‘He is a hero’

.. so says Akhilendra Mishra who portrays Raavan in Ramayana. Janaki Viswanathan interviews the actor.
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Updated on Oct 16, 2008 04:23 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByJanaki Viswanathan, Mumbai

He seems to radiate the power of the demon king he portrays in Ramayan’s second edition. But Akhilendra Mishra insists he hasn’t portrayed Raavan as a villain. “He’s a hero in his own right,” he booms.

The golden armour, blazing eyes and shiny stone-embedded mukut sort of drive home the point. The actor, best known for his roles in



The Legend of Bhagat Singh



, is remembered by TV viewers as the bad guy of



His contribution

The sets of


look pretty much traditional. Ditto the costumes and dialogue. What has he brought to the role

previously played by Arvind Trivedi? Mishra says he has added certain mannerisms to the demon king’s personality.

To our questioning look, the actor guffaws, “He is a rakshasa, so I tried to make him sound more intimidating,” he says, after a guffaw that lasted nearly 40 seconds.

Pride problem

Ask him how he perceives the demon king and he responds,“Raavan’s drawback was his pride.” The war sequence, which airs next week on NDTV Imagine , shows the victory of good over evil. Mishra remarks,“Ram isn’t out to kill Raavan.. just his ego. But the common viewer often doesn’t care for such nuances.”

Casting error

Zee TV had attempted to tell Raavan’s story but Mishra wasn’t impressed. The central role had been played by Narendra Jha. Apparently while working in

Veer Zaara

, director Yash Chopra had told Mishra that casting the right actor is half the battle won. “That’s where Zee’s show went wrong.”

Before he started to shoot for the serial, he had to work on his body. “These aren’t visible to the viewer, but they help us actors get into character.”

Considering fans often fall at the feet of the actors portraying Ram and Sita, does Raavan get any negative reactions? Mishra recounts his recent visit to the Lokhandwala Durga Puja, “My friends overheard some people exclaiming, ‘



bhi aaya hai


What’s his take on the recent controversy surrounding the performances of Harbhajan Singh and Mona Singh (as Raavan and Sita) in

Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina

? Mishra says he hasn’t watched the episode and leaves it at that.

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