Ssharad Malhotra is one of the hottest hunks around in Tellyland. Good-looking, talented and immensely popular, Ssharad is one actor who has consistently given hugely successful shows on TV. The talented young lad believes in doing shows that are quite different from the usual run-of-the-mill shows that abound on TV.
His latest show, Musakaan on Star Bharat, also features a story that is vastly different from anything TV audiences have ever seen before. Ssharad plays the scion of a high-class family, who falls in love with the daughter of a sex worker.
In a free-wheeling chat with IWMBuzz.com, Ssharad shares things that are close to his heart. Read on to find ou..
People are showering love on you and on your show Musakaan.. Tell us about it?
Surprisingly, the going has been great. It has just been 3-4 months into the show for me and I did not expect so much of love to come pouring in so soon. Any show usually takes nearly six months to pick up. Credit here has to be given to the concept; it is very different. The content is quite not the regular run-of-the-mill kind of stuff and that is the reason why I chose to take this show. It is not the regular love story. I have done the filmy drama and love stories before. This was something which was different from what I have done.
You have had a great association with Producers Rashmi Sharma and Pawan Kumar?
I was scared initially, and did not know whether people would accept me in this role. But luckily, by the grace of God and considering that the Producers Pawan and Rashmi are one of the top players in today’s entire television scenario, their brainstorming with the entire team has brought about results and will give good results in future too. Their track record has been great and they have had superb shows in the past. And Rashmi, Pawan are like family to me. Pawan directed my first show Banoo Main Teri Dulhann; he is like an elder brother to me. Working with them is like coming back to home turf.
Whenever Ssharad Malhotra takes up a new work, there are huge expectations. How do you feel about it?
True this!! There is a lot of pressure in terms of work. Everyone expects a lot out of me. There is always this belief that I will deliver brilliant stuff whenever I am in front of the screen. In this way, these four months have been really hectic. I keep telling people that Kasam was not this strenuous, probably because I was there from the start. But here, it is quite demanding in terms of my physical presence as well as emotional presence. Like it happened before in Maharana Pratap, it was difficult to take over from Faizal. He did such a marvellous job. Even in Musakaan, there has been a child phase in the show. For whatever reasons, the ratings did not go up then.
So going back to the same thing again, what are the factors that you ponder on when you choose your show?
See I tell you what, people know that I am very choosy about the work I do. If you see my ratio, this is just my fourth show in the last 13 years of my career. Luckily, all my shows have done really well by the grace of God. For me, it is the content that is the ‘hero’. I don’t consider myself as the hero. So the moment I accept that, I think for me that is the most important thing. When I was offered Musakaan, I found it to be a very sensitive topic, with this boy falling in love with the daughter of a sex worker. That in itself raises eyebrows. This is what excited me and has struck a chord with the audience too.
Now, we are dealing with the issue and gradually, the love story will also come into existence. The numbers are good and the word of mouth is really good. The UP and Bihar belt is following the show religiously. Also, up North and in Kolkata from where I belong, is where people watch it. Lot of my friends, families have been hooked on to Musakaan. They want to see how TV deals with such a sensitive topic. The son’s father who is a white-collared man, running a completely different parallel business of a brothel, is unheard of. He is a highly respected person, but there is a different side to him when he is running a brothel. The manner in which the makers have manoeuvred into this line is really interesting. Above all, Musakaan is known for its performances which actually enhances the story line.
Tell us about your personal difficulties in working up for the role?
For me this has been a difficult show. This accent has been very different for me. I have never played such a role before. Before I sign every character, I do my homework. I work on the way he talks, walks, his mannerisms, body language etc. Luckily again, people have accepted me in my roles always. They have loved my characters. It is a challenge for me, wherein I want people to connect to this character too. The feedback I am getting is really overwhelming. I am really grateful to the person up there, who is taking very good care of me. The best compliment that I have got in these last 13 years has been my mom telling me that she finally is watching my show only for me. Earlier, she had many reasons to watch my shows. But now, she is watching Musakaan only for me. She has been one person in my life who has always wanted me to stay grounded. She tells me that you can be a good actor, but you have to be a normal person. According to her, the tag of a star is very temporary, but it is important to be a good human being. I am really thankful to my mom for enjoying this performance of mine. This is more than any award possible.
