In conversation with Karanvir Sharma
Star Plus’s popular show Shaurya Aur Anokhi Ki Kahani produced by DJ’s a Creative Unit has given viewers the much-needed breath of fresh air on Indian television. If you’ve not watched the show already, it is an all-rounded entertainer simultaneously giving a social message of women empowerment and lots more. In light of this, I decided to interview Karanvir Sharma who plays the lead role of Shaurya Sabherwal. Karanvir whose body of work spans across multiple mediums reveals that he never wanted to become an actor, “I wanted to initially pursue directing but was encouraged to be in front of the camera so it just happened that I became an actor.” Probing the actor further in his unique career trajectory, I asked him what were the influences in making these decisions. To which he responded, “Well to be honest I have always gone by the character that I’m playing, the one that excites me which is generally a way of thinking for actors, especially me where I look forward to a good role which drives me to wake up in the morning every day and face the camera. Secondly, I look at the project in its entirety as you do want it to be successful in that it reaches the audiences. So, these are the primary choices that I make and the influences behind my decisions.” Asking him specifically about what made him choose the character of Professor Shaurya Sabherwal, Karanvir adds that, “The love and appreciation Television has given me is immense and I am very fortunate, but unfortunately I never got a role that excited me enough. This role is something in which actors would be ecstatic to do and so it was primarily the role which drove me through.” Well, who wouldn’t love to play a character like Shaurya?
In less than 150 episodes, Karanvir has shot a myriad of scenes spanning different emotional textures. I thus asked him what has been his most challenging scene to perform to date? To which he responded, “Every scene of Shaurya Aur Anokhi Ki Kahani has been challenging for me, because we try to push the bar every single time. Having said that, the scenes post my covid recovery have been physically exhausting given that the scenes were very intense as I had a lot of running around to do. On top of that, the kidnapping track of Shaurya demanded that we film in dilapidated sets to give that rustic vibe and given that these sets are in remote locations, it certainly becomes more challenging.” He further adds, “I also find that the emotionally draining scenes do drain me because I always give my all so I definitely need a breather after that. Also, I found the riot sequences particularly exhausting too a few months back, but I guess that is the fun of it.”
Shaurya Aur Anokhi Ki Kahani, as I have stated above is an all-rounded entertainer. So, whilst there is certainly a love story at the heart of the narrative, there is an equal importance on the relationships within a family. Therefore, in order to create the perfect on-screen familial dynamics, the dynamics off-screen must be organic. As a viewer, it’s evident that the off-screen dynamics have worked for the on-screen performances. Hence, I asked Karanvir how the camaraderie has been between his co-actors on sets, especially Debattama Saha? To which Karanvir responded, “I love working with all of them, we all have such a great bond and are supportive actors with an amazing star cast on set. Debattama is really supportive too and she’s a powerpack performer as she brings her all so that’s what I really like.”
It is no doubt that the camaraderie between Karanvir and Debattama’s characters have struck a chord with the viewers, shipping their characters as #Shakhi which has been a digital sensation, trending frequently on various occasions. In light of this, I asked Karanvir if he could describe #Shakhi in one word, what would it be? To which he replied instantly, “#Shakhi is an emotion. It is an emotion of fans, the efforts of us as actors and the entire writing and creative team as we work in day in and day out to make it (the pairing) authentic.” I couldn’t have agreed anymore.
The recent track of Shaurya Aur Anokhi Ki Kahani has raised a few eyebrows with Shaurya marrying Anokhi given the teacher and student dynamic and taboos that often come with it. Thus I decided to ask Karanvir his take on the marriage, but also whether he feels that love has the capacity to change a person, given that Anokhi is starkly opposite to what Shaurya initially looked for in his life partner. To which the actor responded, “Shaurya was very clear that there are a few people who are similar and there are a few people who are opposite and that doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love with either as love doesn’t have boundaries. In Shaurya and Anokhi’s case, they are opposites but they complement each other. However, they also have similarities in the challenges they faced in their upbringing which emotionally connects them at some level and they are very clear with what they want from life and how they feel about it. As for the taboos surrounding the teacher-student dynamic, it’s not like it hasn’t happened before but we have certainly aimed to keep that emotion intact, respecting the emotions of the audience and so we’ve tried to graph the sequences so that it doesn’t disrespect or hurt anyone’s sentiments.”
