How do you think Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala changed the face of Indian television?
“I think it has changed the face of Indian television a lot. It’s been close to 1.5 year and the show is doing so well. My and the producer’s motto has always been to make something different on Indian television and I was also looking for something different. We were a little sceptical whether it would work or not because it was a musical and a love story between a daughter and her father. By God’s grace and everyone’s hard work today the show has reached to the heights it was supposed to reach/deserves to be. A lot of producers and actors from the fraternity have reached out to us and said the show is brilliant and even people from rival channels respect the work my team does. I don’t think I’ve seen a serial on a father daughter relationship till now or at least it hasn’t been explored in such depth as Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala. I’m glad that people have loved the show so much and it is all down to our collective teamwork. Every single person has been working hard till now which is why Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala is a cult show and I can proudly say when I’m old that I worked on this show. The kind of work that I’ve done on this show is completely different to my previous serials. I didn’t think I would stretch myself so much for this character. I can only hope that from henceforth, people make such impactful shows like Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala on Indian television so that actors and creatives get a chance to get the best out of themselves. This show proves that when you give the audience something different from what is in the mainstream, though it takes time to settle, ultimately, they begin accepting newer concepts and ideas. So yes, Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala has indeed changed the face of Indian television.”
Do you think that Kullfi has changed the way fathers are viewed in the Asian diaspora?
“To an extent yes, as you will not believe how many messages I get daily about how inspiring Kullfi and Sikandar’s bond has been where people who previously didn’t keep in touch with their fathers have now been able to connect with them. I also get many letters from fans where they discuss how Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala has changed the perceptions they have of their fathers. All I want to tell people through Sikandar is that life is too short and you should love each other.”
Did you expect Kullfi to be as successful as it is?
“I never expected this and to be honest I didn’t want to expect anything because I was in a very spiritual phase of life when I signed Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala. Prior to Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala I shot for two serials which never got on air and I was so attached which made me sad. So, with this show I just worked hard on my character and we all just worked as a team and left everything to God.” He adds, “Speaking about results, they aren’t in our hands as so many good shows come and go and there’s no real formula for success. But one thing I feel connects with the audience is the emotions and I know what emotions I go through everyday playing Sikandar as I’m living Sikandar at the moment if you ask me frankly (smiles). When you begin to expect things, you focus on the result and not the journey so yeah, I just wanted to live the journey.”
The original soundtracks have been very well received with a combination of original compositions and covers. Is there any chance of an official release?
“We are close to 170 original compositions all of which have been accepted. I’m amazed that the channel hasn’t officially released because these are some of the best songs you would’ve heard in recent times. I personally love these songs. I have my playlist which I listen to everyday (laughs). All the credit goes to Nakash Aziz who is the voice of Sikandar, Sargam Jassu who composes the songs and Divy Sharma who is the lyricists/writer of our show.”
You mentioned that there was a chance of you singing. Is that still in the works?
“Yes, that is still in the works as I’m looking for some time to do riyaaz and have been practicing before we began shooting but the schedule became so hectic that I couldn’t continue to do riyaaz. I cannot sing without doing riyaaz for 1-2 months at least. However, I have promised my producers that I definitely will sing within 4-5 months from now.”
Where would you like to see Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala go in terms of narrative and character arcs?
“I don’t think I’m the best person to answer this question, but I feel that Sikandar as a character has truly evolved as well as the girls. All I want to say is that henceforth he wishes to be the best version of himself and Sikandar is on that path and he realises his mistakes and will try to correct them.”
According to multiple outlets, there are reports of a leap. Are they true?
“No, they are not true.”
How has it been working with Aakriti, Myra and the rest of the cast?
“Working with Aakriti, Myra and the rest of the cast has been one of the best times in my life. That is not to say I have fun because frankly speaking in 12 hours I am busy 10 hours working in the thoughts of Sikandar. I write a diary for Sikandar and that really helps me play the character. But working with the girls has been so good to watch as I’ve unlearned a lot as the rawness, newness and innocence in them really struck me and I really wanted to become that way. Individually speaking, Aakriti is spontaneous and a very “in the moment” type of an actor whereas Myra has a blend of being “in the moment” and doing preparation in her makeup room. Glad she learnt this from me (laughs) but yes, both of them are really hardworking. Anjali is also one of the best actors I’ve worked with, someone who is so relaxed and organic. She is fabulous and I love working with her too.”
Post Kullfi, what roles would you like to play and is there any chance of you taking up a web-series?
“Definitely anything which comes my way which is challenging and stretches me further as an actor which I’ve never done before and the show to which I will say “no” within the first meeting as I know my first thought is usually “no” and then I go home and think about it. I don’t mind working on any platform whether it is Films, TV or Web-series but the role has to be something different from what I have done in the past.”
Finally, any messages for your fans?
“To all the fans from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for all the love that you’ve poured and given us. It is strange that only a fair few hardworking people get recognised and I’m lucky to be noticed.” He adds “Also I want to say thank you to everyone who has been watching the show because fans are everything. I hope I meet each and every fan personally and thank them.”