Nitesh Pandey in a chatathon with Lina Choudhury-Mahajan
You play Kailash Nath in Hum Betiyaan.. Maayke Se Sasural Tak. How close are you to him?
He’s a young father who dotes on his daughter. He grew up in the shadow of his own father who wanted him to run the family business, since they are from a traditional Rajput family. He wants to give his daughter the freedom to do what she wants.
I was never under my parents’ shadow. My father did want me to get a proper job though. But now he watches all my shows. In fact, when I went over to meet my parents recently, they didn’t want to be disturbed because my serial was on!
How is Hum Ladkiyaan.. different?
The basic thought is not about conflict. It’s a positive approach to bringing up one’s daughter. We must do our best and fulfill her dreams till she is in the maayka.
Which is your favourite show on TV?
Frankly, I don’t get to watch TV. When I do get the time, I watch movies.
Of all the roles that you’ve done, which is your favourite?
Anurag Basu’s Manzilein Apni Apni, in which I played a boy in love with a girl who is married to his brother. I also enjoyed Saaya.
You started off with theatre. Are you still involved with it?
I recently got back to it after eight years. I did Aastha and Misal Pav with Sudha Chandran. Theatre for an actor is the ultimate experience. I took a break but came back to it when I was financially secure.
How did films happen?
I did an ad with Dibakar Banerjee who cast me in Khosla Ka Ghosla. The film was stuck for three years due to fianacial constraints. We had no idea it would become so big. Farah Khan saw me in Khosla.. and offered me Om Shanti Om.
Which medium do you enjoy best — film, TV or theatre?
Everyone wants to be on the big canvas eventually but I enjoy theatre immensely.
How different was the small budget Khosla.. from the extravagant OSO?
When I was working in Khosla.. I didn’t have sky-high expectations. It was the opposite during OSO. I was disappointed that my role was cut. But personally I was super-excited about working with SRK and Farah. (Laughs) One day, I greeted Farah with a big hi. She waved back and asked, “Hi, but why is your fly open?” That was so embarassing.
You also run a production company, Dream Castle Production.
Yes, my wife Arpita and I started the company at a time when I was disillussioned with the TV industry. We did radio spots, intersessions, and Babar Sher.
I even learnt sound editing and set up a sound studio at home. But after a while I missed acting. Now I’m focussing on my acting and my wife, who is a former actor (she was in Justajoo), writes for Santan and Bandhan.
Will you branch out into films?It’s been 17, how would you rate your progress?
Eventually, I want to direct and maybe even produce films. Arpita and I have worked on a script which we’re hoping to make.
For a guy who is as lazy as I am, I haven’t done too badly.