Star Plus’ Mahabharat has been the latest buzz on television. This epic saga has been made on television many times, however Swastik Pictures has revived this legend with a fresh wave of actors, visual effects and storyboard. Essaying the lead role of Bhishma, Arav Choudhary takes us into this grand mythological revival.
You are playing Bhishma-Pitamah in Mahabharat. How is the whole pressure that’s on you right now? What is the game plan on your mind at present?
There is no pressure at all. There never was any pressure. I don’t work under pressure as an actor. Although in the first week, you can say that I was under a little bit of pressure. After having signed the show, I didn’t realize that how am I supposed to go with it and I was lost for one week. Then slowly and gradually I started briefing everything together, I started going ahead, working out and changed my style. How he walks, how he reacts, body postures, stances and everything. So then… yaa things have been cool.
You have portrayed a lot of roles so far. You also have been in movies and television. What is the something that is still left for you to explore in your opinion?
Ohh, there is always something new to do, there is too much to do. I would love to do comedies. I have done comedy earlier but that was long back and was muck like slapstick comedy. I would love to do comedy or play a romantic hero and romance beautiful heroines.
How has the reaction been regarding to Mahabharat so far?
It is unbelievably fantastic. I never expected this kind of enormous response from all over the world. When you create something new, whether you are a painter, singer or a musician or an actor, when you are creating something, you feel that ok… this is going right but how right nobody knows. So the response has been really, really awesome. I never really expected this much, where on a regular basis, on an hourly basis people are either messaging or writing on my Facebook or even calling and are just loving it. So that’s very encouraging and that keeps you going.
Is there any film or show you are looking forward to this year?
As of now I am completely focused on Mahabharat, because I am under a contract with the channel and the production house for one more year. Since mine is the central character, main protagonist, the lead character of the series and the show depends on this character, I have to focus 100 % on this and I am shooting for 13 hours for at least 13 to 20 days. So after this, there’s no time left to do anything else. But yes, I have in between finished my first South film. It is a Kanada film and it might be releasing by the end of this year, in November or December. I have got more offers coming in from the South. If time permits and if it is really an exciting role, then definitely will look into something else but as of now it’s Mahabharat all the way.
You said that you have worked on your physique for the character of Bhishma. How long has this journey been for you? Mahabharat in the making was planned for three years by the producers. So how long did it take for you to really fit-in?
It has been one of the most difficult roles I have ever tried. First of all after I signed the series, it took almost eight to nine months to go on-air and that was killing. As an actor you do get other work and in such circumstances you can’t take up that work. You start shooting in the next 15 days, the first week and next month, you are perpetually waiting and when the wait goes on and on, it is not really encouraging. Apart from that, you are losing other work as well and then to work on Bhishma and stay positive, everything becomes hard.
To stay focused, not to lose hope and work-out and maintain strict diet is extremely difficult. Then once we started shooting, it has again been extremely difficult. The jewellery, the costumes, the fight sequences and the time factor, because in cinema you get off but here I have to shoot for 12 to 13 hours every day without fail. I don’t get to sleep for more than 4-5 hours on a regular basis and then whether I sleep at 3 in the night or get up at 6 in the morning, I have to hit the gym and work-out as well. Hence, if all that is put-together, it becomes very difficult.
Any favourite Aerobic exercise or anything that you like the most?
I don’t really get the time to do aerobic exercise. I would love to go swimming but it has been really a long time since I last did swim. I just do weights in order to keep the muscles going because that is what the look is all about.
Any last message for your fans?
Well guys I hope you are enjoying Mahabharat. We have worked really hard on it and we promise that we will keep working harder for this. I am sure you are enjoying the actual sequences and you are enjoying the drama as well. It’s a great story, the way it is told, the way it is made, the treatment that is given and also the show has been made in a really gripping manner. I hope everybody gets tuned to Mahabharat.
Interview: A. Patel
Transcript: Surya Ravi