Well to start with I am engineer by profession, but the very first day in my college seeing all those machines , I decided this is not my cup of tea.
So what to do next, I have to change my field. Then here comes my mother, in her college days she used to do plays so she wanted me to be in this field to see her unfulfilled desires fulfilled by her son.
So I have never faced any sort of opposition from my family in fact they have been very supportive.
My tryst with theatre started when I saw Joy Michael’s play Geetanjali in five times.That play moved me lot. And coincidentally she conducted summer workshop and of course as impressed by her, I joined the workshop.
Joy Michael really took care of me and after that I was part of Yatrik that was her groups name for some years.
Their was one director Avijit Dutt in Yatrik, who was in media, so I started working with him as well
And my first project was with him. I did a commercial with him for a cooler where my job was just to sleep and I was paid for it. Of course it made it on television and the pictures were all over hoarding and newspapers.
At 24 I thought of giving up this field and pursue management course where I had got admission. Then of course there’s destiny. Ebrahim Alkazi doyen of Indian theatre came and he selected me for his living theatre academy of drama in 1992. I then decided come whatever I will be in this field throughout my life as I knew it was my passion.
In 1995 after mt training I packed my bags and moved to Mumbai.There initially I worked with Alyque Padamsee- Guru of Indian advertising for his play Roshini and he got me job in his niece Ayesha Sayani’s production house where I worked for 2 years various ad campaigns. I had only come to Mumbai to become an actor and nothing else.
This is a brief about me before I started working in television…now to your questions
Initially it was not a choice where I want to work, I used to go all the offices where I could get information some work is going to happen. I had to earn money now I had no job. Beggars are not choosers.
So I one day I went to meet Anurag Basu , shooting for Raahat. I met my friend from Delhi, he introduced me to Anurag. Next day I got a call from him for two day work and I was paid 1500 cash per day that’s 1999. That was also my first shoot for a television serial in Mumbai. I pulled my weight quite well.
My first long running serial was Raajdhani , produced by Bobby Bedi. I have no idea how Bobby Bedi got my picture and on that basis he had finalised me for the role. In Raajdhani my girlfriend was Neha Dhupia and it was directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia and later by Abhinav Kashyap. Luckily my work was appreciated by everyone.
After Raajdhani I,I worked with Neena Gupta in Siski, Saanjhi and then came turning point.
I had previously done Mano Ya Na Mano with Ekta Kapoor which was a three episode project on Zee, so I was offered Kahin Kisi Roz on Star plus which of course had a very popular love track and it ran for almost year.
That’s when it happened, I became famous; everywhere I used to go I was mobbed, in train girls will come to meet. Buying vegetables, groceries, wherever I used to go people would stare at me, come to me, take autographs. I was overwhelmed by the love.
During that time my mother had an heart attack , I took her to the hospital and everyone was surprised to see me. The recognition and fame helps you in your difficult times. For the entire time my mother in hospital, the moment I come to visit her, they would treat me in very special way.
I have been lucky to get one project after another; sometimes technically, I take a break if I am not happy with the remuneration I am getting. You have to refuse projects. Offers almost come on daily basis but then have to be exciting money wise and role wise.
I have a family two growing kids and lovely wife, so when I am not shooting I spend all my time with them. I also work on myself and my art. Like servicing yourself before you start next project. I also invest in stock market which takes a lot of my time. Frankly when I am not shooting I am still busy. In a daily soap one whole year goes and you hardly get time even to say good morning. Last show I was doing Byah Humari Bahu Ka on Sony, I shot for 28 day a month,16 hours each day.its tough very tough but then you are paid so well you forget everything.
My motivation has been I want to be known as one of the India’s finest actors and if I want to dream big then in the entire world also. Whenever I have worked in international projects they have liked my professionalism and for that I want to make my mark in Bollywood.
I have become very humble and realised the only way to work in this industry is to work like a family. Love and respect from junior most to senior most. Frankly there is no star thing; everyone is star in his own field. I have almost no ego and very acceptable approach. I also have become very professional. If I am assigned a job I have to do it to my best ability
I try to treat all my roles as dream roles. My dreams become bigger day by day. With my folded hands I am there to do my job whatever my great directors think I am capable of and I respect their wisdom.
Inside industry there are two type of people some who believe in shortcuts and some who are there to stay. Shortcuts are dangerous they have other motives to be in the field, to make quick money, enter into some relationships, don’t mind even sleeping for a role and can go to any extent to get some assignment.
Then there are for whom its one of the toughest profession. They get everything but little late. As some senior said you remain in this industry like a tree with roots deep inside. Lot of storm will come, flood will come but you don’t move. Success will be yours
I am not fond of reality shows, I only love acting. I get a high when I see Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Robert D’niro,George Clooney perform. I don’t see myself as a part of a reality show. I want my audience to watch me and themselves to me, they believe in my emotion, they believe what I say on screen.
I feel great responsibility toward audience; I want to give the best I have. After I finish my film project in July, I will be back on TV. TV has given me everything; I have been born brought up by TV. For Sony I would always love to be part of Crime Patrol. That’s the only project I feel sad when I am unable to do due to some date issues.
Love my audience…..and I wish them and all the very best