The biggest anti-hero and the biggest villain says the actor and theatre personality Puneet Issar describing the legendary demon king Raavan. The actor is keeping himself busy these days as he gears up to don the role of Raavan in an upcoming theatrical production, Raavan Ki Ramayan, which will be staged in the capital.
Issar role as Duryodhana in TV adaptation Mahabharat (1988) is still etched fresh in people’s hearts. Has mythological characters always piqued his interest, we ask and he replies, “It’s been twenty five years now. After Duryodhana, I haven’t played a mythological character. But Duryodhana ka itna deep impression logon ke dilo dimaag mein pada hua hai. I am doing theatre after 35 years. A man should keep inventing and re-inventing himself.”
Always the one to take up challenges, Puneet says it was the complexity of Raavan’s character that attracted him in the first place. Expanding on his stage debut, he says, “I have done amateurish stage during my college days. I am in the right age to play this role. I can add dimension to it, jo aaj tak kisi ne nahi diya. Raavan had a very complex character. He was very knowledgeable. Then he had a downfall. Abhi tak Raavan ka jo paksh hai woh logo ke saamne aaya nahi hai. The antagonist is a protagonist in his own world. When we go into his world, you’ll realise that he’s the protagonist.”
On his love for performing, he says, “I am an artist. An actor performs, whether it’s in front of the camera or a live audience. It’s more challenging as you have to memorise so many lines and there are no retakes in front of a live audience. It’s wonderful when you’re performing and the audience responds to it.”
Skilled in martial arts and Kung-fu and a pro fitness freak, ask him how he keeps fit and he responds by saying, “I have to. One has to work out. Physical fitness is very important. That’s the only way to do it. It’s not because of Raavan, I am doing it. I have been a physically conscious person. I try to train for five days a week, three hours daily.” Also speaking about his stint as part of reality TV show Bigg Boss 8, he says, “It was a challenge. You take up challenges in life. Never say die spirit was there. The kids were half my age, but i am more physically fitter than them. And I performed so well.”