How does one take a successful OTT show ahead ? Well the answer is simple – you make a follow up to it. MX Players Aashram was a huge success for its lead actor Bobby Deol. The makers have now brought out the follow up to it titled Aashram 2 – The dark side. In a candid chat with ETimes, Bobby spoke about the challenges of living up to the expectation of the show and also how he’s enjoying the OTT space as much as he loves watching himself on the big screen. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
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Did you have any apprehension when this role of a Babaji was offered to you, do you remember that day when you said yes to being a part of Aashram ?
I was taken by surprise. I never expected when I was told by Shruti Mahajan that Prakashji wanted me to meet for a web series Ashram being produced by MX player. So I was first of all very excited as I had been dying to work with Prakashji and finally I got a chance to meet him and maybe work with him. He narrated the idea to me and then he told me that I want you to play the Baba’s character, for a few seconds I was taken aback. But I was so happy that he actually is giving me a character who is so dark and me as an actor consciously I am trying to do different kinds of shades and characters and this was given to me in my hands. I was really excited. I thought Prakashji, a director of this calibre, has imagined me in this role and I am sure I can pull it off. I worked really hard. I spent a month and a half with Sunitaji who helped me with my diction and went through my lines and it was amazing. That whole journey from beginning till the time we started shooting for the web series was just amazing. I got to know Prakashji as a person, I got to know a lot of my co-actors, Chandan who plays Bhopa, Sachin who plays Minister, Tushar who plays Sabdi, then there is a Darshan Sachin Kochar and you know Tanmay, Tridha, Aditi, everybody we became such a happy family. And I think that’s what I love, that the appreciation is not just for my character but for the entire team of Ashram.
Bobby, how did you manage not to fall into the pitfalls of stereotyping this character. Did you base him off anyone who you have met or seen in real life ?
Prakashji very clearly told not to follow anybody for my reference. Just play this character. He is a character who has an aura people look at him and get mesmerised by him. So, I kept that in my mind and I didn’t want to make him a caricature. I just wanted to play this character who is so calm and composed and he knows he is so self-assured because he knows that people will just listen to him when he speaks. So, I saw to it that I do not put too much effort when I talk to my people when I am playing the character. He is an influencer. And an influencer doesn’t need to become over the top trying to influence people. He has to be calm and composed and that is how I played the character.
How do you cope with the pressure of the second series given the success of the first, I believe there will also be a season 2 for the show..
I just hope it is written well. And I have full confidence in the team because we have a great team of actors, technicians and I think it is the script that matters the most and work is going on for the second season, so I haven’t heard anything as yet. Right now, I am just looking forward to chapter 2 the Dark Side. I am excited and looking forward to that. I have also not seen it. I will see it with the audiences when it releases.
Tell me how have your sons Aaryaman and Dharam reacted to the show have they given?
I think they all love my work. They all enjoyed the web series and they also felt a lot of actors in it were very good . It’s just that my younger son told me that Papa I don’t like that papa from Aashram I like you (laughs)
Who is your harshest critic back home?
My wife is a very honest critic.
Yeah, she tells me honestly when she feels what she feels. She is not harsh, she is just blunt and honest. I think that’s something that keeps me grounded because I don’t get carried away because I always listen to what she says. Even my sons, my older son whenever he talks about something, I try to figure out what this young generation looks at work you know. So, I keep all those things in mind.
Does your older son Aaryaman talk to you about pop culture and what’s popular in the OTT space given that he’s a teenager.
Yes, he does now. I sometimes turn around and say I have just seen this show and he says I have already seen this. He tells me what he felt and I tell him what I feel about it. I think thanks to OTT platform the younger generation is watching subjects which otherwise they wouldn’t get to cinemas to watch you know. I think it is opening up and their choices and they are looking at things more openly and appreciating different kinds of genres.
Are you aware of your fan base on social media and the love they show on your older films like Soldier, Gupt, etc..
I do know that. I am truly grateful to all my fans who have stood by me for these 25 years and the new fans that I have made. I mean it is just an amazing feeling the way people have appreciated my work and MX Player has just gone so many steps ahead. MX Player has spent so much on publicising it, even when I was watching IPL how many times I saw my promo coming on television and it felt so nice seeing my promos on television. I have not even seen so many of my movies promos. The whole team of MX Player, hats off to them for their hard work to create the awareness plus the show, they believed in it and they chose the right cast and specially it starts with Prakashji took him on to make it and I think that was the best thing that happened to the shows, Prakashji directing it. I think he has done an awesome job.
Has this experience opened your mind to the prospects of taking on more work in the OTT space?
Yes, definitely! I think OTT space is an amazing space to be. I think opportunities as an actor you get the characters you get to play, it is amazing, it is so much variety of characters you can get to play you know and it is all thanks to OTT platform and that is why you got to see Ashram and that is why you go to see Class of 83. I think these kinds of roles have opened people’s minds to take me from movies and cinemas to play different shades. I think it has really worked in my favour.
Your dad is quite active on social media and I often see him posting messages for you and Sunny, what has been his reaction to the success of Aashram ?
He is so happy. I can see it in his eyes. As a father you can see their happiness in their eyes. They don’t have to say a word to you. I can see that every time he looks at me and says bahot acha kaam raha hai bas mehnat karta ja aur kaam karta ja. Itni tareef sun ne mil rahi hai mujhe, itna khush hu main beta. I think it is amazing the way he is feeling right now. And he knows, he says, failure honge lekin tu give up mat karna jaise tune abhi give up nahi kiya life mein kabhi give up nahi karna. I say haanji papa I will never give up.
Your pic with Aaryaman a few months back got a lot of attention to his good looks, will he follow your steps and get into acting ?
I discuss everything with my kids. As a father who is an actor, I would love them to be actors, both my boys. One thing wrong I did when I was growing up was I did not pay attention to my education. Education is an important aspect of your life. It increases your knowledge, it makes you aware of what’s happening in many ways. So, I think I have told my kids both my boys, that they have to study first and they both are studying very hard and they know and they have seen their father go through ups and downs in his career, so they are very well aware of how difficult it is to be an actor in this industry. So, I just want them to finish their education, jitni samajh badhaeneg utna hi acha hoga unke liye. After that if they want to be actors I will stand by that, any profession they choose to in the world.
You mentioned you still haven’t seen the first Aashram, back in the day did you ever go to a theatre to watch your own films ?
I was always nervous to go to the theatre and when Soldier released and Preity forced me to come to the theatre. I was so nervous. When I walked in I could hear the reaction and it was amazing. And I think I really never had the courage to go and see it. I have gone to promote the film while the film is running, but I have never really been to theatres. Obviously, you know it is nerve wrecking. You can have a nervous breakdown if you have to face all that because you want everything to go to the right way and it is scary.
So what happens in your house when a film of yours comes on TV that you might cringe watching, do you change the channel ?
In fact when they are watching it I sometimes sit and watch it and you get nostalgic about it and start watching it and missing those days. I know my sons quietly watch my movies. My younger son can’t see a movie if I get hurt, he doesn’t like to see that because he is a little too sensitive. Other than that, my older son watches my movies. I used to watch my dad’s movies so it is how we all are, we all love our fathers and we enjoy everything they do. So, I think the same goes with my sons. But they are honest about what they feel. They say exactly what they feel.
What can fans expect from the second chapter ?
As it says, the dark side, you will see the dark side of the Baba you will see how vicious and how cruel and how manipulative and how power hungry he is and you will see all that happening in the second part. So, it is going to be exciting. And I am sure the audiences are going to enjoy it. It is going to be fun. That is all I can say.
Source From : Times Of India