Oh Oh. He can be temperamental.. his private life is rarely discussed.. and he never talks about Jaan Tere Naam, his hit movie some 16 years ago. In TV land, he’s been the No.1 star for the last six years. Naturally, he has blockbuster dreams up his sleeve. Till they fructify, he continues to be the tiger of telly land.. and is currently gung-ho about Mahabharat.Over to Ronit Bose Roy.. in a rendezvous with Rachana Dubey.
I believe you were in Italy last week.
Yeah. It was my mother’s birthday. The trip was my gift to her. On
the work front, you’re into Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahani Hamaaray Mahabharat ki and now Aajaa Mahi Ve.. aren’t you biting off more than you can chew?
Not really. I’m not a participant on Aajaa Mahi Ve. I’m judging the show. So, I can use all the dancing skills I’ve learnt in the last year.. and all the knowledge that I have gathered about marriages and relationships for the last 42 years. Kyunki is not too hectic these days.Right now, Mahabharat is top priority.
How is Mahabharat shaping up?
(Evasively) You should tell me that.
Okay, what have been the responses to your portrayal of Bheeshma Pitamaah?
They’re on my mail, mobile and site. The responses have been extremely positive.
Were there any apprehensions before accepting the role?
Nope. That’s because I chose the character I wanted to play. For once, the entire script was ready before the shooting started.
Which other characterwas offered to you?
Shh.. that’s a secret between Ekta (Kapoor) and me. The TRPs haven’t been too high.
Aren’t you disappointed?
The TRPs must have grown over last week. I’m not disappointed at all about the show’s take-off. I’m sure the TRPs will shoot up.
What’s your reaction to the comments by Mukesh Khanna, the earlier Bheeshma Pitamaah, about you and Balaji Telefilms?
We live in a democracy.Mr Khanna is entitled to his point of view. It’s anaudience-based show, if they like it, then our purpose is served.
Did Mr Khanna call you?
Have you seen BRChopra’s TV serial Mahabharat?
I have fleeting memories of watching arrows turning into fire bombs. I must have watched a few episodes. In the 1980s, I wasn’t clued into TV. I’ve read the Mahabharat though.
Now tell me, aren’t you fed up of playing Mihir in Kyunki..?
See, I’ve been involved in quite a few serials.. Kyunki.. Kasamh Se, Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa, Kayamath, Kehna Hai Kuch Mujhko and Kasautii Zindagi Kay. There have always been at least three shows at a time.
So, boredom has never crept in. Plus, most characters that I’ve played in these show shave had offshoots. For instance, Mr Bajaj went through leaps, death and came back.His look changed.. and that’swhat kept me going.
Has Smriti Iraani ever approached you to act in one of her productions?
Aajaa Mahi Ve is about judging real life couples on the basis of their dancing skills.. is that fair?
I don’t think the format of any show can be questioned. It’s not about just coming together as a dance couple. It’s about being compatible as dancers. If a couple can survive the pressures on such a show, they can sail through everything in life. If they can’t survive a simple dance show, there’s little to take home of their relationship.
Like your brother Rohit, do you have ambitions about directing?
I would love to but I need inspiration. Right now, I’m not looking at direction. I’m looking atmovies as an actor.
So,which movies in the pipeline?
(Smiles) Might sound clichéd but I’m still in talkswith producers.
There was talk that in a sozzled state, you had abused director Sanjay Gupta.
(Straight-faced) Even I read about that in some papers. Let me tell you, I wasn’t even present at the hotel which was mentioned. Even if I was, I know my drinking limits and I’m not the sort who would misbehave. That’s just one fabrication. There have been somany reports that have been published without getting any confirmation from me.
Reportedly, you got fresh with Dia Mirza.
Let’s say, I was accused of molesting an actress. Quite a few of my friends told me to lash out against this charge but I didn’t feel the need to. Such reports do give me some grief but that’s it. I don’t owe any explanations to any Tom, Dick and Harry. I know who spreads such rumours about me. Those same people have approached me, through sources, to work with them. And I just don’t respond.
Would you want to participate in Nach Baliye 4?
Not really. I’ve been told by fans through email and messages that I shouldn’t participate in any reality dance show. They like to see me dance, they call me the Amitabh Bachchan of television but they don’t want me to participate.
They feel there’s far too much malice and bad blood on these shows. Negativity is at its peak. They don’t want me to go through that and I agree.
Could you tell me about your kids?
I have three children. Aador is three.. Agastya is eight months old. And I have a daughter, Ona, who’s 17. She stays in America with her mother.
Does she want to join show business?
(Laughs) No, no. I have no clue about her show biz plans. She’s inclined towards art and music. She will start attending college soon. It’s up to her to decide. Iwill support her.. like most fathers do.