Mohit Malik gave one of his best portrayals as Samrat Singh Rathore in Doli Armaanon Ki.
Aggressiveness and unpredictability being the character’s forte, Mohit gave an impeccable performance!!
And now, he is seen in a complete contrast of a character in Sikandar Singh Gill in the newly launched show on Star Plus, Kullfi Kumarr Baajewala.
One of the very few actors who has not been typecast in the industry, Mohit can pull off any role with elan!! And the best part is the way he approaches a character, prepares for it and then jumps on to playing it…
In an exclusive chit-chat with IWMBuzz.com, Mohit Malik shares his preparation work to play the role, few interesting incidents from the set and much more…
How is it to play Sikandar Singh Gill?
It is very challenging to play this role. However, psyche wise the character is very unlike me. But certain characteristics and behavioural instincts are very similar to mine in real life. The pureness, earthiness, humbleness, come from me. He’s a sad soul in his present life. He’s an alcoholic, guilt-ridden, self-loathing and a self-deprecating guy. The best example for the character is Amitabh Bachchan in Sharaabi. He has shook hands and made friendship with sorrow. To play such a role is really challenging for me. Also the best part about this role is that it requires me to be different in my present scenes and that shown as part of flash back. While in the present, he is alcoholic and depressed, his younger version with Nimmo is totally a contrast. People say that playing a rockstar is very much easy. But there is more than being a rockstar with respect to this role. Usually, we actors have a personal life shown in shows. But over here, there is a personal life as well as professional life of the character. As you know, music is the soul of the show and it is a beautiful concept of how music connects the father and the daughter.
In fact, few months back, I was telling my wife Additie that I would love to do a show wherein I had a cute little daughter. I even told her that the father and daughter had to have an emotional bonding. And when I got Kullfi Kumarr Baajewala, I was literally surprised as whatever I had said had come true.
Your earlier popular character Samrat Singh Rathore was highly aggressive. But here, you have had nothing to do with aggressiveness.
Yes, you picked up the difference perfectly. Very true!! Samrat and most of the characters I have played till now have been on the aggressive side, as this characteristic comes mainly from me. Most of the young actors on TV from North India possess this attribute. But as Sikandar Singh Gill, I never wanted this aggression. The challenge for me was to look different and portray it differently. And I am glad that people have taken note of my whole personality getting changed for this role. This is my job as an actor, and with Sikandar being calm, spiritual, grounded, religious and traditional, I had to bring that on the screen. Also remember, he is a creative guy, an artist, hence needs to have a calm and relaxed face.
What did you do to get so calm and composed in life?
Yes, I have had a huge shift over the last one year personally. I have become more spiritual and meditate a lot. Even now, between shots, I tend to sit alone in a corner, and be with my breath. It has actually helped me evolve in my craft. I believe in one saying – Become a Zero first. Only when you turn zero, you can imbibe newer dynamics and play a new character with all confidence. For me getting more spiritual helped me turn zero. It then became easier to pick up the new character.
How did you gain the art of meditation?
Whenever I am not shooting, I always recharge my batteries by attending workshop of Atul Mongia. He is a renowned personality in the industry, with many big stars from Bollywood consulting him and taking advices from him. When two of my shows got shelved earlier, I decided to work on myself. I attended few workshops with Mongia, and even assisted him for a Malayalam movie starring Mohan Lal. We were in Kerala for that movie. During this time, he taught me the art of meditation. He is a very spiritual guy and I closely worked with him to get better from within. He believes that acting or let’s say anything that’s creative comes from your higher self and not from any ego or lower self. If you want to become a better actor, let go of your ego. All the best work does not come from the mind; it comes from the higher self. I started believing in him. So overall, meditation has become an integral part of my life, it’s like brushing my teeth every morning. It’s a nicer way to cut off from my character too once I pack up.
So overall, there are no regrets that you lost time on two shows which got shelved after a long wait?
Well, whatever happens is for the good. This is how one should see life. Yes, if things go wrong, one should try to rectify it if it is in their hands. But in my case, it was not in my hands. I waited for 6 months for Khoon Bhari Maang to start. And then when it did not happen, I got Yaariaan of Rajan Shahi. After waiting for 6 months, we got to know that the show is not happening. This was somewhere hurting for me. When I got the news of Yaariaan, I was depressed for more than a week. I am being honest with you. That is when Atul Sir’s teachings helped me regroup. It is not easy to practice spirituality. But when you think of accepting what life gives you, you are a winner and you tend to move ahead quickly. However, if you resist it, there is a problem. I then helped my wife Addite with her cafe, 1BHK. I got lot of offers during that time, but I was very choosy. I thought I will do a good show. And Kullfi Kumarr Baajewala is worth the wait.
