The Just Mohabbat actor talks about shedding his chocolate boy image, his family’s reaction to him playing a rapist, his equation with Sanjeeda Sheikh and more
Vatsal Seth is not new to television, but his character of Shaurya Goenka – a rapist, is definitely not something the actor is used to playing. He claims that while he was excited about doing a hatke role, he had a few inhibitions about playing the character. Apparently, the actor was worried about his family’s reaction once they saw Ek Hasina Thi. Wethinks, Vatsal has come a long way from playing the cute boy-next-door roles. Our revulsion towards Shaurya clearly indicates the success of his performance, right. Read excerpts from the interview…
You started your career on TV, moved to movies and now you’ve come back to television. Have you noticed any change in the telly industry?
I feel the television and the movie atmosphere is more or less the same, when compared to each other. Just that working in television is a lot more hectic in terms of the schedule. You cover a lot of work in one day on TV. Then again, the schedule for the movie, Hostel was a lot more hectic than TV because of a restricted budget. Nonetheless, I think TV has changed a lot from my earlier days. The production value is so much higher than what it used to be in those days. I still remember, my show Just Mohabbat was the number one show, but we never did promoted the show or anything like that. From the time I have come on board for Ek Hasina Thi, I have promoted the show in six-seven cities already. The audiences have increased, the reach has become vast; it feels great.
So how does it feel to come back to TV?
It feels great. Honestly speaking, I am very picky and choosy when it comes to the kind of work I do. I was always looking for something, which as an actor I could be proud of. I have barely done a few films, but I am proud of my work. Similarly, I am very proud the work I am doing on Ek Hasina Thi. The role is so challenging that it makes people sit up and take notice. Not many people have done such a role. I make it point to watch every episode of my show. I always wanted to do a show, that I’d personally like to watch it myself and Ek Hasina Thi is does just that.
How is your equation with Sanjeeda Sheikh?
I think Sanjeeda is a great person and one of the most chilled out actors I have worked with. She doesn’t have any ego hassles; we are like minded and she is very easy going. So are Simone Singh and Ayub Khan. In fact, I have worked with Ayub in Toh Baat Pakki before. It’s great fun to be on the sets.
There was a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) passed by Cine & TV Artistes Association (CINTAA). Have you heard of it and do you think it will affect you in anyway?
I have heard about it too, but I don’t know what it says exactly. We’ve been shooting every day, so I do not know what the specifics are, but I’ve heard a few things about a three year contract and pay cuts. Frankly, I don’t think it affects me in anyway ‘coz Ek Hasina Thi is a finite show and will not go beyond a year.
Who according to you is more gorgeous – Sanjeeda Sheikh or Simone Singh?
I think both of them… It’s really difficult to pick one. I think they are both extremely beautiful.
Who is a better actor – Sanjeeda Sheikh or Simone Singh?
Again, both of them are brilliant actors. Frankly, I think they help me lift my performance. I am fortunate to be working with such great actors. They make my job easier. They know exactly how to handle a newcomer like me.
So have your seniors given you any advice?
Well not on the sets of Ek Hasina Thi, but I learn from experiences. I remember shooting this Pepsi commercial with Shah Rukh Khan. I had just wrapped up Just Mohabbat. I was asking him for advice and he told me that time and experience is the best teacher. So the more experienced you are the better performance you will give. I have never forgotten his wise words.
You’ve always been playing a chocolate boy. Didn’t it bother you to play a rapist?
My character, Shaurya Goenka, who is basically a bad boy, is a challenge for me. As an actor you always want to do things that are not easy. When Siddharth Malhotra – the producer approached me for the show, I told him to offer me a role only if it is different. When he narrated my character, I knew it was something no one has ever attempted before. It was the perfect role to break my chocolate boy image. The shock value my character would generate would work wonders and I instantly came on board.
How has the response been so far?
The response has been amazing. I am so happy and glad that people have accepted me.
How did your family react after they came to know that you are playing a rapist?
I did not tell my family that I am playing a rapist when I got the role. I just told that I am playing a negative lead. The first day when the show went on air, I remember, we were watching it somewhere else and dad called me up. He said he loved my performance, but it’s a negative character.
So what are your plans for the future? Any movies in the pipeline?
No nothing as yet. But we barely get holidays during the show. The one day I get, I sleep through it. I will start doing movies again once this show is over.