|Interview with television
actor Manish Goel
knows what would have happened to me if Ekta Kapoor hadn't
come in my life"
|Posted on 16
typical filmi story... a young boy runs away from
home to the city of dreams - Mumbai, with stars in his eyes. Then
follows the struggle to get make it in the big bad world. While
back home in Delhi, parents constant pleaded with him to return
back. But he wasn't ready to abandon his dreams.
After four years of relentless pursuit he finally got a break
in the industry. But that wasn't the end of the struggle, not as
yet. Despite the break through the talented actor is yet to get
an appropriate reckoning for his talent. That is life story of Manish
Goel for you.
You must have seen him previously in Star Plus' Kasautii
Zindagi Kay, as a sneaky character dependent on his wife for
his daily bread. Of late he is garnering some acclaim for his portrayal
of a sensitive husband Tilak in UTV's Bhabhi on Star Plus.
Latest role that he took up has been that of a Flight Lieutenant
Saurav Singh in Miditech's Saara Akaash. But just when it
seemed like there would be no looking back, he has opted out of
the Star Plus weekly.
indiantelevision.com's Vickey Lalwani met up with
the 28-year old Goel in his Andheri flat to trace his journey, feelings
Read on for excerpts from the heart-to-heart chat that transpired:
made you take to the entertainment industry?
all started when I was nine. I won an award for a role in a skit
at an inter-school competition. Thereafter, my school (Father Agnel)
encouraged me to participate in extra curricular activities like
mono acting, dance competitions and dance charades.
I started to dream about being a film-star. I started going to the
gym, imagining my name amongst the top names in tinselville... Though
there wasn't much encouragement from my parents, I thought it would
be pretty easy. Pretty soon, the dream started to frustrate me.
So after my twelfth boards, I ran off to Mumbai with an uncle. My
parents had no ideas as I lied to them that I was going to stay
at a friend's place for three days.
when my father came to know, he did not blow his top. Instead, he
enrolled me at the Asha Chandra Institute of acting and went back.
But I couldn't go through it, so I called my mom and we got the
refund. But during the short while that I was there, I got my portfolio
done for Rs 3,000.
why did discontinue the acting course?
the hostel facilities left much to be desired. I couldn't get attuned
to the living conditions there.
I left mainly because I was appalled by the quality of education.
In the introductory class, we were asked to enact few Amitabh Bachchan
scenes and the instructors asked us to do it exactly like the actor.
If I had to learn to imitate other actors, I could have done that
sitting at home!
my mom took me to Anand Mahendroo; who was planning a new serial;
with a reference letter in tow. I joined as an assistant, but there
too, working and staying conditions were not too favourable - sharing
a common toilet, sleeping on the carpet, making yourself comfy with
just a table fan, eating meals only after all artistes have finished
eating. I lost as much as 16 kilos at that time.
my tummy was bloating. In short, I stopped looking as a youngster
from every angle. I began to question myself that why was I doing
this, but somehow continued. Suddenly, Mahendroo informed that he
would be leaving for sometime to London. I could not go because
he wanted to take only his first three assistants and I was the
eighth one. I informed my mom and she came down to pick me up and
I returned to Delhi.
dad suggested that I do some course to make up for the time lost
so that I could shape my future. I did a one year course in interior
decoration, but… still yearned to become an actor. I started going
for training in horse riding, gym and dance.
my dad yet hadn't given up on me, so the financial support was still
coming. And I again tried to try my hand at acting. I filled up
a form to enroll myself in the Stardust 'Want to be an actor?' batch.
My dad this time too did not lose his cool, but told me in no uncertain
terms that this was my last chance. Luck! I sailed through all the
rounds. And we were put up at Nari Hira's bungalow in Madh Island
and pampered with the best of lodging-n-boarding facilities (sighs).
all did you learn in the Stardust batch?
were put under Kishor Namit Kapoor. He did not teach us acting,
which I think is purely intrinsic. Kapoor would throw up situations
and ask us to react. Then, he would correct us and ask us to improvise.
would work on our correct expression, usage of hands and legs, camera-facing
abilities and pronunciations. With such a brilliant training and
a subsequent article in Stardust thereafter, I signed up with four-film
producers- K C Bokadia, Deepak Shivdasani, Rajat Rawail, Pammi Sandhu.
Not wow. None of these projects took off. Every time I called
a producer, I was told that he is either in a meeting or in a bathroom.
I was told that the market for newcomers was diminishing. I was
even called by Gurudev Bhalla who is currently directing my serial
Bhabhi, for a film titled Shararat, which later went
to Abhishek Bachchan.
luckily, I had received a signing amount of about
Rs 70,000 from those four films. I wasn't asked to return it. And
I utilised it to stay afloat. Surely, I was not going back to my
dad. I decided to go and ask Manish Goswami for a role. While I
was flying with those four film projects, Goswami had offered me
a role for a TV serial, which I had refused. Now I knew he would
say "I'll let you know," and that's exactly what happened.
