'I am proud of all my work', exclaims Vatsal Seth with a gleam in his eyes and you know that he isn't making that up. He admits that it was quite challenging for him to shed his chocolate boy image and take up roles on the small screen which wasn't just limited to romance.
Over to the favourite blue-eyed bad boy for a freewheel chat...
'I Was Like 'What, Really?' For A Second When I Was Approached To Play A Ghost'
Q. How did Gehraiyaan come your way?
A. I got a call from Vikram Bhatt regarding Gehraiyaan. It was a very interesting horror show. I had never attempted this genre before. I was pretty excited. The show is being telecasted on Viu which is a new platform.
Gehraiyaan is India's first digital horror web series and then Sanjeeda Sheikh was also a part of it. So, all these factors made me say yes to this show.
Then after 3- 4 days, I got a call again from Vikram's office saying that instead of the role which they had earlier offered me, they now wanted me to play the ghost instead. For a second, I was like 'what, really?'. But then they were quite sure about it. So, I said okay and took up the challenge.
Q. How was it teaming up once again with Sanjeeda Sheikh after Ek Hasina Thi?
A. Sanjeeda is a dear friend. Previously we had a great time while working on Ek Haseena Thi and the show was a huge success because somewhere down the line our chemistry worked.
Similarly in Gehraiyaan, our scenes together have turned up just amazing. So, it was a great fun to work with her again. More than anything, I was very excited that it was Sanjeeda who was my co-star on this show too.
'My Looks Are Very Deceptive'
Q. What was it about your role that attracted you the most?
A. As an actor you want to do a lot of different things in life. I started off my career with a chocolate boy role in Just Mohabbat, then 'Tarzan: The Wonder Car' happened followed by a lot of films. I played an anti-hero in Ek Hasina Thi. It was very interesting for me as an actor to have managed to be a part of these things and now here I am playing a ghost in Gehraiyaan.
In fact, a lot of my colleagues from the industry including seniors like Ajay Devgn Sir, Suniel Shetty, Sohail Bhai and others tweeted about my show and I felt very happy about it. They told me that my looks are very deceptive.
Q. 'Ek Hasina Thi', 'Baazigar' and now 'Gehraiyaan', are you attracted more towards dark roles?
A. It's the other way around. I think dark characters are attracted towards me (laughs). After doing these shows, I have been getting a lot of offers for shows on similar lines. Maybe I must have done justice to these characters.
Q. But isn't there a fear of getting stereotyped by taking up such characters back to back?
A. Not really. I think there is nothing like getting stereotyped. It's just that if your work is getting appreciated and people like it then why not? Thankfully. whatever I have done until now has been appreciated by my fans.
'When I Was Offered Ek Hasina Thi, A Lot Of People From The Industry Advised Me To Not Take Up That Role'
Q. There was a time when actors used to develop cold feet when it came to playing an anti-hero on small screen which isn't the case anymore. What do you think led the change?
A. Thanks to Ek Hasina Thi. (smiles) That show broke a lot of barriers. Now, there are many shows with anti-heroes. A lot of people who never watched TV started watching because of Ek Hasina Thi.
When I got that role, there was no benchmark or reference point. So, for them to even explain me and for me to understand was very difficult. But, I am a very open-minded, optimistic guy. I love to take up challenges as an actor.
When I was offered that show, a lot of people from the industry advised me to not take up that role. They were like 'It's not good..you shouldn't be playing an anti hero'. In fact Ek Hasina Thi even had a protagonist.
It wasn't like I was the only one. Just because people appreciated my work a lot, that's why they weren't talking about that protagonist- the main hero.
I took up the role of Shaurya because it was interesting and I put my blood and sweat into it.
So from thereon, I remember a year after Ek Hasina Thi, a friend from the industry told me 'Dude, I went for a meeting and they told me that my role was something like Vatsal's in Ek Hasina Thi'. So it was used as a reference point.
'You Will Always Stand Out If You Are Doing Quality Work'
Q. In one of your old interviews which dates back to 2004, the time when your debut film had just released, you had said, "It's very important to pitch yourself in Indian cinema.
