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“TV has now become a bigger monster than films”

64th Birthday Interview ALOK NATH

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Jyothi Venkatesh

Today the veteran actor Alok Nath is celebrating his 64th birthday. We at bollyy.com and Mayapuri wish him a happy birthday and reproduce an interview of ALOK NATH by JYOTHI VENKATESH on the sets of Ghar Ek Sapna 13 years ago in which he says that one lesson that he has learnt after dabbling in production is that an actor should stick to his job- just acting.

How do you feel when you look back at your career?

Those were tough times when television was not in great form. Films were honky dory in their own respect, and outsiders were denied entry. Though my first serial was ‘Titlian’ directed by Nadeera Babbar, it was Ramesh Sippy’s ‘Buniyaad’, my first major serial, which fetched me a lot of recognition. Today, not many are aware of the fact  before Buniyaad, I had also acted in serials like Basu Chatterji’s ‘Rajni’ and ‘Darpan’, besides Manjul Sinha’s ‘Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi’and Amit Khanna’s ‘Chapte Chapte’ directed by Sudhir Mishra.

 

How was the experience to be associated with ‘Buniyaad’?

The role of Haweliram that I played in ‘Buniyaad’ fetched me several film offers though for one year, I was sold to ‘Buniyaad’ and could not accept any other offer, either television or films. ‘Buniyaad’ was shot on 16 mm and we had to dub our lines. It was a great learning experience working with Ramesh Sippy.

How was your experience of romancing Tina Munim on the big screen?

The character of ‘Haweliram’ had become so popular that I was even asked to play the romantic lead opposite Tina Munim in a film called ‘Kaamagni’. It was my first as well as last taste as a young leading man in Hindi Cinema.

How has your tryst with TV been till date?

TV is a constant process. When I was working in films, films were not regularly shown on TV. Now when film is a distant memory for me and I am preoccupied with TV serials, most of the 450 and odd films in which I had acted are being shown on TV on a regular basis day in and day out..

 

How would you rate TV in comparison to cinema?

TV today has become a bigger monster than even films and is generates a bigger revenue than films. UTV is coming up with eight new channels while Ekta Kapoor is getting into films with ‘Shootout At Lokhandwala’ and ‘ Woodstock Villa’.

Which are the TV serials in which you are acting now?

I am acting in Ajai Sinha’s ‘Ghar Ek Sapna’ which is on air on Sahara One as well as a serial called ‘Sansar’ on Doordarshan. In ‘Ghar Ek Sapna’, I play the head of the family. Himani Shivpuri plays my wife. We are the parents of six children. On the pipeline is yet another serial to be produced by Ajai for Sony, provided I get the time.

What is ‘Ghar Ek Sapna’ all about?

‘Ghar Ek Sapna’ is based on a real life incident, which happened in Bihar when a bridegroom was kidnapped for a marriage and wedding was held at gunpoint. ‘Ghar Ek Sapna’ take off point is the happening of such a marriage and through exploring such an unusual relationship, it sets out to explore every hue of the bond of love and marriage, both unique and universal.

Which according to you are your best TV serials till date?

‘Buniyaad’, ‘Kaala Jal’, ‘Tara’, ‘Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai’ and ‘Astitva’.

 

Which are your best films till date?

Undoubtedly my best films till date have been ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Hum Aapke Hai Kaun’, ‘Taal’, ‘Kubzaa’ and last but not the least ‘Vivah’.

In which medium are you more comfortable- TV or films?

In TV, I feel like a veteran and have a very good comfort level, whereas in a huge film, I may not feel very comfortable, though the new generation does give me respect. It is a ping-pong game. In the last four years by acting in TV serials like ‘Piya Ka Ghar’, ‘Woh Rehne Wali Mehlomein’ and ‘Astitva’, I may have earned more money than what I had earned by acting in films all these years.

What do you think of actors today?

I think actors are getting intelligent by the day, because they now save money and invest in their own production houses unlike actors of the yore. I lost a lot of money in the making of the pilot of my serial some years ago. The serial did not take off at all. One lesson I learnt after dabbling in production is that one should stick to one’s job.

How do you make a conscious attempt to avoid being stereotyped since you play similar characters?

Physically at times, I wear a wig to bring about a different look though I get offers to play the head of the family in practically every serial. I play a tough character in ‘Ghar Ek Sapna’ whereas in ‘Piya Ka Ghar’ it was a different character. In Dinesh Bansal’s next serial to be directed by Chander Behl, which will deal with three different women in a family who have different ideologies about their personal lives, I will be playing a loud head of the Punjabi family. The hue comes to your character and you tend to see some similarity even in the performance of the same actor in different roles.

 

What is your approach as an actor?

As an actor, it is my view that you cannot detach your soul from your body and put it into a different character. I try to keep a sense of detachment from my character as an actor.

Has your potential as an actor been tapped by the industry?

No one knows his or her real potential as an actor. If, at the end of the day you are satisfied that you have done your job with honesty and have been able to stir emotions in the viewers, I think your job is done. I for one really do not know what my potential is.

 What has been your growth as an actor over the years?

Since the time I had played a minor part in Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’, I think I have come a long way. I have to my credit 415 films and 60 to 70 TV serials in a span of twenty-five years. Today I have become more aware as an actor. My sensibilities have widened towards events happening in society within the TV and film fraternity. I am happy and satisfied with my career till date in theater, TV and films and am constantly having a ‘high’ acting.

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