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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Abhishek Malik: “I’m a Firm Believer That Slowly and Steady Wins the Race”

Abhishek Malik is the talented, handsome hunk who is loved globally for his performances on Indian television.

He began his career as a modelling career by winning the title of ‘Mr Delhi’ in 2009 and then ‘Mr Pune’ in 2010. 

Subsequently, in 2012, Colors TV offered him a lead role in the series Chhal – Sheh Aur Maat which he did.

Since then, Abhishek has gone on to star in several popular shows including Dil Ki Nazar Se Khoobsurat and Punar Vivah, amongst others.

Recently, he rose to immense popularity after playing ‘Rohan Shrivastava’ in Ekta Kapoor’s Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, though his exit from the show left us feeling empty.

Thankfully, that emptiness is no longer felt as we will be seeing him in Star Plus’ new show Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum.

In a special interview with Filme Shilmy, Abhishek reflects over his career and the current trends in Indian television.

You’re set to be represented and styled by Jai Mantra here in the UK. You must be very excited about this?

I’m glad and very happy. I would love to be associated and Jai said I should explore something new, so I’ve been looking forward to it.

Your character in Yeh Hai Mohabbatein received a lot of love and popularity. How has that popularity continued since you left the show?

There was a reason for me leaving because I was offered a new show and I happened to know that the show is going off-air – which is not happening pretty soon but the main guy (who plays Raman Bhalla) has also left the show.

He was the pillar so since he left, I didn’t think that there was something else to play.

I thought there was nothing left in the show now, so they killed off my character and I’m in a new show with the same name… Which is what the channel wanted because people loved Rohan.

So now I’m doing a show for Star Plus again with the same character name.

I feel that I’m blessed.

We’re now seeing you as Rohan in Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum. What has this been like for you so far?

If we talk about Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum, currently they’re focusing on the leads.

But I truly believe that they first need to gather some audience and connect with the leads. I, being an actor totally appreciate and respect that.

I’m just waiting for my track to begin with the character Praniti. So it’s going to be a tricky track, which is what they’ve told me.

It’s still under wraps but slowly and steadily it will develop.

I’m looking forward to it.

It’s been 7 years since you started your acting career. How satisfied are you with the way it’s shaping up?

I don’t have a godfather in the industry.

I believe that growing gradually and slowly helps you to build oneself as an actor. It keeps one grounded.

Because of the fact that I don’t have a godfather, I feel blessed that people love me enough.

I continue to focus on my work. I’m a workaholic so daily in the morning I look up to the day – going on the sets and meeting my director/colleagues.

I’m a firm believer in that the slow and steady wins the race.

You’ve done quite a lot of dark/layered characters. What is your approach like to such roles?

I’m an actor. So what I personally feel is that an actor should be versatile and I’d like to think the writers/producers think that I’m versatile enough to portray positive and negative characters.

If I’m doing a negative role and get negative comments, I take it as a compliment.

If I am able to portray the emotions properly, that boosts me.

At the same time, people will love me if I play a positive character – it all just depends on the role.

When it comes to daily soaps and all, Indians can easily connect with them.

I respect their feelings and all… I’m still a learner so I surrender myself to the director and follow their lead.

Don’t you feel that some Indian serials are still regressive?

Right now, people have switched to watch web-series and the digital platform… Which is great for an actor because we tend to play various characters with different shades.

There is a sector of society which is still not comfortable with the OTT platforms so they stick with Television – which is what we’re there to provide them with.

They have their own mentality and prefer watching the larger-than-life scenes.

But that’s how some people like it and we’re supposed to provide them with that.

After all, it’s the TRP game.

An actor can be often stereotyped for playing a certain persona. How can one avoid doing that?

They have to experiment with characters… They should not stick to a particular style.

I have done so many shows where I’ve played a negative character as well as a grey one.

There is a very thin line between playing a grey character and a completely negative persona. 

I feel that an actor should figure out how they should react and to what extent.

So I would personally feel that one should be open for all characters that are offered. 

In Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, I was one of the main leads of the show. But while doing Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum it’s somewhat like a parallel lead.

What matters to me is that the script, production team and channel are good. 

I don’t feel sad about not playing a lead role… I should be happy in whatever I’m doing.

I think I’m capable enough to pull off the character, hence why I was approached for it.

How challenging is it to transition into the film from the small screen? Does that necessarily guarantee success?

I have been offered a few films but those were not the main tracks, so I refused. I cannot play a side-tracked character… That’s not me.

I even auditioned for a few films, but they did not work. So it’s okay as it is the part and parcel of being an actor.

If it is a major character with a meaty role, I would love to do it.

But for me, what matters is that I should be visible on the screen and feel content.

I’m not worried about not focusing on films currently. I am pretty happy in my own space. 

Indian television is omnipresent and people look up to it.

If you’ve done a movie, you don’t get that much of fame… But with television, there is a huge opportunity to get popular.

Divyanka Tripathi has done this show for 5/6 years and she has a huge fan base, which is good.

Finally, what are your aspirations for the future?

Right now, I’m just focusing on Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum. I have been getting a few offers which are the main leads.

But I truly believe and have full faith in my producers/writers that they will do justice to this character.

Till the time I satisfied, I will do the show. God forbid, if it doesn’t work out, I will look for something else.

The thing is, an actor’s life is very unpredictable. It’s a very competitive world.

Everybody in Mumbai is an actor. If you come to Lokhandwala, all the struggling actors doing something or the other. 

Despite it being competitive, I’m blessed and grateful that I have a job and something to look forward to every morning.

Here’s wishing Abhishek all the best for his current and future projects!

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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