Indian television is busy preparing itself to make the most of summer vacations that are soon to hit the country. And in the race to keep young viewers hypnotised with the idiot box, Disney’s Kya Mast Hai Life Season Two, is actually using ‘magic’. To give students’ company on their holidays, this season has the lead characters Zee (Ashish Juneja), Zenia (Shweta Tripathi), Vir (Shaheer Sheikh) and (Nazneen Ghani) Ragini also on vacations. During which, Zee, accidentally bumps into a vial of magic potion that adds some fun and a little more predictability to the show’s premise.
The popularity of the show has also given the channel an opportunity to create various brand extensions such as KMHL books, slam books, audio CDs and fan magazines. Here is a look at the actors who, by the day, are becoming most school-going audiences’ poster boys and girls.
screen name: Ragini
Variable age: 24 year-old playing a 16-year-old
You’re a popular face on TV?
I have been doing ads for many years, I have done over 150 of them. But TV is different — it’s acting.
You were a rather important aspect of the first half of the first season. Does it matter that that all changed later?
Yes, the track did go that way, but my character wasn’t the main character. Even in this season, I am only there for the first 13 episodes.
If you weren’t on TV, what would you have been doing?
I’ve done by BA from Jai Hind College in economics and political science. So, I would have been a teacher.
Since Disney has many shows with a magical twist to them.. does that make KMHL less unique?
I think kids love to watch that fantastic element in TV shows. But we’re different at the same time.
How similar are you to Rags’ character?
I am quite similar to the whole girl next-door character.
Name: Shaheer Sheikh
screen name: vir
Variable age: 23-year-old playing a 17-year-old
What brought you to TV?
I am from Jammu originally, but I was studying in Pune. I shifted to Mumbai a year ago. I wasn’t looking to act, but when I was approached and told about this character, the similarity between Vir and me was astounding. It gave me a chance to relive my school days.
Is it hard dealing with the fan following?
The best part of it all is that all my fans are kids. So whatever feedback I get from them comes directly from their heart. I’ve seen kids play KMHL in their societies; it’s an amazing feeling.
You’re a trained lawyer, doing comedy on a kids show…
The thing is that we – Zee, Zenia and others, have become friends off screen as well. So its not hard portraying that on screen too.
Will you stick around on TV?
Before KMHL season one, I got an offer for Zee TV’s Jhansi Ki Rani, as her brother. I don’t know, I’m taking things as they come.
Do you think the addition of ‘magic’ has changed a lot in the show?
At first, I thought it would be like all other magical shows that are on TV. But after the first day’s shoot, it began looking really interesting.
Name: Ashish Juneja
screen name: zeeshan
Variable age: 21-year-old playing a 17-year-old
Where are you from, what’s your story?
I am from Delhi, but I moved to Mumbai two years ago to become an actor. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be an actor. I finished my class 12, and then my father insisted I be a graduate, so I did my BCom by correspondence.
Why did you decide to do TV?
I didn’t originally want to do KMHL. I had just finished an audition once, and one of the executive producers on KHML saw me outside the studio. He came and asked me whether I’d like to do Zee, but I refused saying that I don’t want to do soaps. Long story cut short, I soon became Zee.
Do you rap this season too?
Not as much as the havoc I’m creating with magic. I’m working in a book store this season, which is my vacations, because it’s a punishment for me not respecting books enough.
Any plans of getting into films?
I am trying, I would ideally like to. I hope KMHL becomes a bigger hit, and they plan to make it into a movie soon (laughs).
Name: Shweta Tripathi
screen name: Zenia
Variable age: 24-year-old playing 16-year-old
So, what’s your story?
I’m from Delhi and came to Mumbai three years ago. I didn’t come here to act. I have a degree in Fashion Communication. I was the photo editor at Femina, after which I worked with a post-production studio, Pixion, where I made film trailers.
Photography, promo making and fashion… Where does TV come in this?
(Laughs) I have done a lot of theatre and I still do it.When I went for the audition for this role, I wasn’t keen at all. I mean, first, this was TV that we’re talking about, and second, I had a job. But then I went to Sol, the production house and thought, ‘Not bad’.
What do you plan to do next?
I will be making films trailers and doing part-time photography. KMHL is the only TV show I’m doing. I have no interest in another. I’m not here to make money, though the money has been super.
How do you deal with having a fan base at such a young age?
My sister is a teacher in Delhi, and her class has begun dressing like Zenia does, in many layers of clothing. It’s amazing, but this is such a huge responsibility.