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Testing new waters

NANDINI D. TRIPATHY
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Love allKaran PatelPhoto: AFP
Love allKaran PatelPhoto: AFP

Suave and well-spoken, Karan Patel exudes self-confidence as he speaks with enthusiasm about his new show on Star Plus, “Yeh Hai Mohabbatein”, his take on reality television, and more.

What made you decide to take up “Yeh Hai Mohabbatein”?

First and foremost I was really kicked about the idea of a show based on a novel. This is the first time the rights of a novel (Manju Kapoor’s ‘Custody’) have been formally bought for adaptation to the small screen. Also Raman Bhalla, the character that I’ll be playing, is unlike anything I’ve done before. He is such a contrast to the flamboyant characters I’ve played so far: doesn’t talk much – emotes mostly with his eyes and his face – certain experiences have made him completely shut down to love, women and marriage as an institution and he holds back a lot of trapped emotions...all of this is very new to me, but then where’s the fun in doing things you’ve already done before?

What sets the show apart from others on air?

It deals with a love story the likes of which have never been told on Indian television before, and it breaks quite a few stereotypes along the way too. Here is a woman who cannot conceive and becomes attached to a five-year-old girl whose father she cannot stand, and a very unusual bond with that man develops around the child. I think this can make for a very interesting watch. We also have certain calcified notions in our country because of which a lot of us tend to look down upon women. The show addresses this rather sensitive issue too, and can be an eye-opener that way.

What kind of an audience do you think the show caters to?

It caters to an urban audience that I feel has come a fair way in developing a more liberal and sensible outlook towards the changing content television has been offering them for a while now. The viewers today are more intelligent and are embracing the new trends that are coming about. There was a time when we couldn’t think beyond the saas and the bahu, then shows began taking up important social issues like child marriage and such like, and now we’ve begun exploring post-marriage, mature relationships. Do you think that you might now run the risk of bring typecast into certain kinds of roles?

No, I don’t think so actually. Like I said, we’re dealing with a more intelligent audience today and along with their perceptions towards shows, their perceptions towards characters and actors are also changing. Now it’s not simply about a character that the audience relates to, but they also relate to the actor behind the role with the media’s help, for instance. Today, people get to read about television actors on a personal note on a daily basis too, and therefore don’t necessarily want to associate them only with the characters they are playing on screen.

What is your take on reality television? Reality shows today are mostly about showing the audience a ‘real’ you that is basically the product of your being pushed into a corner, with your back against the wall. More often than not, that’s not how you behave at home with your family and friends and with people you know. I wouldn’t want to do something like that, and would much rather stick to dance-based shows that let you showcase your talent and maintain your dignity. Shows like that can also give you a platform to be seen in a different light. For example one of my own colleagues from Balaji, Sushant Singh Rajput shot to fame only after he did Jhalak. Reality shows can’t make you a superstar overnight but they can definitely give you a boost.

NANDINI D. TRIPATHY


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