Rakesh Bedi, the affable Dilruba of Shriman Shrimati is back on small screen, albeit in a different avatar. The actor, who loves to tickle the funny bone of his audience, has taken up a serious, rather emotional role, for his next television outing Shubh Vivah on Sony Entertainment Television.
"I am working in a soap for the first time in my 35 years of career. It's a very emotional role. I've never tried my hands at such a role. So it was a very different experience for me," says the actor.
Soaps these days are melodramatic with loud background music and exaggerated expressions. Wonder what motivated Rakesh Bedi, to take up one. "Shubh Vivah is not at all loud. The story is inherently very strong and the melodrama has been taken care of by the content itself."
Rakesh Bedi who has portrayed an unmarried and unemployed guy in Doordarshan's cult sitcom Ye Jo Hai Zindagi is now playing father to five grown-up daughters. "I have done comedy all my life and that's something I'm best at. But I can't be doing similar roles all my life. The serial provides me an opportunity to display another facet of mine."
And we certainly are not complaining. But what Rakesh Bedi is unhappy about is the TRP culture in television. "All the shows are TRP oriented these days. Writer, directors and creative team have less say in the content of a serial. And it's the channel that is having a final say in the twists and turns of a show, keeping in mind the TRP considerations."
What about sitcoms like Ye Jo Hai Zindagi and Shriman Shrimati that ruled the roost once upon a time; is there any chance of revival? "It's a phase. It shall pass. And I'm sure sitcoms will make a comeback. The current phase of TRP-driven shows will not last forever," says a hopeful Rakesh. We trust him, as he not only acts, he's also a writer. He has been scripting plays and if given a chance would love to experiment with TV scripts. "Why not! Given a chance, I'd like to script a serial too."
Right now his mind is on Massage, a play that sees him portraying 24 characters. He's been doing the rounds of Mumbai and Delhi for it and loving it. But it's not just TV and theatre that's keeping Rakesh busy. Coming up next is Hai Rabba Main Kya Karun, an Arshad Warsi starrer, produced by Ramanand Sagar. "I play a henpecked husband whose daughter is having an affair with someone. It's a family affair," he signs off.