Viewers of the show such as myself are also intrigued to know about the progression of Shaurya’s arc and dynamic with his mother Aastha. Whilst it’s clear that Shaurya’s behaviour and insecurities stem from his abandonment as a child by his mother Aastha, I asked Karanvir if the viewers can expect Shaurya and Aastha’s relationship to begin patching up soon? To which he responded, “Well, the viewers have to watch what happens as it is very exciting that I can’t even talk about it otherwise it’ll be a big spoiler.” Well, we are certainly intrigued!
Putting Shaurya Aur Anokhi Ki Kahani aside, I then asked Karanvir if you could meet one of the characters that you have played so far in your career, who would you like to meet and why? Karanvir responded, “Typically when I get given a character to play, I tend to do a lot of analysis and research around that character. However, I couldn’t do as much for the character I played in Azhar, which was based on Manoj Prabhakar because of the limited footage I received, so I would like to know about his side of the story as he was a cricketer, and essentially what went down from his perspective. Then of course it is Shaurya. If I met a guy like Shaurya, I’d like to sit down with him and read interesting books and have intellectual conversations with him.”
Besides Shaurya Aur Anokhi Ki Kahani, Karanvir’s latest project Love Sorries has been the recent talk of the town. Asking him about his experience filming for this project, he reveals that “This was a project I had worked on very early on in my career and it has just received the light of day. The character has some unresolved issues which makes him what he is and I think the overall project was very nice.”
Given the variations in Karanvir’s career trajectory, I was intrigued to ask what type of roles or genres would he like to explore in the future? To which he revealed, “I would love to play a double role as it would challenge me to play different aspects of personality in one space. Also, given that I love superhero films, I’d love to play a character within that genre. Another character I’d really like to play is Karn from Mahabharat because he is super dynamic and it would be fun and interesting to play him.
Besides work, I then asked him what are his hobbies? He responded, “Honestly, it depends on my mood. If I am at home, then I like spending time with my family. If I do have quite a bit of time, I will cook a meal. Lately, I have had a newfound growing interest in plants, so I will plant something exquisite and cater to its needs which I find is really therapeutic. Besides that, I love listening to music and playing video games, in fact, I love anything that involves music and so playing the handpan is on my list of things to do.”
As the interview was nearing its end, I asked three “get-to-know-me” type questions. Firstly, tell us one unknown fact about yourself, it can be anything. Karanvir responded, “I am a very private person and although people on set think that I am outgoing, I do actually like to spend time with myself.” Interesting right? Secondly, I asked what his mantra for staying motivated and positive is? To which he responded, “My mantra for staying motivated and positive is connecting back with friends and family, people who care about you, there is nothing better than that.” Finally, I asked the fellow actor what advice would you give to those who wish to become actors or want to work in the entertainment industry? Karanvir shares, “I’ve learnt that if you want to do something, go ahead and do it and see what the outcome is. Also, give yourself 1000 days and see where you are on day 1000 compared to day 1. If you feel you are in a much better place than say previously, then you are in the right place. If not, you need to reconsider. Give yourself 2-3 years to see how you’re going and I know inhibitions come and go with time and people, but try to surpass all of that and just go for it.”
As we wrapped up the interview Karanvir decided to give a message to all her fans, “Be safe, double mask, be happy, enjoy your time and I love you all.”
Well there you go folks, that is Karanvir Sharma for you. Keep up with UrbanAsian.com and I shall be back with another article.