Irani signed me for Mehendi Tere Naam Ki but 24 hours
before she began her serial, she informed me that I was not
in it. Till date, it's a mystery why I was dropped"
how did the door to the television industry open for you?
To begin with, I dabbled a bit in the music video Jassi's Kudi.
Still, there was no work. I went to model coordinator Mona Irani
and she asked me if I was ready to join the chorus for an ad. I
told her that would be frustrating, but she said that I had no standing
in the market. I agreed and did a few ads like Ponds, Lipton, etc.
I also acted in a crowd in Just Mohabbat, Hip Hip Hurray, C.I.D,
Aahat and Yeh Hai Raaz.
the way, Tony Singh offered me a side role in Just Mohabbat,
which fetched me Rs 1,000 per day. That role gave me proper coverage
and footage. I started getting noticed. Soon, Aroona Irani signed
me for Mehendi Tere Naam Ki. But again, my wheel got clogged.
Just 24 hours before Irani began her serial, she informed me that
I was not supposed to do the show. Till date, it's a mystery why
I was dropped. If Ekta Kapoor hadn't come in my life, God knows
what would have happened.
did Ekta come into your struggle?
Ekta called me and said that she had noticed me in the Jassi's
Kudi video and cast me in Bandhan, which fetched me Rs
2,000 per day. Originally my role was supposed to be for 40 episodes,
but at the end of the first day itself, she saw the tapes and increased
my role to 70 episodes. As soon as my role in Bandhan got
over, she cast me as Tushar in Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii.
Ekta's penchant of giving maximum opportunities to her actors, I
soon found myself in Ghar Ek Mandir and Kuch Khona Hai
Kuch Pana Hai; the latter one was meant for DD 1 but unfortunately
did not see the light of day. After that, Irani called me again
and said 'let bygones be bygones, I want to cast you in MTNK.'
Nasir was dropped midway and I got into his place, opposite Urvashi
Dholakia. And then came Kasautii Zindagii Kay.
It gave me a lot of good professionally and personally. I met my
wife Poonam (who played Nivedita in Kasautii..., yes, played,
because she is not doing Kasautii... for a while since her
track in Ekta's another serial Kkusum has gained limelight).
although we were playing husband and wife, it didn't occur to either
of us to make it happen in real life. It was my mother's initiative,
which made reel life real. Just before my marriage, I signed Saara
Akaash. Just after marriage, I signed Bhabhi.
did you disappear from 'Kasautii…'?
my track was slowly diminishing and I spoke to Ekta about it. Actually,
the story had deviated in such a way that I was being called for
only a scene or two at random. Again I spoke to Ekta. At this point
of time, she told me that I'll have to wait for some time for the
track to come back. I waited… slowly, Bhabhi and Saara
Akaash required me more and more, my track in Kasauti…
was not happening, I took a decision of opting out of Kasautii…
By this time, someone had poisoned Ekta's ears that I was not allotting
dates to her serial. I went and clarified and also explained by
decision. Being a creative person, she clearly understood.
pray, why did you opt from Saara Akaash recently?
another story. When I had signed the show, I was told that the spotlight
would be equal on the males - Anuj Saxena, Shakti Anand, Manav Gohil
and myself. I understand that it is a serial and the precise equality
cannot be maintained all along. But how could I continue if I was
pushed into the background? The focus is on Shakti Anand and importantly,
Sai Deodhar. It has become a woman-oriented serial.
I had signed a contract of 26 episodes. I spoke to Miditech and
expressed my unhappiness. I told them that I would not be able to
continue if things did not improve for me. My close-up would not
mean anything to the director and producer. I shot scenes, which
were erased. Whenever the length of the reel became longer, the
axe fell first on me. At one point of time, I saw that my name was
not in the script but I was being told to stand behind in the scene.
should I be cooling my heels when I am not being utilised as an
important character? I was terribly upset. I refused to shoot for
that scene. My point is creativity. If I am not convinced, I get
too logical about the whole issue and prefer talking to the writer.
Do you know what reply I got? That, the writer is holidaying in
Goa and maybe he forgot to include my name! I was terribly upset.
change of tracks is the name of the game in TV serials. Shouldn't
you learn to take it in your stride?
