Popular TV actors Manish Paul and Barun Sobti are poised to make their Bollywood debuts as heroes, Manish with Mickey Virus and Barun with Main Aur Mr Riight. Manish began his TV career as an actor with Ghost Bana Dost but it was as a host in DID and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa — that he struck gold. Barun did serials like Shraddha and Baat Hamari Pakki before Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon catapulted him to fame as the romantic hero. After Hrs caught up with the two actors...
TV as a stepping stone
Manish Paul: I don’t think TV is a stepping stone. It is all about destiny — if you are destined to make it in films you will, irrespective of whether you are a TV actor or not. For me, films are a passion and I groomed/transformed myself to be a film actor.
Barun Sobti: You have no idea the kind of money, TV actors make —sometimes it is more than the regular film artistes. So, it’s not necessarily a stepping stone. But yes, you are seeing a lot of TV actors foraying into films because the barrier between films and TV has broken.
TV drama or filmi masala
MP: I like both. As a performer, films will give me an opportunity to play different things, which I can’t on TV as a host.
BS: I would say a little of both. On TV, as an actor you relate to the character and the set because you are living it everyday and the viewer starts identifying with you and the drama. However, I end up getting less time for my family. Film shooting takes a longer time and I am left with more free time, which is welcome. Also, the audience gets more influenced by films as they watch it in a theatre with loud music and action.
MP: I play a hacker, the best hacker of Malviya Nagar in Mickey Virus. It’s a comic thriller and I get to do everything from action to romance.
BS: I am playing a wannabe model and I relate to the character in Main Aur Mr Riight because I came to Mumbai to become an actor. I play a big Salman Khan fan, I dress up and try to talk like him. It’s a serious subject but dealt with in a lighter vein.
MP: I have a lot of expectations. I have been an entertainer and people have showered their love on me. Now it is time that they see me as an actor.
BS: I am actually zoned out. I have no expectations, I am not the kind of person who pins high hopes. Instead, I go with the thought that the film is going to do nothing for me. When we started the film, it was a surprise, when we saw the rushes I thought it’s looking good and when the first look was out, I was cool.
Return to TV?
MP: So far I have not got any offers but if I get a good show to host, why not?
BS: I have been approached for a show, which has a beautiful concept. It is a weekly and I am considering it.