Actors usually take home something from the characters they play. So what is it that you take home from Raunak?
Raunak has had very intense hard performance scenes. So whenever I have performed such scenes, I have taken home a sense of satisfaction, may be contentment, a sense of relief. By the grace of God, I am getting applauded on the set which is very rare. People on the set simply enjoy my scenes and praise me for it. I am glad that this is happening with me.
Your scenes with Sudesh Berry come out so well. How does it happen?
Yes, I was coming to this point. The kind of response we get for our scenes is unreal. I have people calling me and saying that the father-son Jodi is crazy. We end up doing such amazing scenes which we don’t even plan. As an actor, I simply go with the flow and never plan anything. Sudeshji is such a brilliant actor; we have seen his great body of work. Working with him is an honour. The kind of scenes we do are insane. I recently got a call from a renowned person from the industry, the name I would not want to reveal, telling me that what I do in Musakaan is very surreal. Such words motivate me a lot. This is encouraging for me. Even my scenes with Moon Banerjee come out really well. We have an instant Bengali bond going.
How do you keep yourself and your fan base happy at this phase of your career?
See, I am at a stage where I don’t want to prove myself as an actor now. I have got many opportunities where I have proved myself. I have played characters where people have seen me as an actor. Now I want to maintain that level and go above and raise my bar. After 13 years, I want to maintain that smile on people’s faces. Nobody expected Raunak Singh to be like this. For me it was to go ahead with my belief. I have a sense of belief in my body of work, in the person up there guiding me, and in my sixth sense too. I believed this might work with the audience.
People tell me that my success rate is really good. But I have reached a stage where it does not matter to me now. Yes, TRP is really important because a show runs on that. Let us be honest. Kasam did well for two years and did not do well in its last 3-4 months. I got to work with brilliant actors in Kasam. I have practically grown with every show. Even in this one, I am working with very natural actors.
How is it working with Yesha Rughani?
She’s really good. She is relatively new. We have shot some good scenes together. She is a chilled out girl, very professional. When you are new and fresh, you take some time to open up. Having said that, she is an easy actor to work with. I have always managed to have great chemistry with all my leading ladies. People always ask me how I manage to do this. Honestly, there is no chemistry, physics or biology in it. It is just that the moment you make the other person comfortable, immediately there is a bonding that takes place. So my priority always is to make my co-actor comfortable. Yesha was also nervous in the first couple of days. Gradually, the chemistry grew and now we are used to each others’ timings. I would like to maintain my record of having good chemistry with my leading ladies. So far we are doing well. As the love story progresses and grows, people will see more of it coming.
As an actor, do you have a vision when you look into the years to come? If so, what is in mind as the dream wish?
In the coming years, I will definitely want to do a very good film with my favourite directors, Sanjay Leela Bhansali or Rajoo Hirani. God willing, if this happens in this life of mine, I will be elated. I have a long list of directors to work with, but these two are at the top of the list. I want to do a good content film.
Also, I have a plan to open up an eatery in Mumbai. My mom is also excited about this. I will in the next year and half work on this and come up with an eatery.
Tell us about a good fan moment after Musakaan has happened to you?
I have been getting lot of calls of late from across the border, from Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore at unearthly hours. One night, I got a call from a girl at 3 in the night who told me that she loves me and wants to marry me. She also said sternly that she will make sure she married me (smiles). She was from Pakistan. It was startling. I have had such fan moments where people feel they own you. They like an actor so much that they want to have a piece of him. I understand this but it can get little scary at times. But I do understand that it comes out of admiration.
When are we going to see you on the web space?
Web is a medium I want to touch. I want to do a good web-series too. It is a new wave coming in and I will definitely look for a good opportunity.
How is content in TV placed as of now? Do you feel there needs to be a change?
Content in TV as compared to earlier times has definitely improved and is more entertaining and thought provoking too. The idiot box has evolved with time and is getting smarter by the minute.
Lastly, your message to your loyal fans will be…
I request all my ardent fans / viewers to please keep supporting me and loving me always and also urge new people to start watching my show. I promise not to disappoint them in any way. I will always do my best to bring a ‘Musakaan’ to their faces.