'A girl on Instagram got very angry with me and wrote, 'Yeh toh shakal se he harami lagta hai, yeh real life mein bhi harami hi hoga.'
Chandan Roy Sanyal is thrilled with the way his latest role has been lapped up by audiences.
His Bhopa Swami, Bobby Deol's ruthless sidekick in the Web series Aashram, is getting him appreciation as well as anger.
"Women are frightened of my character, so I guess it's coming from there," he tells Rediff.com Contributor Rajul Hegde.
Your performance in Aashram has been appreciated.
It's amazing for any actor to get recognition and appreciation for their work.
I have not tasted success for a very long time, so it feels good.
Some people in my building have watched the series, when I take the stairs, they call me by my character's name 'Bhopa Swami'.
A girl on Instagram got very angry with me and wrote, 'Yeh toh shakal se he harami lagta hai, yeh real life mein bhi harami hi hoga.'
I was like okay, thank you very much (chuckles).
Women are frightened of my character, so I guess it's coming from there.
Most of your scenes are with Bobby Deol. Did you see a friend in him?
Yes, yes. I think whatever chemistry and magic you see on screen is because of the rapport we share and it grew with time.
Now he is like a big brother to me.
During the lockdown, he had been calling and checking up on me.
I think it's going to get better and stronger in season two.
What was it like working with Prakash Jha?
He is an accomplished film-maker.
He is constantly working, you will never see him sit in one place and chill.
He told me to keep things real and not overdo it.
He is happy with my work.
You have worked with Shah Rukh Khan in Harry Met Sejal, Saif Ali Khan in Chef and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Jazbaa. What did you learn from them?
The more successful you become, people tend to make an effort to stay grounded and that's what I saw in all of them.
I didn't get to know Aishwarya much, but I spent a lot of time with Saif on the sets of Chef. Once, he invited me for dinner at his place.
He has a whacked out kind of sense of humour.
I have spent time on set with Shah Rukh Khan. The way he takes care of everyone is amazing.
His fondness for me grew when we spoke about Delhi.
It's been more than 14 years since your first film, Rang De Basanti. How has your journey been?
During Rang De, I had just come to Mumbai and was doing theatre. The film happened by chance.
I had a small role, but I was on set for almost two months.
I made the most of it by watching these stalwart actors perform.
When I got Kaminey, I was in England. After that film, I never went back to theatre.
I never planned on a film career. Back then, there was no social media and I didn't know what it was like to be a film actor.
Some directors called and said I have acted well. I read good things about me in the newspapers.
I did whatever roles came by my way with sincerity.
Some films worked and some didn't. But my career has been steady.
A lot of people ask me why I am not seen much in films. The intention is to keep it fresh, be new with each performance.
Now if I get an offer to play something on the lines of Bhopa Swami, I will not do it because I want it to be one of its kind.
For me, acting is like a lifelong recreation. I don't consider it as my work.
Are you satisfied with the kind of roles you have been getting?
Am I satisfied? No.
But I am not unhappy either.
Earlier, only films were being made and the only option was to do small roles with big directors and stars.
I did a film called Prague as a lead, in which I really worked hard. I would say it's one of my best performances till date, but nobody saw the film. I was really upset.
Bhopa Swami in Aashram is the biggest role of my career. It's a nine-hour long Web series and I am seen in all nine hours.
When you are given a big role, you tend to work harder.
It's challenging and I enjoyed it. Hopefully, I will get more such offers.
Who do you consider as your mentor?
Vishal Bhardwaj left a deep impact on me as an artist.
I learnt acting from Alyque Padamsee; I did a lot of theatre with him.
Tim Supple has been my mentor in England for three years.
Any film-maker you want to work with?
I really want to work with Mani Ratnam.
He is a fantastic film-maker and all his films are my favourites -- from Anjali to Nayakan to Dil Se.. to Bombay.
I hope he reads my interview (smiles).
I would love to play Arvind Swami's role in Bombay. I think I am quite a romantic person but nobody has given me the chance play such a role.
Sagar and Dilip Kumar's Devdas are my favourite romantic films.
There is an ongoing debate on the insiders and outsiders in the industry. What's your point of view?
People are wasting time discussing this because I don't think Kareena Kapoor has reached where she is without the support of her fans.
If you are not talented, you will not survive for long because it's a business.
Film-making is one of the most expensive art forms. Nobody is going to put money on you over and again because you are some star's kid or a relative.
By chance, if the first film works for the star kid, then the stakes are higher because you have to prove your talent further.
It's the survival of the fittest.
People should have constructive debates.
Actors become stars only when people support them.
What's next for you?
I have done Rules Of The Game with Aahana Kumra, directed by Aniruddha Chowdhury. It's about a couple in the mid 30s wanting to add spice to their relationship. It will stream on September 24.
I have the third season of Kali and the second season of Aashram.