He is a dude — suave, smart and God-fearing too. For Mohit Raina who plays the various avatars of Lord Mahadev, it was a huge challenge but he likes them all. Not one to be bogged down with the pressure of back-to-back maha episodes, Raina tells Sangeeta Yadav that he is serious about making small screen is home for good. Excerpts of the interview
- There are many back-to-back maha episodes happening in Devon ke Dev Mahadev. What’s the reason behind the show’s popularity?
Mahadev is in an interesting phase. In the last maha episode, I played the triple role of Mahadev, Jalandhar and Aadi Yogi. These stories have been the show’s mainstay and have got us good TRPs. TRPs are not the only thing that keep us going. Our main purpose is to tell Lord Shiva’s story which has not been told in depth before on TV.
- How difficult is it to play Jalandhar?
Jalandhar is completely different from Mahadev. He tries to change norms and the way things function in society. Jalandhar has lent a new flavour to the show. I have been playing this role for only a month but enjoying the challenge. I’m a hard working actor and my certificate is the fans I have.
- Tell us more about Jalandhar?
He’s an ansh of Mahadev. When his mother was killed by Indra Dev (Jiten Lalwani plays the role), her death created a vengeful avatar of Mahadev — Jalandhar. He is hotheaded and considers himself supreme.
- How difficult is it for you to play so many characters simultaneously?
I’ve played 11 avatars of Mahadev. It’s quite challenging but it’s a lifetime opportunity. I like doing tough and demanding jobs. Initially, it was quite difficult to get into the skin of the characters. The role was huge and so were the expectations. Physically, it was very demanding to keep switching from one Mahadev avatar to another in a matter of minutes. But it was fun to do so many shades in just one show. Mahadev has changed my life and got me laurels.
- Which avatar do you love the most?
I’ve enjoyed all of them. I’ve been playing Mahadev for one-and-a-half months and I feel I know him more than anybody else. Every avatar has a different shade, significance, character sketch, mission and a reason to be.
- What kind of research work has gone into this show?
The makers wanted to get everything right to begin with. They couldn’t have taken a chance with mythology. They gave me a lot of time to understand the role and to live like a deva. I started taking meditation classes and also read sections of the Puranas. Everyday, I learnt something new about Mahadev and that has kept me going.
- What was your first reaction when the channel approached you?
The brief that I got from the channel was simple —we had to portray God and make the audience believe what they saw. It was a sensitive character to play, so the makers wanted me to make it seem as natural as possible.
- What is your fondest memory of the show?
It was my first day of the promo shoot with Lord Ganesha being played by Sadhil Kapoor. The director explained the scene to us — Mahadev was supposed to sever Lord Ganesha’s head and from that moment onwards, Sadhil was supposed to wear a mask. I remember when the director was done with explaining the details, Sadhil came to me and innocently asked me to not cut his head. He didn’t want to wear the mask for the rest of the episodes. It was the funniest memory I have.
- How do you manage your personal and professional life?
Every morning, I hit the gym and then rush to the sets where I spend the rest of my day. During the maha episodes, I spend my nights there. Weekends are a bit relaxed and I prefer to spend it with my parents.
(The article was published in the Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/small-screen/i-love-playing-shades-of-mahadev.html).