Actor Jay Soni has had a great journey as he lived the character of Abhinav in Rajan Shahi’s Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai to the ‘T’. Getting into this popular and long-running Star Plus show and making a space for himself in his character, was a herculean task. But Jay achieved it so very emphatically that there is a huge section of the audience today, feeling the pain of his character’s exit.

In a candid and exclusive conversation with, Jay Soni talks about his beautiful journey playing Abhinav and the learnings he has got from this beautifully etched character.

Read on.

Abhinav has had a very good journey in Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. Take is through it. 

I loved every bit of playing Abhinav. I was learning a lot from the character as Jay. Every scene had so many layers, and hats off to the writers for the scenes that came my way. Abhinav will always be very close to me. I never expected this kind of love to be pouring in. Now I am getting so many messages, asking me why I am moving out. There are people telling me that this character gave them so much of hope that a second lease of life exists when it comes to love. Honestly, it has been a great journey. But yes, the craving is there to play more of it. People were so impressed with Abhinav that I used to receive messages saying they too want an Abhinav in their lives.

Was the tenure of Abhinav decided earlier?

It was always meant to be like this. But everything depended on the audience’s reaction and the response. There was no timeframe that was decided initially. We did not know how we were moving ahead and went with the flow when it came to the storyline.

This separation track of Abhimanyu and Akshara and the entry of Abhinav into Akshara’s life, has been a beautifully etched script. It showed in numbers too. What have you to say?

As an actor, I did my job well with full honesty and loyalty. I am happy with the way it shaped up.

If you look at Abhinav superficially, one might feel that it is a cakewalk to play such a flawless man. But it had its own layers and challenges too. What will you say about it?

Yes, I had to maintain a thin line in many of the sequences. I had to not go overboard, and not look silly, or negative. I was helped a lot by the team involved. Rest, I played how I felt from within. I was playing Abhinav throughout. There were times when I never used to sleep at night. My chest was heavy, when the shoot for Abhir’s health condition was going on. My body was shivering and I could not give my scene during one such scene involving Abhir’s medical track.

What is your biggest takeaway from playing Abhinav?

I loved the fact that Abhinav was always positive in his approach. It is natural to think negatively in such situations and circumstances. But as Abhinav, I learnt to first think about the positive side of every situation. Abhinav used to react very differently to every given situation. Catch lines such as Bhaiji, Oyijaa, Nikkiji were so cute. I will miss saying them. I never expected these to turn out to be so popular.

Amidst all the goodness that this character of Abhinav provided, there was a section of fans, who were intimidated by Abhinav’s entry, in the life of Akshara. What is your take on it?

I never used to think and give that much importance to all of this. I had to perform, so I stopped thinking. To be honest, Abhinav was a good guy. Even if he came in between any love story, or came to help. I did not think about all of it. I focussed on my work, and hoped that people accepted me in the character in the coming months. You cannot please everyone. And the same has happened. With time, a section of the audience organically got up and appreciated the character’s goodness.

You have been part of many varied genres. So how do you choose a particular project?

I think the project chooses you. I am very choosy when picking up new work. A show like Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, where there was no vacancy, to get into it, and do the job well, is a happy feeling. I can say that I go with my gut feeling when it comes to choosing my work.

You have had a long-standing association with Rajan Shahiji. So how was it for you? How does it feel to move out?

Well, I was totally in my comfort zone working with this team. Now when I go and take my next project, I might not get the same comfort level. Every production experience is different. I always focus on my work, and want to go back home as a satisfied man. It was superb working with Rajan Sir and the whole of the DKP team.

I am happy that I created my space in this legendary show Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai: Jay Soni 839507

Your best moments from the Yeh Rishta set.

There are many in fact. One moment was when I shot for the scene when I took Akshara, lifting her up along with the chair, in the worst of weather when she was about to deliver. It was great to shoot this sequence amidst the rain. It was a powerful scene, and it was nice to get applauded on set.

What was the best with Abhir?

I will miss Nikkiji a lot. We used to have fun on sets. He used to love playing pranks with me. I will miss those scenes with him, the bond between father and son was so relatable. I will miss the Abhir-Abhinav scenes. I will surely tell the team to take care of my Nikkiji.

Are you opting for a break now?

No, I will definitely get back soon. I am usually lazy and choosy too. But I also believe in working on my craft during my break so that when the character comes to me, I am ready for it. At this stage of my career, I do not want to take up anything random. Now, after Abhinav, I really need to choose wisely.

Lastly, have you seen anyone similar to Abhinav in reality?

I am similar to Abhinav in a few ways.

So what is the parting note to Rajanji, Harshad, Pranali and the team?

I am happy that I created my space in this legendary show, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. They are doing great work. I am going, toh it is ‘Ab tumhare hawaale watan saathiyon’…. Frankly speaking, they are already doing a great job. So wishing them more luck!!

Best of luck for your next, Jay!!