Ram, who’s currently in London spoke to CS about the Indian TV industry, working in Bollywood and his biggest support system -- his wife Gautami. Excerpts from an interview.
Comfortable in his own skin
I don’t know how to react when people tell me that I have changed the image of the male sex symbol on Indian television. Of course, it’s a compliment but I don’t consider myself as sexy. I play the character of a fat, middle-aged Punjabi businessman and I am portraying it by just being myself. I know my assets and negatives. Always look at your positive aspects and be at ease with yourself. My suggestion to everyone is to embrace yourself as you are, low self-esteem is a disease.
The tube tale
I will never turn my back on television. It’s true that I’m tied up with film commitments for the next year and a half. But, once I am done with my commitments and get an offer for a television show as well as a challenging role in a film, then I would opt for the former. I have learnt a lot from the medium, it has given me my identity. The pressure of working on a daily soap is immense, as we are always running against time. We end up doing six-eight scenes in a day, which means mastering four-six pages of dialogues.
Going to the movies
Working in films is a relaxed affair. An actor has enough time for workshops, to rehearse scenes, work and re-work on the character, script and more. It’s a good medium to stretch your abilities yet it can make you complacent. Laziness is bad for an actor. My film career took off after Udaan and Mera Dad Ki Maruti with big production houses approaching me for roles. I am really enjoying this phase of my career. I am doing positive, negative and even comic characters on screen. It’s a joy working with the likes of Nagesh Kukunoor, Sajid Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani.
No laughing matter
I am known for my intense on-screen portrayals, these roles come easier to me. However, doing comedy is the toughest genre to play on celluloid. It is very easy to make people cry but challenging to make them laugh.
As a child, my dad was busy with work while mom brought us up. But now, my dad is my best friend. Whenever I get the time, I make it point to spend it with my wife Gautami and kids. We try to take at least three holidays in a year-during summer vacations, Diwali and New Year. Our trips are mad affairs.