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Updated: October 18, 2013 19:34 IST

Getting into the role

S. M. Aamir
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Himanshu Soni as Buddha.
Special Arrangement Himanshu Soni as Buddha.

Actor Himanshu Soni on playing Gautam Buddha on Zee TV

It is not easy being Gautam Buddha even if it is only about being one on a television show. So when producer B.K. Modi launched his magnum opus on the life of Gautam Buddha, he made sure that the newcomer, Himanshu Soni playing the title role, gets a real feel of Buddha. Consequently Himanshu was given an apartment to live in solitude so as to meditate in a serene environment. He underwent martial arts training and learnt horse riding too. Says Himanshu, “Before I was selected for the role of Buddha, I knew as little about him as you people might be knowing but once I was selected within the two-three months I went through a lot of history books and other literature. I was sent for Vipassana in pagoda at a centre. I did a lot of yoga, meditation, rigorous physical training, also learnt martial arts and horse riding. I have even reduced my weight by 15 kgs.”

Himanshu says the serial so far is based on true events of the early years of Prince Sidddhartha’s life. “To show the life of someone in just 52 episodes is a daunting task. Yet we are trying to tell the true story. We will be focussing on the main events of Buddha’s life, what happens next remains to be seen. It is up to the writers and producers whether they want to add fiction or not.”

Modi says, “Himanshu was selected for the role because he has a suitably calm temperament and matched 28 of the 32 characteristics of Gautam Buddha.”

For Himanshu, however, this is a first time at such a large-scale role. Is he nervous? “Yes, to play such a powerful character and that too in my first show made me feel a bit nervous. I thought, facing the camera will be a challenge but during the course of my training, I was told to forget about the camera which made me overcome this hurdle. We have to shoot 4-5 scenes during the day which takes about 12-13 hours but it is quite enjoyable as my co-stars are very supportive. Learning the dialogues is not difficult if you live your character, you just have to read them once and the emotions come out automatically.”

(Buddha is aired every Sunday on Zee TV at 11a.m.)

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