‘It takes a lot of courage to be in that house. It’s entertaining for some and horrifying for others.’
Like the theme of his latest show, Roohaniyat Chapter 2, Arjun Bijlani believes that love is forever.
He is, after all, happily married to his wife, Neha.
Arjun reflects on his love life and tells Rediff.com Contributor Sameena Razzaq, “You should never forget the real reasons why you are together.
“Neha was with me when I was nothing. There were so many times when I was unwell and she was for me. She was there when I had broken down.
“I think of these things and tell myself they are far bigger than any attraction I may have had or any fight we might have had.”
Roohaniyat is your second series on OTT and has enjoyed success. Does it give you a sense of security as an actor?
Yes, of course, it does.
I want to play my character well and I want the show to do well. It benefits everybody.
I like to think about it as one step at a time.
I hope offers keep coming in.
Roohaniyat believes that love is forever. Do you agree?
The risk of falling out of love is always a possibility, especially when times are tough.
I have been with Neha for almost two decades now, so I know that love goes through ups and downs.
Honestly, more than love, it’s the relationship that goes through ups and downs. The phases of life change but the love and care are always there.
Today, I’m not the same person I was 10-15 years ago. I have matured. I am wiser. I think differently.
But my care for the person I have fallen in love with remains.
A lot of time people crib that the other person has changed. But people do change, so one must accept it and understand what has changed about the person.
Have there ever been temptations?
Obviously. If I feel somebody is hot or nice or good-looking, I always appreciate it.
Most of my co-actresses are my friends. I get along with most of them.
Have you ever been asked out for a date?
No. Everybody knows I am married.
Even after two decades, you look so much in love with your wife Neha.
Well, it’s just there. I don’t do anything to make it happen.
We have a child together and, when that happens, the dynamics are different.
Neha asks me why I am so obsessed with her.
You need to give each other space, that’s very important. You should never forget the real reasons why you are together.
Neha was with me when I was nothing. There were so many times when I was unwell and she was for me. She was there when I had broken down.
I think of these things and tell myself they are far bigger than any attraction I may have had or any fight we might have had.
Why do you think television actors are gravitating towards OTT?
The fact that we think OTT is a step above is wrong.
Television and OTT are two different mediums, each having its own pros and cons.
Television is extremely big. What it offers you in terms of money and fame is humungous. Every household knows you.
Web series have a niche audience.
I think what actors really like about OTT is you have a script in hand so you know what you are doing. It does not change every week according to the TRPs.
After you are done with a Web series, you move on to a different project and character.
In television, you end up playing the same character for years; you are restricted.
As an actor, you don’t want to do only one thing. I want to play different characters. That’s what makes people jump to Web shows.
Also, the audience is very smart today. They understand that actors are doing their jobs.
In one show, a guy might play a dark character while, in another, he might play a positive character. People have started accepting that.
Earlier, one would get typecast. Now, this has changed.
Can television ever have content like OTT?
Why would they have content like OTT? They are not allowed to have content like that.
Only if the rules of television change, they can become like OTT. And there are so many rules… That’s why we do the usual saas-bahu and husband thing; we create problems between them.
Since the last 20 years, television has been having similar content and is doing well.
There are reports that you been approached for Bigg Boss 16. Is it true?
I don’t know. They had called me some time ago, but I said it’s too early.
It’s a great show for people who love to watch it and participate in it. It’s entertaining for some and horrifying for others.
I neither hate it nor love it.
It takes a lot of courage to be in that house.
I have a son. He is too young for me to be away for five months. Besides, to be locked up in a house with 12 people who always pounce on you is a crazy idea.
I might do it but, as of now, I am very scared to be in that house.
People find their life partners in that show. They fall in love and stay together even when they are out of the house.
Since I am married, what is the purpose?
You are an established TV actor. With that kind of popularity, one expected you to make an impact in your Bollywood debut, Direct Ishq, but things did not go well.
Where Direct Ishq is concerned, what I was narrated and what actually happened in the film were two different things.
That was my mistake; I feel now I shouldn’t have done the film.
Also, it was not the right time for me to do it. I made a wrong choice. But that’s okay.
I got a couple of offers after that but didn’t take them up. I learnt from my mistake.
It’s not about doing a film; it’s about doing the right film and with the right people. That’s what matters.
You have compared the star system in the industry to the caste system. Do you agree that OTT does not follow this system and things have changed for the better?
I made that statement because whenever I met TV actors, they would say that they had been told we don’t want anybody from TV, we want only film heroes.
I figured that it’s become like a caste system.
What can an actor do if he is from TV? If he is auditioning, fits the bill and has a market value, why wouldn’t you cast him?
You have made a lot of Web series with film heroes and they haven’t worked, so that formula is flawed. Things work because of scripts and how you perform in those scripts.
Of course, there are people who are popular but TV actors are not less popular. They have a huge fan following too. So what stops them from casting TV actors?
I have been very fortunate that I have not faced this. I feel everybody should get their due.
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