The biggest risk he took was to get into the entertainment industry but actor Mohnish Bahl, 55, is back once again on TV, after a hiatus of two years, in Hoshiyar… Sahi Waqt, Sahi Kadam, to be aired on &TV. He talks to Sangeeta Yadav about hosting a crime show and surviving in the industry
From Crime Patrol to Savdhaan India, the dramatisation of the real-life crimes on TV has grabbed the eye balls of the viewers and hence showmakers keep coming up with new shows. Where some simply narrate a tragic incident, others have delved into the reasoning of the crime and showcased how to fight back and be alert. &TV’s new show Hoshiyar… Sahi Waqt, Sahi Kadam hosted by Mohnish Bahl is on similar lines. But the actor tells you that the concept of this show is very different.
“It deals with the inception that leads up to the crime and its aversion. The protagonist in the show notices certain things that make him more aware and take steps which then avert the crime,” Bahl says.
With so much crime taking place on a daily basis, Bahl feels that there is no one solution that can curb the problem. But to bring a change at the grassroot. “One needs to give right education,” he says.
“The cause to the rising crime against women lies in the whole concept of differentiation between a girl or a boy child and parents considering that a girl is a burden who they marry her off by giving dowry. Growing up in this environment, a boy would feel that it is normal to look down upon women and not respect her. A girl, on the other hand, thinks it’s normal to be looked down upon and bear the suffering silently. But all this can change with education which can be formal or social education in the form of strict laws to be in place,” Bahl says.
The fact that people are now practicing their rights to complaint leading to rise in crime being reported is a step in the right direction. Bahl, like any father feels concerned and protected.
“Even if I had sons, I would be concerned. I am concerned about the rest of family members too. Being since I have daughters, there is edginess all the time. I want to know where they are and who are they with and what time they will be back home. I arrange somebody trustworthy person to escort them back home safely at night. It’s a normal thing with all fathers. It’s not the current social environment that made us like this. Even my parents were concerned like this when I was young. Fortunately with digital technology today, we have means at hand to stay connected,” Bahl tells you.
Having spent 35 years in the entertainment industry, Bahl feels that every single project and person has helped him to become the person and actor he is today.
“At that point in time, what I was doing was the best thing and I took it up. Now when I look back, I realised every movie someway helped me. Even those films that didn’t do well. It’s the amalgamation of all the experiences that were put together that has made me what I am,” he says.
For him getting into the industry was his life’s biggest risk.
“I didn’t know what is going to happen. The only years that I have not been insecure is the last two years when I actually took the much needed break. For 33 years I was always thinking whether I would get good work or not. Is it going to be appreciated? Actors have an unsteady job. I didn’t know if I would earn the next month and whether the income will be sufficient enough to run the house. What kept me going was the work that I was always getting. Even when I took a break, I got work. I never had a moment to sit back and think what will I do now? I have been blessed and lucky,” Bahl says.
But his comeback on TV had conditions — only quality work would do.
“Any project that I got had to have a certain standard. Whatever I have been associated with so far, it has left me with some credibility. I don’t like to disturb that credibility; I want to maintain and enhance it. That has been the motivation to keep working at my age. I have invested reasonably well to say no to a project that I don’t like. What matters to me is people should like the work I do,” he tells you.
Having worked in both weekly and daily soap format, Bahl is more comfortable with the weekly format.
“I personally don’t like when one has to work for 12- 15 hours a day. They creatively get exhausted by the end of two months. If we can go back to weekly format, the audience will also get a break and they will look forward to the show. The audience has become habitual of seeing the same thing again and again. Shows need to slow down. Creative things take time and it improves quality. There is immense talent in the TV industry and if one allows it to grow, we will be at par with the international shows,” Bahl opines.
Achieving success in TV and cinema are different and Bahl tells you that everybody needs to understand that nothing is permanent in life.
“An actor should not forget that when you find success in TV, it’s the character which is successful. You are known by your character and not by your own name. The moment you are off-air, you will have to start all over. In cinema, it’s the opposite case. On TV, you need to establish yourself especially when the show goes on for years. You can not confuse your success with the character’s success. Success, emulation and income are temporary. It’s there as long as the show lasts,” Bahl says.
(The article has also got published in Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/show-time/i-was-insecure-throughout-my-career.html).