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Sharad Malhotra: Channeling Emotions on Screen – A Candid Conversation with the Versatile Actor

Firsts are always special and that’s something Sharad Malhotra truly lives by. The suave and dashing heartthrob who rose to fame with television shows and gained massive popularity in his (almost) two decade long career, so much so, that he has been living with the audience in their living rooms for a while, considers television his first love. 

The actor has also directed a quirky short film ‘Prem Gajra Aur Chilli Chicken’ which has been showered with immense love from the viewers and his fans. He’s fascinated by the whole idea of making a short film and is working on some more projects which he hopes shall go on the floors soon. Well, we’re hoping the same, aren’t we?

In this exclusive segment, the actor opens up about television being his ‘dal chawal’, being a fitness freak, his married life, making short films and much more… 

  • In one of your interviews, you had mentioned that television is ‘dal chawal’ for you which will always be there till the end of time. Since you’ve been in the industry for almost two decades now, how do you think it has changed from the time you initially started? And how can we make it an even better workplace?

Yes, I had mentioned in one of my interviews that television is like ‘dal chawal’ which in simple terms, is an emotion; It reminds you of home and comfort, which is television for me. And talking about my journey, I’m nearing two decades into the industry but it feels like I had started off yesterday and I still feel very new. I still feel extremely hungry and passionate about what I want to do; probably the hunger pangs have increased. And since the time I started, a lot of things have changed – television has changed, the content has changed, creatively people have gotten smarter and wiser and they want to make good content that sells. They don’t want to just sit at home after making content and wait for things to happen. So yes, television has gotten very aggressive and it’s no longer the idiot box; it’s the smartest box around. I just feel that along with television, I have evolved as a person too, we both have gotten matured, for the better. We’ve actually gotten better for the best and I feel very proud of the fact that I’m a part of the TV fraternity because TV is my first love and will always stay my first love.

Talking about the second half of your question, I think it’s very each to its own kind of a thing, you know? If you’re enjoying your work, if you’re loving your work, I think automatically it’s directly proportional into making your workplace better, because you’re in a great frame of mind and in the end, that’s all we want.

  • It isn’t surprising to know that you’re a fitness freak, but on top of that, you’re a horse-rider and a trained martial artist as well. Tell us something about your connection with fitness, and do you think it’s important for actors to indulge themselves in other forms of creativity apart from acting?

Well, fitness for me is a way of life and I’ve always been a fitness freak. Having said that, I literally live to eat but I truly believe that spiritual health, mental health and physical health is very important. Yes, I’m a trained horse-rider and I’ve learnt different forms of martial arts, and I’m a trained kickboxer as well. So, I’ve always tried to indulge myself in some form or the other, where I probably get to learn a new form, a new art, and at the same time keep myself fit – mentally and physically. It also helped me focus so I think fitness, especially in today’s times, is mandatory, irrespective of whether you’re an actor or not. You need to push the envelope and strive harder. And I definitely think that it’s important for actors to indulge themselves in other forms of creativity whether it’s direction, production, writing or cinematography. We need to keep challenging ourselves and push our boundaries. You never know, maybe apart from acting, you could be a good producer or a writer. So, unless we try, we’ll never know. I, myself have directed a short film which is on one of the leading OTT platforms of the country. I do write content as well, which I’d like to maybe direct or produce in the near future. So, to answer your question, it’s a big yes from me and it’s important that they do (indulge). 

  • If we talk about your personal life, people already know a lot about your life post marriage, but let’s rewind a bit and know about your relationship with Ripci before you both got hitched. What was your first impression of her and who made the first move?

With Ripci and myself, I would probably say that we were destined to come together. Because it’s absolutely magical that I happened to meet her a couple of years prior to getting married to her, and a couple of years down the line, we suddenly just get married and somewhere, obviously if I may say so, I pursued. But I’m so glad that things just fell into place and both the families met and it was a beautiful, surreal, and absolutely magical kind of setup that we had for the wedding. It just felt so right and perfect in that moment. So now when I look back and think about all those little fights or cute little banters that we had – which were very normal, it was all for the betterment of the relationship. Now, obviously as individuals and as a couple, we’ve also matured with time. So, I think it’s important that you understand your partner because it’s not the big things that make a difference, the small things do (smiles).

Also, when I met her for the first time, I remember she came across as a very well-spoken, well-read and extremely stylish kind of a woman. That is something which was really attractive about her. And obviously, very kind, gentle, soft-spoken kind of person that she is, who has her own thought process and isn’t dependent on anyone for that matter. So yeah, these little things got my heart fluttering for her if I may say so (chuckles).

  • After the massive success of your music video ‘Bepanah Pyaar’, the team decided to come together for a sequel ‘Bepanah Ishq’ which was equally loved by the audience. Now, it’s rare for music videos to have sequels but your chemistry with Surbhi Chandna was electrifying so much so, that the comments sections on both these videos are filled with fans eagerly waiting for the next part. What do you have to say about the kind of love fans have showered you with, and most importantly, on behalf of your fans, I’d like to know more about the “to be continued…” written towards the end of ‘Bepanah Ishq’?

By the grace of God, I’ve been very lucky with my music videos. Most of my videos have struck a chord with the viewers and my fans, and I just feel blessed that ‘Bepanah Pyaar’ and ‘Bepanah Ishq’ were beautifully welcomed and lapped up by the audience, considering both are great tracks – visually and audio wise as well. I think it’s great that people are wanting a third part because we had a ‘to be continued…’ right towards the end of ‘Bepanah Ishq’ and the makers have just left a thread that maybe (or maybe not), there’s going to be a third part; we don’t know. But we’re hoping as actors that if there is a third part in the future, it should be interesting, much more exciting and probably larger than life. The third part should sum up everything compared to the first two parts. That’s something which I’m looking forward to as well. 

And having said that, Surbhi and I had done a show called ‘Naagin’ which again, by the grace of God, our chemistry and physics and biology (chuckles) was liked by the nation and everyone wanted to see us in a different space, in a different setting and Bingo! There we were, doing music videos where we got an immense amount of love. So, if there is a third part, both of us would love to be a part of it. 

Apart from that, I already have a couple of videos that are due for release so, equally excited for those as well.

  • Since you’ve both, acted and directed short films, how challenging is it to tell a relevant story within a short period of time and what factors need to be taken into consideration while doing the same?

I’m very lucky to have been in front of the camera and behind the camera as well. Like I mentioned before, I had directed a short film for one of the leading OTT channels of the country and it got a lot of praise. Everyone loved the characters, the screenplay and the story. But one of the biggest and most important challenges I feel is the budget. It obviously cannot be very lengthy and elaborate as compared to a feature film. And the next one I would say is the time period. Short films are called short films because the duration is shorter compared to a feature film. So, I think these two are the main factors that need to be understood. And I feel that a maker has that luxury to experiment when it comes to short films. And once you’ve mastered the art, you could probably move on to a bigger format or a different medium. So, I think it’s important to understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of making a short film because honestly, it [short film] requires a certain amount of dedication as compared to a feature. 

Also, short films are an inexpensive way for makers to learn and apply that knowledge to make a feature film or to think of something bigger, better and lengthier. And to be honest, I’m just fascinated with this whole idea of shooting or directing a short film because they’re very interesting stories that we need to concise or manoeuvre around a bit so that they could fit into that short film mould or the bracket.

Tags:

Photographer ~ Paul David Martin @pauldavidmartinofficial

Stylist ~ Ripci Bhatia Malhotra @ripcimalhotra

MUA ~ Kumar Gaurav 

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