'I went to the Siddhi Vinayak temple in Mumbai, and a lady starting cursing me.'
'A man in Shirdi temple asked why I had come there when my conduct in Balika Vadhu was wrong! It's not easy.'
'People have liked, hated, liked and again hated me.'
Balika Vadhu's Jagya -- Shashank Vyas -- moves on from the show.
We started hating Shashank Vyas, when he dumped television's most-loved girl Anandi on the popular show, Balika Vadhu.
The young actor has quit the show, and is reportedly serving his 'notice period' now.
He tells Rediff.com contributor Rajul Hegde about his journey into the television world and the difficulties he faced and most importantly, why girls don't like him.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I come from Ujjain. I used to dance and take part in plays in school and college.
An MBA degree did not work out, so I decided to give acting a try.
I landed in Mumbai in 2009. I was to stay with a friend but when I reached Mumbai, his phone was switched off.
With nowhere to go, I spent five days in a gurudwara at Dadar before making friends at an audition.
How did you manage to get a big show like Balika Vadhu?
I struggled for one-and-a-half years and gave 280 auditions before getting the role of Jagya in Balika Vadhu. It was a miracle that I got it.
I wasn't too happy about getting a role in a big show because I had never faced a camera before. I was nervous and scared. I was working with talented senior actors on a show that had great TRPs.
The writer once told the director that he found me too nervous. That made me even more nervous! But the director told me being nervous is a good sign, and supported me.
I just concentrated on my work and gave it my best.
Was it monotonous to play the same role for five years?
I have changed physically over five years. I entered the show when I was 24 and now I am 29 (laughs).
I would have got bored if I had only played a positive character. But I stuck with the show for five years because the writers helped me to play different shades within the character.
I have done a high voltage drama and have worked with nine girls in a single show.
As far as the craft is concerned, I have grown as an actor.
Balika Vadhu is not a work place, it's like a workshop for me.
The real challenge for me will start after this show.
Anandi was much loved; how did audiences react when your character Jagya ditched her?
Yes, Anandi is a loved character. At that time, I went to the Siddhi Vinayak temple in Mumbai, and a lady starting cursing me.
A man in Shirdi temple asked why I had come there when my conduct was wrong! It's not easy.
People have liked, hated, liked and again hated me.
They get attached to the shows and we become part of their lives, so they react in a certain way.
Do you have a lot of girl fans?
Generally, aunties and grandmothers tend to notice me.
I feel girls don't like me.
It could be because I have not played a macho cult hero type character in the show. I play the boy-next- door, who kind of reacts to situations and ditches girls. And I don't think that's the reason to accept a guy as a hero (smiles).
Do you feel bad that you don't have a young fan following like your contemporaries?
Not at all. If I want to grow in my area, I have to think about myself.
If I start looking at what others are getting, how will I concentrate on my work?
I am in the industry to entertain people, irrespective of their gender and age.
What made you do a cameo in Tees Maar Khan? You could have made a big Bollywood debut like some other television actors.
I did Tees Maar Khan eight months before I got Balika.
I was new to the industry. It was the charm of seeing the big actors, going to big locations, that made me do the film. I enjoyed doing the film, though I had only a few lines. I got decent money and made friends I am still in touch with.
I don't have a godfather or connections in the industry. I will not sit at home and wait for films to come to me.
My agenda is to give quality work irrespective of the medium.
How do you rate yourself as an actor after five years?
I am a decent actor. My serious, angry and emotional scenes are quite famous now.
I have got a hold on this only because of Balika Vadhu. If you meet me personally, you will find me very funny.
I am not a serious guy but a sincere guy.
I am simple but extremely hardworking; I work hard to chase my dreams.
What next after Balika Vadhu? What kind of roles would you like to do?
First, work chooses you and then you chose the work. That is how the industry works.
What I see when I sign a new show is a nice powerful role, which has to have emotional connect with the audience, like Jagya in Balika.
I can't do a show where women are doing everything and men are standing like props.
I know that I am a decent actor, so why not showcase my talent?
In Balika, Anandi is an integral character but Jagya had his own space too. That is what I am looking for. I will take my time and decide after Balika.
I have to be choosy as far as creativity is concerned.
Why haven't you done a reality show, especially a dance show, which you are good at?
Nobody has offered me a dance show. If I am offered, let's see.
I will never ever do a show like Bigg Boss because I am an artiste.
I want to first concentrate on my art.