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In an interview, the 71-year-old veteran speaks about the show, about his TV journey and about working on the growing medium.
Q. "Yudh" is the title chosen for your first fiction show on television. Please shed some light on the title.
A. "Yudh" is the name of the character I play...Yudhishtir! But there is a 'yudh' (war) in his life too, which he battles with on many fronts.
Q. What made you choose this as your first foray into fiction on television?
A. I had wished to do a serial some day. Endemol came up with this project and idea. I liked it and then we set about building a team and getting down to constructing it.
Q. What do you think of the standard of other fiction shows on television?
A. I am no judge. The audience is. The ones that garner good ratings are obviously the ones that must come in the category of good. I suppose they set the standards.
Q. What prompted you to take the plunge into fiction on television specially at a time when your hands are full with so much to do?
A. Nothing. Just the desire to work on an aspect I had not attempted.
Q. What is your role in "Yudh"? Do we get to see you do something different on television as compared with what you've done (so spectacularly) in the movies?
A. I cannot say. You will have to judge when it airs. The basics are the same. No matter what medium, we actors are acting. And that is how you shall see this serial as well. But Anurag Kashyap and the team wished that they present it differently from what has been coming in the category of soaps and serials. That is the endeavour.
Q. Do you watch any television? Do you think the content on Indian television has shown a healthy growth over the years?
A. Yes, I do watch TV and yes, the growth of television in India is by far the largest and the greatest in the world. With about 800 channels currently operative, it's perhaps larger than the entire volume of global channels put together. TV in India has overtaken the returns of cinema three fold, and this, within a spate of the last 10 to 15 years. Compared to a 100-year film industry, this must be looked upon as a healthy growth.
Q. You proved a game-changer on television with "Kaun Banega Crorepati". What expectations can your audiences have from "Yudh"?
A. I am no game-changer, nor do I ever aspire to be one. I just want to do my stipulated work. The audiences will decide the fate of "Yudh". And that is how it should be.
Q. How would you be able to balance the impossible schedules on television with your various commitments?
A. I have been managing it so far. I hope to be able to manage it further too.
Q. Finally, would you say "Yudh" is a new phase in your endlessly re-invented career?
A. Phases in a person's life need deeper thought and consideration and comment. TV is just another aspect of a profession I already practice. This fresh attempt is another project. Let us not give it so much importance.