Television actor Shashank Vyas who turned famous with his character of Jagya in Balika Vadhu had a tough time before entering the industry. The actor whom we last saw in Roop, revealed a lot about his journey, marriage plans, link-up rumours with co-star Pratyusha Banerjee, his affection for Surekha Sikri and much more. We bring you excerpts from our conversation:
How did your acting career take off?
I did a few ads before I got the opportunity to play Jagya in Balika Vadhu. But no one knows about it because in those ads I am standing somewhere behind. And I didn't mind either as I wanted money that time.
In your 9 year long run, you have done very few shows. Why so?
It's a deliberate attempt. I only do the work that I believe in, that I can relate to it and give my 100%. So whenever any script comes to me I read and convince myself that I can do it. That's the reason I have done only 3 shows in 9 years.
Among all the roles you’ve played so far, which is your favourite character?
It is quite difficult to choose one because for each character, I have given my blood and tears, so it will be injustice to pick one. Also, every character has thought me a lot.
Have you ever faced rejection before entering the industry?
Of course, before I played Jagdish in Balika Vadhu. I had the most difficult phase of my life. Because at that time I was struggling for work, used to send photographs to producers and ask them to cast me. I used to give many auditions but casting people used to reject me saying ‘you are too lean, your acting is not up to the mark’ and what not. Believe me that it used to be demotivating at times. But then, I got Balika Vadhu and it turned out to be a game-changer for me. I got an opportunity to work with national award winner, Surekha Sikri. Also, I earned money name and fame. In fact, I would say that Balika Vadhu made me an actor. So, a little bit of acting which I know is because of that show.
You just mentioned Surekha Sikri’s name who won the National Award. Did you meet her recently?
When I met Surekhaji for the first time on the sets, I was blown away. She is 74 now, but 9 years ago also she was so much committed to her work that I can't even tell you. She has taught me one secret of acting that I follow always. I remember I had told her that yeh kitna bura scene likh kar aaya hai isme main kaise perform karu to which she replied, ‘agar achcha likha hota toh tum achcha hi perform karte. But tumhara skill to tabhi pata lagega jab tum is bure scene ko enhance karke achche se perform karoge". I even called her up for congratulating her when she won the award and she was complaining that I don't go to meet her. So I went there, spent some time with her. She is not well these days but was very happy to see me.
Do you feel that Television has become fragile?
Right now I am not looking for platforms, but creatively satisfying work. On Television, there is a huge scarcity of good writers and I can't sketch my character because it's driven by TRP charts. Like every Friday, the whole track gets changed if the show is not getting numbers. And I am really unhappy with this kind of work pattern.
You are a big fan of Amitabh Bachchan and consider him as a role model…
Amitabh Bachchan has been my role model since childhood. You know what! I even have white shirt on which with the help of a graphic designer, I have printed his photo. It's a black-and-white picture on white shirt so when I wear it, he is seen on my chest area. Usually actors like us get such gifts, but I gifted this to myself due to the amount of love I have for him.
Tell us about your co-star Pratyusha Banerjee. As she is no longer between us, how much do you miss her?
I still can't forget that incident of April 1, 2016. I and Pratyusha started our careers together. That time I used to live in Santacruz whereas she used to reside in Andheri which is close by. So we turned really good friends as we used to travel from the same train to reach our set which was in Naigaon. We used to spend a lot of time together laughing, arguing, eating, sharing secrets and what not. I have seen her growing as an actor from thirty retakes to one single take. I have also praised her a number of times for it. I have seen her stardom and also the problems she was facing behind. But she was a strong girl and on that day, I was in gym for my workout when I received a message from a friend that Pratyusha is no more. And I can't tell you what that feeling was. That moment I realised nothing is permanent. From that incident, I learned that one should focus in their life for quality and not quantity. If you will run behind everything that may also give you problems. Zindagi ki koi problem aapki zindagi se badi nahi hoti hai. It was her birthday last month, I wish she would have been between us. I will always miss her.
One link-up with your co-star which came as a surprise to you?
My first link-up rumour was with Pratyusha only. And we both were laughing it a loud. In fact Pratyusha herself came to me and shared the news.
One call that changed your life forever?
I came to Mumbai in 2009, and I got a call from my father that I have lost my mother. That one call changed me completely. I became a man from a boy. Because after her, I’m not just looking after myself, but also taking care of my father.
Do you love to enjoy fame?
I am unlucky that way. Because I have always been so busy with my work and shoot that I never got time to enjoy the fame that other actors do. Because when people used to love me as Jagya and when no social media like Instagram or Facebook was that active, then I would come to know how popular I am. But sometimes I feel it's good that I didn't enjoy that phase as ho sakta hai main saatve aasman par hota (laughs).
Why don't we see you in reality shows?
So when I came down to Mumbai, I came with a dream of becoming an actor. Getting locked inside a house or jumping from mountains is not part of my dream. So that's the reason. I don't believe in multi-tasking. I like to focus on one thing at a time. But yes, I can do Jhalak Dikhlaja as dancing is what I like.
Any plans of marriage?
I don't have partner so whom do I marry? Hence, I have left it on destiny and fate.
What qualities do you look for in a life partner?
I think understanding and education are the two main things that I am looking at in my life partner.
When are we seeing you next on screen?
I am missing my fans too. I���m missing my camera and the word “action” but as I said I can't be visible like this only. So I am looking for a project which can convince me to surrender myself to it. Kyunki when I take up a show I don't even see my house. So I just want that place and people to be worth of.
Web series are the latest fad for many actors. Your take?
It's a fantastic platform. You know even my friends who are staying in small towns like Ujjain and Gwalior call me up and ask why don't you do a web series? It clearly means that it is the fastest growing medium as small town people are also inclined towards web series. It gives an actor to perform to his fullest and I find that's the best thing. You know the start and end point of your show which is very important for any good actor to know.
Image Source:- instagram/ishashankvyas
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