Ravi Bhatia is one of the talented actors in our television industry. The actor initially played small roles in shows like Dharamveer and Veekram and Betaal. He was seen in shows like Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (supporting role) and Hamaari Beti Raaj Karegi (lead role), but it was Zee TV's Jodha Akbar, in which he played the role of Salim, which made him a household name. Later, he was seen in Indonesian TV shows and now, he is back! The actor who was last seen in Ishq Subhan Allah (as Sartaj Ahmed), has done a few OTT shows. In an exclusive interview with Filmibeat, the actor opened up about his journey in the television industry and spoke about his new and upcoming projects. Here are excerpts from the interview.
1. You are still known for your character Salim in Jodha Akbar, what do you have to say about it?
I have done around seven shows before Jodha Akbar, but this was the show which got me recognition as an actor on TV. Fortunately, I got this golden chance to play this role because of Shalu ma'am who was creative of the show, and she knew me from my previous show Veer Shivaji (Jivha Malha a major role). She called me for the audition of Akbar's role when the show started and then again for Salim's role. I was good in horse riding, sword fighting and stunts. Historical shows need hell lot of hard work. This show took me to places like I was in Indonesia for two years. I saw Salim dolls, recipe named Salim in a restaurant and millions of lovely fans, superstar treatment and Z-security. It was unusual and surprising. It was even bigger hit in Indonesia. So in a way this show changed my life forever. This was my last show on TV seven years ago and people still talk about it and that really means a lot.
2. After Jodha Akbar, you were not seen much on small screen. Is it because you got choosy about your projects? Will we get to watch you in TV shows?
After Jodha Akbar, I was blamed for my recklessness. I was giving my 200% but ratings were not coming accordingly. I shot for two months with an injured foot, one day Chetan Hansraj bhai saw my foot and got very angry that my foot is going to get gangrene because it was swollen and further he said that the doctor might have to cut the entire foot if delayed. I went to the doctor immediately and he cut the infected area and put eight stitches on it. It was hell painful, I resumed shoot right after the surgery and sat on a horse. I am not trying to be a hero, but yeah later, because of ratings, I was kind of removed from the show. I didn't have any work for next four months. Then Indonesia happened and I was working. And then again, back to Mumbai and gave 128 auditions and finally Ishq Subhan Allah was my first TV show after a long break. I tried and begged everyone for even small roles, but things were not in my favour. Thankfully, I started getting work on various OTT platforms and I am grateful for that.
3. Tell us about your new OTT show- Shukla The Tiger and your role in it.
The story is inspired from a UP-based gangster, who falls in wrong deeds because of an incident happened with his sister. This man was a real Tiger to take a stand for his sister. I'm playing the role of the same gangster. We shot for it before lockdown, but after that, the entire project was about to go into drain due to so many loopholes. So I took the responsibility and did the entire post work and pitched to almost every OTT, most of them declined, but thankfully MXPlayer agreed. As a producer and lead actor, I was more than happy, all my celeb friends also promoted it and it was trending on MXPlayer and still is. The audience is happy with this series and I am getting lots of love on daily basis from Shukla fans.
4. You recently shot with Zeenat Aman for the web series Margaon: The Closed File. How was it shooting with the veteran actress?
Trust me she is still the best. The energy, the innocence and great hold on craft. She completed her 50 years in cinema during our shoot. I was lucky to shoot with her on that particular day and witness the completion of those 50 years.
5. Tell us about your role in this murder mystery show.
I can't reveal much as my super talented and humble director Kapil Sharma has his own plans. I am playing a major role in the family, the youngest son of Zeenat Amaan, one and the most dangerous yet funny and witty, raw and black sheep of the family. I have had THE BEST TIME shooting for this in Gujarat.
6. What are your upcoming projects?
I have done a couple of web series which are yet to come. Like Hastinapur, The Bitch, Char ka punchnama (shot in 2018-19, now coming on OTT), Margaon- The Closed File and a film named Dashashwmedh Ghat. And I have a few projects lined up as a producer too.
On Reality & Mythological Shows
7. Will we get to watch you in reality shows? Will you do Bigg Boss?Not for sure.
8. What about mythological shows?Mythological shows are best to start with. I remember shooting for war sequences in 38 degrees. After the shoot you feel you have actually been in a war because bruises and cuts are very normal. It teaches us the real meaning of hard work. Hats off to Rajat Tokas, who has been a brave guy to pull off so many shows.