What I expect from the producer is to be clear. He should plainly
tell me that 'we don't have a track for you, currently'. But don't
call me and push me in the backdrop and erase my close-ups.
thing happened in UTV's Bhabhi; I was shown dead. The officials
clearly told me that I would not be required for a few days. Now
I am back big time. This is professionalism.
is possible only if an actor has a good rapport with the director
you think that creativity is being sacrificed on television?
to an extent. The main reason why this happens is that actors don't
get sufficient time to comprehend the scene. One, we do nearly 10
scenes a day, which I think is a bit too much if you consider the
fact that we are given the lines just a few hours before the actual
shoot. Plus, there is no continuity. If we go to an outdoor location
or a particular studio, we are asked to shoot scenes which are not
in continuity because the race against time debars the serial-maker
from coming to that place again as and when the need arises in near
future. Thus, at times, we shoot some scenes, which are eight to
10 episodes ahead of our present position. In such a scenario, it
is tough to get the mood right without having felt the situation
the high speed with which we are compelled to work can be detrimental
to our understanding of the transition in our character, which keeps
happening as and when the track changes. Like, now in Bhabhi,
I have become a drunkard. So I need to do some homework in practicing
how exactly a drunkard behaves, moves and talks. Else I'll go either
over the top or be too subtle, but not in sync. Often, we are shooting
for 13-14 hours in a day and don't get the time to do the homework.
you an actor who needs to do homework?
See, I understand what spontaneity is all about. But homework always
helps. A doctor who goes to a patient is more at ease if he knows
the history of the patient. A student writes his paper well if he
has prepared his subject.
not anything else due to time constraints, I make it a point to
phone the writer once in a week and ask him how my character is
going to shape up in the next seven days. I even ask the fashion
stylist about the hairstyle and the clothes I am going to wear.
I insist that I receive the costumes at least one day before a particular
shoot. I can't digest it and I am never at ease if asked to wear
something suddenly. Clothes play a large role in developing the
right body language demanded by the mood of the scene.
have been instances where I have been told to wear the same shirts,
which were given to me last month. But if the track and the mood
have changed, I never comply. Suppose last month they had given
me red, blue and green shirts because the track was romance, how
I can wear those bright colours now when I have become depressed?
I demanded two kurtas and jeans.
you voice your opinion if you disagree on something?
Always. Like, there was this scene in Bhabhi recently where
I come back alive. My re-entry scene was supposed to be in the hospital.
The channel wanted me to look clean-shaven and good. I did not allow
any make-up on me and did the scene with stubble. How can you show
a man in a wheelchair whose love has gone away from him, looking
spic and span? I know that some people didn't like my stubbornness,
but I can't compromise on creativity and reality (shrugs).
there was a scene where a woman (Shilpa Shinde) who has made me
disabled comes in front of me, walks around the wheel chair and
says one-full page dialogues - and I was told to sit there like
a dodo, without any emotion or struggle. Doesn't that defy logic?
I insisted that either I react in some way, or Shilpa suggested
that she be given a pistol to put it on my head, which would justify
my non-reaction. They relented and opted for the latter.
I am very particular about the lines. If I feel that my character
is not such who can say these words, I make it a point to explain
to the director. At times, I am helpless- if there are lines, which
have come with a footnote: 'You cannot change these lines'.
And that is possible only if an actor has a good rapport with the
director. If an actor requests for a retake, a director should agree
in the first place. Often, there is very little spare time and directors
put forward their helplessness. Television shooting proceeds at
a frenzy pace.
actors feel that directors should enact a scene before calling 'Action'.
What is your take on this?
I will not endorse on this. There are directors who enact the
scene as a rule, and thereafter, want the actor to rigidly follow
their pattern of mannerisms. I am very uncomfortable. I believe
that an actor should be given his space. I will definitely do as
my director says, but concept per se, and not to the extent of 'aisa
baithna hai, aisa uthna hai, is dialogue ko uthana hai, is dialogue
ko dheme bolna hai.'
you happy with the quality of work prevalent and available on television?
For females, yes. For males, no. All serials are being made
with the protagonist in mind being a female. Perhaps because the
majority of viewers are females. And women want emotion. Even in
case of Saara Akaash, look how the mother and the sister
angle was brought in to generate emotion. I want to play dark negative
characters, which arouse hatred for me amongst the viewers. I want
to do comedy roles and make the people roll in laughter. There's
so much I can do but… (Shrugs).
are the actors you admire?
Kiran Karmarkar and Ali Asgar. Nobody can imitate them.
do you go from here?
I am not content. Life is a long journey. I came to Mumbai to
make it big. My dream of making it big on the big screen, for which
I came away from home, is still there to be realised. God willing,
I will get my fair share of chances and not disappoint my producers
doesn't this film dream scare you looking at Amarr Upadhyay, Varun
Badola, Gaurav Chanana…
(Interrupts) It does, but I'll give it a shot. Let me
tell you that I am making a conscious effort of making my debut
not as a hero. I am talking to a few producers.
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