'The work I did after my first film Jaan Tere Naam was crap. I delivered seven flops in a row before the industry wrote me off. That was probably the worst time of my life.'
Ronit Roy takes stock of his acting career.
Ronit Roy isn't frequently hailed as the Amitabh Bachchan of the small screen for nothing.
(Photograph, left: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
While he's earned his acting cred with a bunch of impressive performances on the big screen, he dresses in sharp suits for press interviews, wears his hair slicked back, and is extremely courteous while interacting to media persons in (somewhat) chaste Hindi.
He's been a fixture on both the small and the big screen simultaneously -- while his courtroom drama Adaalat has been on air since 2012, he made his presence felt in recent movies like 2 States, Boss, and Shootout At Wadala.
The actor's new show Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyar, currently airing on Sony, marks his return to the quintessential Indian TV soap and his reunion with TV czarina Ekta Kapoor (who gave Roy's acting career a jumpstart with Kasauti Zindagi Kay in 2002).
In this session with the media, Ronit Roy fielded all sorts of (awkward, insightful, inappropriate, downright hilarious) questions with practiced ease. Nishi Tiwari/Rediff.com listens in.
What did you like about Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyar?
It’s not so much about the role as it is about working with Ekta Kapoor.
When I was asked why I wasn't working with her, I had said that if she has a role that she thinks I’ll be good for, she’ll call me.
And when she does, there won't be a question of rejecting her offer. When you have worked with a person for as long as I worked with Ekta, you become familiar with their thought process and work ethic.
I have 200 per cent confidence in Ekta’s vision.
In your last cinematic outing 2 States, you played a similar character of a man who is somewhat aloof from his wife. Are you now being stereotyped as men stuck in loveless marriages?
(Laughs) My character in 2 States was entirely different from this one.
If you’ve been following the show, you must have found the various ways in which these two characters are different.
But your persona in both, the film and the show, are strikingly similar. Even your Kasauti character was in a troubled relationship.
Oh, that’s my awesome presence (chuckles)!
Seriously though, in a relationship, you could be bored, or stern, disinterested -- they all mean and culminate in the same thing. So that may be a reason why you feel I’m repeating myself.
Also, a man’s temperament and character are defined by the people he surrounds himself with and the relationships he chooses to keep and nurture. That holds true for my character in Itna karo Na...
As a person in real life, you define power and a strong personality. That’s what your fans like to watch too. Is that the kind of roles you enjoy doing?
I mean, nobody likes to play a wimp. Somehow, I’ve never been offered a role which has not been powerful or author-backed. Be it 2 States, Udaan or my upcoming film Ugly.
That said, my character’s journey in Itna Karo Na... is more about how he resurrects his failures.
Do you feel you have failed or regretted something when you look back at your long career?
I have lost so much in my life it’s impossible to get it all back in this lifetime.
I don’t really care for money or the materialistic things that I have lost. And I have lost a LOT.
I have lost more than an average person makes in a lifetime. But the biggest loss, according to me, came out of my first marriage -- my ex-wife is married to someone else now and I’m married to Neelam.
In the wake of that troubled relationship, I missed out on my first kid’s (a daughter from his first marriage) entire childhood. So with my younger daughter, I have been around every single day, from the day she was delivered to now.
In hindsight, I am conscious of the fact that my first child’s growing up years won’t come back but we are on good terms now. We are Whatsapp buddies.
Since she’s grown up and we got talking, we have sorted things out. If we can take our relationship forward with little to no complications, that will be a bit of a redemption for the both of us.
How’d you describe yourself as a father in real life?
I’m a very chilled out father.
I’m friends with my kids in the real sense of the word. They aren’t scared of me. If I tell them to not do something, they comply out of respect and not out of fear.
I don’t believe in denying my kids anything as I don’t want to think of them as kids living in the same times as I grew up. Times have changed. So I won’t deny them an Ipad if they are being taught on them in school.
But we sit down as a family and decide the hours they’re allowed to spend with gadgets and the number of apps they can download at a time.
Also, I keep all the passwords safe with me (laughs).
When would we see you in a lead role on the big screen?
I don’t really care about lead roles and comebacks and that sort of thing.
I have been around with Adaalat on TV.
I don’t hold any aspirations of being a lead star or a superstar; I’m not interested in that. I just want to wake up in the morning, go to work and do a good job.
I’d like for people to think of me as an actor and that’s what I have persevered to do.
As far as the big screen goes, I don’t think anyone is willing to risk so much money on me (laughs) and I’m thankful for that.
How do you feel when you look back at your debut film Jaan Tere Naam?
I don’t like to look back at it. To be honest, the work I did after that was crap, even if I say it myself. Maybe I was not so wise back then, I didn’t know too much about the industry or how to conduct myself.
I delivered seven flops in a row before the industry wrote me off.
That was probably the worst time of my life -- my films flopped, my first marriage fell apart -- and I learnt my lessons and moved on. There is nothing left there to revisit.