In a career spanning more than 25 years, Rohit Roy has played a variety of roles in films and television. He dabbled into the OTT space recently and the Krishna Bhatt directed ‘Sanak – Ek Junoon’ is his third digital show. In this interview, the actor talks about playing a complex character in this new MX Player series, what excites him about the digital medium, most memorable role, plans to direct a film and more.
The trailer of the show was very hard-hitting. How close, would you say, the show is to reality?
It is absolutely seeped in reality. There is nothing fictional or unreal about the show. I am glad that the trailer created so much buzz and curiosity among the industry. I have also got amazing feedback from the industry. Usually, the industry is very critical of your work. So, it feels very special when they appreciate you and congratulate you on your work.
‘Sanak – Ek Junoon’ has been presented by Mahesh Bhatt. Years back, he directed you in ‘Swabhimaan’, a TV show which proved to be a major turning point in your career.
Yes! I must say it’s my honour to be a part of something which Mahesh Bhatt is associated with. He has been my biggest support throughout my career. I was initially rejected in the auditions of ‘Swabhimaan’ but he made sure that I play Rishabh Malhotra. My character became a heartthrob and the show took my career in a new direction. In a lot of ways, Mahesh Bhatt is responsible for where I am today. Working with three generations of the Bhatt family has been a pleasure. You can see a glimpse of Mahesh Bhatt and Vikram Bhatt in Krishna who has directed this show. In fact, I feel she is a more layered human being and filmmaker than both of them.
You have stated in an interview that you are driven but not power hungry like Ajay, the character you play in the show. What were the challenges associated in portraying this character?
It was quite difficult to portray Ajay. I didn’t identify with the character as there was nothing in common between us. Ajay’s thought process is completely different from mine. I couldn’t put any of my traits into him. It was a challenging role but then, there is no point in playing a character you have portrayed in the past. I want to keep pushing myself as an actor and play the kind of roles that I have not attempted in the past.
‘Sanak Ek Junoon’ has been your third show in the digital space. For years, TV and films were the two mediums you worked in. Has the experience of working in the OTT space been any different?
Every medium has its nuances. OTT is a good space for directors and technicians. It gives you the freedom to tell new stories. Personally, OTT has led to my rebirth as an actor. I had stopped being a leading man in cinema a long time ago. OTT has given me the opportunity not just to do challenging parts but also play the lead. I can play one of the characters in one show and then, play the hero in another. Fortunately, all the three shows I have done so far had me as the leading man. Tomorrow, if I get a small but interesting part in a good web show, I will do it.
In a long career, you have played many memorable roles. Which is that one character that is the closest to you heart?
Rishabh Malhotra from ‘Swabhimaan’ will always be the closest to my heart. It was that one role that gave me a standing as an actor. I always say that Rishabh Malhotra is my Gabbar Singh. Many of the characters I played went on to become very popular but none of them managed to surpass the popularity of Rishabh Malhotra. It’s been 25 years since the show first came out but it is still remembered by the viewers. Generations remember me as Rishabh Malhotra.
Apart from acting, you have been producing content for a while. Is it difficult to strike a balance between your duties as a producer and an actor?
It is quite difficult. It is easier for me to direct and act but difficult to produce and act at the same time. Production is a 24×7 job. I can’t go out to shoot for a project and ask my team to handle the production of my show. You can’t afford any slips while you are producing a show or a film. Because of my recent acting assignments, production took a backseat. Next year, I will be producing and directing a show which Ronit and I will share the screen space in.
You had directed one of the segments in ‘Dus Kahaaniyan’. Do you plan to direct a feature film?
That is the only plan which is not working out (laughs). I had no desire to become an actor. If I had the option, I would just be happy directing films. My true calling is behind the camera. My dream is to direct a film in which I am also the lead actor, similar to what Feroz Khan saab used to do back in the day.
Sanak Ek Junoon is streaming on MX Player for free.