If looks could kill, says Bindi Shah, the handsome Vivian Dsena with his molten chocolate-brown eyes, beatific smile and cheery persona would be courting law cases every day of his swelling television career!
Everyone who knew that I was on my way to meet with this head-turner of the small screen, almost screamed with jealousy. I agree that he is quite a looker, but what is with all the girls!? Remember, he is taken!
Somehow I seemed to have under-estimated the extent of his dashing looks and friendly manner. A few minutes into my interview with Vivian Dsena, aka RK of ‘Madhubala – Ek Ishq, Ek Junoon’, and I find that he is a complete package of attraction – relaxed manner, dashing personality, cheeky but cultured talker - that makes him even more affable than his stumping good looks.
From a Gladrags model to playing a successful super-star on the small screen, pun intended…
I was a model, never thought of becoming an actor; just went with the flow and I thought this was my destiny so I might as well follow it. I started off my television career with ‘Kasam Se’ playing Ram Kapoor’s son. After that I did a show on Colors, it was an afternoon slot – called ‘Ganga’. Then I did the Vampire show ‘Pyaar Kii Ye Ek Kahaani’ on Star One and now ‘Madhubala...’ I gave a random audition at Balaji Telefilms. After that they called me for the lead role in some show, which got scrapped. But I did play Vicky Walia in ‘Kasam Se’ and I’ve been here ever since.
If you weren’t contemplating acting, how did you end up at the auditions?
I was actually not going for that audition – a friend of mine was going for it and he dragged me there with him. In fact, he never made it to the audition; he dropped me at Sankraman and left. I have him to thank for my budding career, he left me stranded at that audition and today I am a TV actor!
You are also the most searched profile on FB. How does it feel to be a statistic… ?
Am I? (looks surprised) Honestly, I don’t know that. Trust me, I don’t go on FB and I didn’t know this. I just know that one of the fan pages have got like, lakhs and lakhs of fans.
I’m not convinced. With smart-phones and tablets and FB and Twitter, how can one not follow social-networking sites unless he was technology-challenged? On second thoughts, maybe not even then…
Technology-wise I’m very updated with my gadgets. In fact, I think it’s my gadgets that are keeping me too busy.
The thing is, my shooting hours don’t permit me, and then I have a lot of work on my phone and my iPad. And then sometimes I just want to relax and play my PlayStation portable.
So you are a techie, gadgety kind of guy?
Very much. I carry all my gadgets in my bag, from my iPad to a laptop to a PlayStation and of course my phone. In fact, I can pull apart and fix a computer too. I don’t have a computer hardware engineer degree, but I can do everything that a hardware engineer does. I learnt it all at a computer hardware shop, a friend of mine owned back home in Ujjain.
Do you miss the ‘back-home’ feeling? What have been your biggest losses and gains along the way?
I think all I have lost is that I don’t spend the same amount of time with my family as I did before. But that follows with the kind of work profile I have, the kind of job I have. It pinches you at times that you don’t have enough time with family, you are working a lot. But then you win some, you lose some.
My best gain till date is ‘Madhubala…’ But more than that, I am thankful for a very beautiful wife who has been my backbone. She supported me in the days when actually no one had faith in me as an actor. Vahbbiz and I met on the sets of ‘Pyaar Kii Ye Ek Kahaani’ and that is when the wonderful phase of my life started. She is a very understanding wife and she knows my job. She handles things, and most importantly she knows how to handle me which can be quite a difficult task, I believe.
You don’t seem like a very difficult guy; in fact you seem pretty relaxed.
My aura is relaxed, my body is not (winks)!
I’m quite a crazy blend… fun elements, boring elements; I have a lot of shades in real life too. I’m very boring at times, very quiet at times, very fun-loving at times, very serious and way immature than my wife.
Speaking of which, you tied the knot too soon in terms of your age and career compared to the norm these days…
I feel marriage doesn’t have any connection with being old or young.
But younger people don’t want to tie the knot soon…
I would like to correct that sentence – people don’t find the right person. Who doesn’t want to be married? Maybe there are a few people who want to chill all their life, be single all their life, but majority of the people want to get married. I think you should find the correct partner, the soul-mate you should get married to. God has been kind, I found one and got married instantly. You get to know when it has arrived... I know it’s a very big decision when you are 24 and you have to get married. It’s the perception people live with ki ‘yaar tu chaubees saal ka hai aur shaadi kar raha hai… you’ve bloody lost it, you don’t wanna enjoy your life?’