Elaborate on the prep work that you had to undertake for the role?
I started writing a diary when I bagged the role of Sikandar, and till this date, I have been using it. I have jotted down the basic lifestyle of the man, his thoughts, his dynamics with various characters in his life etc. I always carry it with me on set. Before starting my shoot daily, I go through the important points and only then step into the shoes of Sikandar Singh Gill.
I have learned to play the guitar and have been playing it. I have learned Punjabi for the role. I have a friend from Jalandhar who helped me with it. I did a seven day workshop with her and got to learn the nuances of the dialect.
Also, I have started to learn singing for the role. In fact, I am well-versed in guitar and this gave me a slight edge to being musically inclined. I have been learning my riyaaz from a renowned singer Yuvi. I have started learning the sur now. Actually to tell you, I have promised my Producers that I will sing and record a song for the show in four months.
When it comes to getting to the sync of the songs while shooting, I do my own prep work for it. I get to know the song that is going to be played and watch videos for the chords used for the song. Since I have knowledge of guitar, I can guage the chords quickly.
How has the reaction been from your large fan base?
People have accepted me in the role and I am quite surprised. Viewers have gone smart and they very well understand that I am an actor and should be capable of playing all roles. They have noticed the change from being the aggressive man Samrat to the calm husband in Sikandar. At least for me as an actor, I have never been typecast. That’s the best thing in my career so far.
You are back on Star Plus…
It is always good to come back to Star. The channel promotes, executes shows so well. The reception to their shows is also immense. They gave me my first show in Milliee and I will always be thankful to them.
How is it to have two wives in the show?
Aww!! I feel lucky to have got good co-actors as wives. One wife loves me to the core and the other troubles me a lot. Having said this, both are fabulous actors and human beings. Anjali (Anand) has become a close friend of mine.
To tell you about Shruti (Sharma), she is somebody that I always imagined when I heard of Nimrat’s character. And when I saw Shruti on set for the first time, I was taken aback as she was exactly the same. Also, we connected in a matter of one minute. She is very much like me. Her behaviour, her attitude towards work, and her thought process matches with mine. You can see this connect in our scenes, wherein the warmth and bonding is very much visible.
Your experience of working with the two lady Producers Gul Khan and Nilanjana Purkayasstha?
Both of them are very talented. I have worked with Gul before in Suvreen Guggal. We wanted to work with each other again; Gul in fact called me for another show which did not work out. I love her show and the way she executes them. She has a good sense of characterization.
With Nilanjana, I have a story to share. She was the main reason why I came to Mumbai many years back (smiles). When I was in Delhi, I got offered a show on Star Plus, Kaha Hoon Main which also had Vikrant Massey. Nilanjana was with Star Plus then and they wanted me to shift base to Mumbai and take this role. I did so, but the show did not happen eventually. So this first association with Nilanjana actually brought me to Mumbai, the city which has given me so much today. She is such a warm person and the set gets very lively when she is around. In fact when our show was launched, we asked her to throw a party. She said she would not put up a lavish party, as she was very superstitious. Instead, she organized a party on the set wherein she invited the families of all in the cast and crew. I loved her gesture of calling the crew’s family for the party. She won my heart right there.
How has your wife Addite supported you during your low ebb last year and what does she feel now?
Addite has been a backbone to me. Whatever I am today, is because of her We are each other’s support system. The best part is that we help each other grow in life. I have helped her in her growth and she has helped me in mine. She brings stability in my life. It is a beautiful feeling to go back home to her. She loves my show and role. She has always been my biggest critic. However, se feels weird with my Punjabi accent as she is not used to hearing that from me. But I am sure she will get a hang of it soon.
How is it with the two kids on the sets?
They are lovely kids. Both on screen and off the screen, they have distinctive personalities. They are very pure in their heart and put in lot of hard work. In fact, people on the set tell me that both are learning from me (smiles). I have this habit of getting into my character, coming inside the mark, being in the zone before the shot happens. Nowadays, both the girls do just that; they come well-prepared, get to their mark and be ready before time. In fact you can say that I am getting free parenting practice on sets.
So time for you and Addite to have a kid…
Yes, we will. I love girls and would love to have a daughter.
Tell us about Aakriti Sharma aka Kullfi?
What do I tell about her? If you ask me, till date she has been the best co-actor I have ever had. She’s amazing, and I have never seen a kid actor like her. She’s so pure, and acting comes so naturally to her. I am in fact learning from her.