Sameer Soni, who made his acting debut with the T.V. serial “Samandar” and gained popularity with “Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi”, is also known for his many supporting roles in films including “Baghban” and “Fashion”. The likeable hero has had a good run with with “Parichay” (Colors), whose plot is now set to take a nine-year leap. Soni was in the Capital recently to talk about “Parichay — Nayee Zindagi Kay Sapno Ka” and the medium that gives him a bigger kick than films.
How do you feel about your character moving ahead by nine years? What is your take on the nine-year leap that the show is going to take?
I am excited! As an actor, it gives me an opportunity to show different aspects of my character. People haven’t seen how Kunal would be, if and when he became a father, whether he will be the same way he was or will he change and what equation would he share with the child. So, it gives me different shades to explore and that is what acting is all about.
Your show is more of a realistic portrayal of life’s second chances, unlike the over dramatised saas-bahu soaps that have been ruling the small screen for long. How difficult is it to be in that league and then stand out?
I think whenever you try something different, the benefit is that you will catch people’s attention, and the risk is that people might not accept you. Likewise, if you do a different film, chances are that you will be noticed before the film, but whether the film will do well or not, that’s a risk you take. As far as the competition is concerned, it’s up to you, with what conviction you present your story. It’s about striking the right chord in a different manner.
Do you think Indian television is now breaking the monotony of saas-bahu soaps and also changing and adapting accordingly?
I think change is inevitable, whether it’s television or films. Initially, you had the ‘saas-bahu’ soaps that were dominating the scene. Now, it has been around for 10 years and people have seen it. The audiences are ready for a newer thing now. It’s a question of how you package the new thing, in the sense that, it’s not abandoning what exists, but there is also a niche market for people who want to see realistic stuff. I won’t say that saas-bahu shows are out of fashion, but there are still shows like “Parichay” that have an audience of itself.
Why is it that T.V. shows initially start with a theme that touches base with sensitive aspects of the society, but in the end that theme doesn’t remain?
I think that’s the influence of competition. The thing is that, even though Indian television is evolving, there are a lot of people who are comfortable watching what they used to watch. At the end of the day it’s all about TRPs. If the TRP is high, you get sponsorships and your show is on air. Every once in a while the maker feels that maybe I should shift it a little bit towards the mainstream commercial cinema. In the end it is business and not just an art form. We are not making serials so that we can watch our own serials at home…to survive, making money becomes important.
Does the small screen interest you more than films?
I am enjoying the whole medium and the experience a lot. If you do two films a year, it takes about 100 days and once it has released, you have nothing to do. In television, I work for 27 days a month, so, the actor in me is alive. Also, whatever I do comes on air in a couple of days, so, I have the opportunity to rectify my errors and improve. It’s like doing one film every week. The icing on the cake is when you enjoy the character you are playing and you love the team you are working with.