I haven’t understood the concept of enjoying your life being single. You can enjoy your life with a partner and I think you enjoy it more with a partner. I think you would never want to go to a beautiful island by yourself, sitting on a beach all alone. I would never do that. If you have a partner it’s more fun; I’m quite a family man that way.
And does that come in the way of you becoming a bigger star?
Firstly, I don’t consider myself to be a star. I am an actor and with a very definite approach towards his audience for entertainment. I have to learn a lot, this is just the beginning.
God’s been kind to me. Honestly, I never thought that I could act. It started off as an internship, turned into an experience and finally has become my passion now. Total on the job training.
Secondly, my goal is not to become a star – that is in fact the audiences’ approach towards you… ‘Okay, this guy is a star’. To me, I don’t know what a star means. I don’t know whether I will reach there, especially since I don’t have a goal that says that by 2015 I should be a film star.
But you must be looking at films too, right?
Of course, if you ask any actor, everyone wants to be seen on the 70 mm screen. And eventually an actor works for that. But I don’t have any specific plans. I believe a lot in destiny. And I think someone, somewhere in this film industry will like my face and acting skills and might just cast me in one of the upcoming films.
…Playing semi negative characters, the brooding guy, as you have done in most of your shows?
I am going to reveal a secret – I play the angriest man on TV but I have a lot of control over my anger. No matter how pissed I am I never get angry or worked up. Unless there is a situation which has gone out of my hand and I really lose it, which happens like, once in seven years. I think the last time I got angry was in class XI which was about 8-9 years back.
People - the makers - think that I look good when I’m angry. The world is full of contradictions and no matter how normal we behave, people like abnormal things.
Of all the characters you have played, which one do you most relate to?
I have no relation to any of my characters, the moment it’s pack-up I’m my own person again. But I wish I could be a vampire, help a lot of people, go flying all over the place.
So you do believe in the supernatural?
Never seen any vampires walking around in Filmcity of late, so can’t say anything first-hand (note the smart-mouth). I don’t know why people don’t believe in the supernatural but my personal view is that they exist. They say there is a parallel world to everything that is made in this universe. We are sitting here and for all we know there might be two people walking around here listening to us! I feel that they would not harm you unless you force them to or you go out of your way to irritate them.
‘Madhubala…’ is a successful show. How much credit would you share with your very popular and successful co-star - Drashti?
The first credit should go to Mr. Saurabh Tiwari and Abhinav Shukla for producing a show like this on television and at such a larger than life scale of production, which is not practically possible on television because of budget constraints. They have spent all the money they possibly could on the show, they have maintained the quality and they have made lives. They made me popular, they made Drashti popular, they made Bittuji popular although he was already famous, Rakhi’s comeback on television was with ‘Madhubala…’
I would give credit to not only Drashti but all my co-actors and technicians and most importantly I would like to thank the light-men and the spot-boys who work harder than us. See, I can come and chill in my room, these guys are working continuously; they are lifting lights, stands, properties. They come one hour before me and leave an hour after me.
The world of television is women-centric - more roles, more characters, more screen space for women. Do the men need to fight for their own space? In my most popular shows I’ve never asked for space, it’s just been given to me because the character worked out that way. ‘Pyaar Kii Ye Ek Kahaani’ was a story about an orphan girl who comes to Dehradun to study at college and there, lost in the woods, she meets Abhay Raichand the Vampire. But I don’t know eventually the show turned out to be about Abhay Raichand.
‘Madhubala…’ – the name itself says it, is about a girl who is born in the film industry and RK never had such a big role, but eventually with God’s grace, it turned out to be a lot more about RK. When I started shooting I had thought that once the show was set I would shoot for about 21 days a month, but now we are shooting for 31 days and they still need extra time!
I was lucky that I got such a big role but an actor really needs to make the best of what he is given and again, your destiny comes into the picture.
Being a heartthrob and not being known by your own name. How does that feel?
I don’t feel insecure or bad about it because the real fact is that Vivian Dsena is RK. There is no other RK. Till then I was Abhay Raichand. I think it’s a very big high for an actor to be known by his character name because there are hundreds of television shows and people don’t even know what you do on the show. And people come and talk to me and ask, ‘Ab aapne aisa kiya toh kya hoga?’
And I’m proud that I am convincing enough as RK the superstar in an industry which was established by RK!
He says that with a total lack of modesty.
And I totally like that ?
This article first appeared in December 2013 issue of Cine Blitz magazine