Had I continued doing television, I would have been coming into bedrooms and drawing rooms virtually 24 X 7. Then would people shell out Rs. 100 ticket to see me on the big screen? Who doesn't want to take a quantum leap in life?" Do you still stand by these words?
A. When I did Just Mohabbat, television scenario was very different. It was in 1999-2000 where there were very few TV channels. When I did that show, it became very huge because they was no social media. Then I did films and I was like 'wow, this is a very different world'.
But then when I did Ek Hasina Thi after doing films, I felt like 'wow, even TV is now a different world'. The reach of television has increased by leaps and bounds comparing Just Mohabbat to what I am doing right now.
To be very honest, the number of people on the sets of a TV show today is even more than that of a film. So, its become so huge and the reach is wide. Recently I went to America and found that the people there were talking about my show.
I stick by that statement because it was made in the times around 2004. But right now things have changed. The next shift is going to be web-series. I think Viu has done a great job by venturing into an original market.
Q. But then do you think the influx in the number of web-series could affect the content?
A. See, influx happens everywhere including films. But if you are doing quality work then you will always stand out. There is an influx in the TV shows too.
If they are good enough then they work or else not. There are so many web-series coming up. I got a call for so many of them. But then only the good ones would work.
Q. You have always maintained that you are very proud of all your films irrespective of their box office fate. So did you never think of giving the big screen yet another shot afTer your cameo in Jai Ho?
A. After my last film, I wasn't being offered interesting work and then suddenly Ek Hasina Thi happened. I did it because it was something different which was quite challenging.
When I entered the world of TV I was like 'wow, this wasn't what I was thinking.' This is much bigger than that.
So, the same thing happened with web-series too. I wasn't sure about how it would turn out to be. A thought did cross my mind but the quality of this web-series is superb and everyone is talking about it.
As an actor, I am open to everything. If there is an interesting character in a film, I would love to do it. The same applies to TV too.
'I Would Love To See Just Mohabbat Back As A Web-series'
'I Would Love To See Just Mohabbat Back As A Webseries'
Q. You have dabbled with films, TV and now web series. Which medium did you find the most chalenging?
A. As an actor, I act the same way. But the advantage in TV is that your work is out there almost everyday. Because of the social media and the forums, you stay connected with your fans.
If they like or dislike something in an episode, they write about it. So, you have a chance to correct yourself and to do something. That's why I feel that TV is a very interesting medium. If you get it right and if you are listening, you can do really well.
Q. Sarabai vs Sarabai recently made a comeback as webseries. Which other TV show would you like to see on the web?
A. I would love to see Just Mohabbat back as a webseries.
'Apart From Opportunities, Star Kids Have More Responsibilties As Well'
Q. Recently Kangana Ranaut created a huge hullaboo in the industry when she pointed out the nepotism word. As someone who is not a star kid, what's your take on it?
A. To be very honest, right now as we were talking about influx of content, there is so much of work out there. If you really have the talent, you will make it.
But yes, somewhere down the line I feel that people belonging to film family do get an easy opportunity because they have an access as they are born and brought up in a certain way.
So yes, they have more opportunities. But apart from opportunities, they have more responsibilities as well.
Whatever Kangana said, I do agree about some things that but that's not the end of it. I haven't seen her whole interview. But yes, it happens at places. At the end of the day, you will survive only if you have the talent.
Q. On the parting note, what's the best piece of advice which someone from the industry has ever offered you?
A. Shahrukh Khan once gave me the best piece of advice when I was doing a Pepsi commercial with him way back in 2004-2005.
We were travelling back from Rajkot to the airport. We were in the car together. I was a new kid and totally starstruck.
There was a dialogue which I wasn't doing properly because I was so much in awe. He took me outside. As I was apologizing to him for not getting it right he told me not to get worried.
He said, 'Acting is something which you will keep on learning everyday. When I started working if you gave me a dialogue, I would have given you back the original said dialogue in probably 1 minute.
But today I can say the same dialogue in say around 20 different ways. If you meet me after 5 years, I would probably say that dialogue in 30 different ways. So as an actor, you keep on learning and learning."
Meanwhile folks, what's your take on Vatsal's new show on Viu? Do share your thoughts in the comment box below.