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Karan Wahi: If I can’t be happy, I don’t want the money

Updated on: 26 July,2022 07:35 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Letty Mariam Abraham |

Looking for creative satisfaction, Karan Wahi ends his six-year hiatus to headline television show 'Channa Mereya'

Karan Wahi: If I can’t be happy, I don’t want the money

Karan Wahi

He steered clear of television for six years, as much for the medium’s lack of creative freedom as for its long, gruelling hours. Now, Karan Wahi has returned to the tube with 'Channa Mereya'. Admitting that his approach and worldview have changed over time, the actor is ready to work on his own terms. Wahi, who plays an angry young chef in the show, discusses what made him return to the small screen.

Edited excerpts from the interview. 

You’re back on television after six years. Was 'Channa Mereya' all that you were looking for?
Since television is primarily about jodis, there is more scope [to perform] when it comes to romantic dramas vis-a-vis a family-oriented show. With this romantic drama, I got the [quintessential] TV drama, and at the same time, I had the scope to perform. What excited me was that the [makers] wanted me to be creatively involved in [the show], which rarely happens on TV. Also, in the telly world, people think you have to work 30 days a month, 20 hours a day. But [on this show], I work decent hours and have a life outside work. So, when the issues that primarily kept me away from the small screen were sorted, I had no reason to decline the show.

Also Read: Karan Wahi: I kissed my best friend, got 'friend-zoned' too

Was it a prerequisite in your contract?
See, if you are okay with [the long hours, then great]. But [I value] my mental well-being and my love for the craft. If I have to come back to a daily after seven to eight years, I don’t want to return only to make money. I understand TV can get monotonous after a while, but that’s true of everything. I need to enjoy what I am doing. If I can’t be happy, then I don’t want the money I am making on television.

How have you contributed creatively to the show?
When the makers told me Aditya [his character] is a chef, I needed clarity on how much of the chef aspect will be shown. I was told there will be scenes to put across that the story is about two protagonists and their love for food. They made me rehearse with a chef. I wanted to know the nitty-gritties of the profession — how they fold their sleeves while cooking, do they wear anything on their hands when in the kitchen? I used to wear a Pokhraj ring, but I removed it for the show. I also sit on the dialogues with my creative team; they give me the liberty to give them inputs. The best thing about this set is that there is a lot of give-and-take.

Also Read: Karan Wahi has most memories with friends at THIS Mumbai café

Your character is the formulaic brooding man. Why are makers obsessed with this stereotype?
In television, a happy-go-lucky [character] becomes childish, much like my character Dr. Sid in 'Dill Mill Gayye'. I feel brooding roles work better on television. As per the channel’s [research], women like men who talk less and have mystery about them. In real life, I don’t think you’ll talk to a man because he is brooding. I like essaying Aditya because I have not played such a role in a long time. The last time I played such a part was in Bar Code. I also believe that the brooding leading man works because then it makes it easier to do the sensual moments.

Over the years, has your working style changed?
A lot. I have grown up. Now, I understand the importance of work and have fallen in love with acting. I [struck gold] with 'Remix', which gave me fame and money. I left television because I was not enjoying it. I took a call [to distance myself] for my sanity. 

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