. I’m a bit shy as I’m not used to such adulation. But it feels good that people love me.
There have been reports about animosity between you and the co-host of JDJ, Kapil Sharma?
The reports are utter rubbish. Kapil and I are friends and happy for each other’s success. People simply like to create controversy.
What do you think of the constant comparison drawn between you and Ayushmann Khurrana, since both of you are hosts-turned-actors and your debut films, Mickey Virus and Vicky Donor, have somewhat similar-sounding names?
He’s a good friend, so we laugh about the comparisons, which I feel are bound to arise.
Karan Johar and you seem to be friends, as seen on JDJ. So is a film with him in the pipeline?
Everyone expects us to do a film together. But he says that when there’s a good script, we will work together.
Tell us something we do not know about you.
I get serious too. When I am angry or in a bad mood, I shut myself away from people.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a chilled-out guy, and I don’t have any hang-ups.
A question you are frequently asked?
When is Karan Johar going to sign you in a film?
A question you don’t like to answer?
I don’t like to be asked how much money I make. I don’t even talk about it with my friends as I simply hate discussing it.
Which actors, according to you, are successful currently?
Vivian Dsena and Karan V Grover. Both are doing fabulous work. They are superbly talented and very famous on TV.