Sidharth Shukla: The first day Rashami Desai and I were shooting, it was a love scene
Sidharth Shukla, the 'Balika Vadhu' star, reveals why he has been off the Bollywood radar inspite of doing a Karan Johar film, gets candid about his drunken episodes, rumours of unprofessional behaviour and more
Telly town's brawny dude Sidharth Shukla of Balika Vadhu fame is back with Dil Se Dil Tak, a new daily soap opposite Rashami Desai and Jasmin Bhasin. The actor gets candid with hitlist about returning to daily soap, his drunken episodes, rumours about his unprofessional behaviour and more.
A still from Dil Se Dil Tak
You have a great chemistry with Rashami Desai in Dil Se Dil Tak. Is it taking time to build the same with Jasmin?
No, not at all. Jasmin is like a buddy, and very real, you get what you see. I feel she is like a female version of me — daft at times, but real all the time.
You took a long time to come back to daily soaps, was it conscious decision?
I was doing a lot of things post Balika Vadhu. I tried my hand at anchoring; I did a reality show, which I won. It was the right time now.
Weren't you trying to concentrate on your Bollywood career?
Not really. There's nothing to concentrate on. I am an actor and I'm always ready to act. I don't want to do a film, just to fill up my portfolio. I've seen a lot of movies, they come and go and I don't want something like that.
You are being choosy about Bollywood. What is it exactly you are looking for?
There's no 'a' particular thing that I am looking for. If I get a good script, whatever the role, as long as it's meaningful, I'd love it.
Doesn't being tied up with Dil Se Dil Tak kind of restrict your chances in Bollywood?
There's always enough time for you to do other things. In fact, even when I was doing Balika Vadhu, which was such a prominent and long show, I managed to get time to go for auditions, do a film and even do reality shows.
Have work timings for television actors reduced, now? Or do you still have to shoot for 18-19 hours a day?
When was it 18-19? I have never done that many hours. I have worked for 12 hours, and that's it. I know people do it, but I can't. I get too exhausted and then you can't give your best.
When does monotony sink in?
That happens when there is no movement in particular character or in the story. That's when you get frustrated. As an actor, you want to keep doing interesting work. It is my job to emote on cue, sometimes I succeed and at times, I don't.
If you had to evaluate yourself as an actor what would be your pluses and negatives?
I think I was a terrible actor. I couldn't act to save my life. In my first show, I started learning the process. I was a model. Fortunately, someone wanted me in a show and I got it. I needed the money. It was really tough. I had lost my father, and we were not doing well financially. I could not pay for an acting school. I couldn't afford that. So, television was the perfect learning tool. I stuck to it, and fortunately the work kept coming. Now, I believe I'm a better actor.
Television churns out episodes like factory; do you think sometimes people miss out on some of your best scenes?
Yes absolutely. Sometimes, I feel like I've done an epic scene and you want that scene to be there for ever but it's gone. Things get missed and I do feel bad. How do you deal with criticism? If it is constructive criticism, then I keep it, or else, I let it pass.
Does your chemistry with Rashami start right after the director says action or does it transcend even off camera?
We can talk all the time. We are very easy with other. It's never been a problem as such. The first day we were shooting, it was a love scene and we didn't know each other from Adam.
Is there anything you've refused to do onscreen?
Yes. Of course, I can say what, but why do I have to say it?
There have been a lot of things written about your unprofessional behaviour on the sets of a show. How do you deal with it now?
I let my work speak for itself. All the professional and unprofessional things you are talking about are from my past. If an iconic character is scrapped, who faces the biggest loss? The channel. If the channel thought I was unprofessional, why would they invest in me again? The stories don't matter to me, yes it hurts me.
Did you really have a drinking problem?
(Laughs) I have never had a drinking problem.
Or was it one of the drunken episodes?
I think it's human to err. We all have our learning curves, but what happens is when we (read actors) do it, it is talked about. But I am still learning and growing.
Earlier, we heard you had signed a three-film deal with Karan Johar's Dharma Productions. What is the status of that?
It will happen, but it will take its time.
We'd also heard that KJo has scrapped the deal...
Life is not yet over, it will happen. But I don't know. Karan is the best person to answer that.
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