Eijaz Khan, who is back on the small screen, wonders why TV actors have no say in the quality of shows
Once the blue-eyed boy of Ekta Kapoor, Eijaz Khan didn't look a bit like himself when we met him at the launch of his show, Yeh Moh Moh Ke Dhaage. At 41, it seems life is catching up with him.
Excerpts from an interview.
You were keen on pursuing a career in Bollywood and didn't want to be on TV shows, but you are back on the small screen. What changed?
In TV, you are at the mercy of a lot of people. I don't mean that as an actor I want to be in total control, but at least, I need a minimum guarantee of quality control, something in which a TV actor has no say. An actor should take credit when the show works as it is a big part of his job. People don't have time in television to indulge in excellence. For my new show, the makers altered my character several times and I'm grateful to them.
Do you feel restricted as an actor?
It depends on the kind of roles that come my way. I have never felt restricted. I was lucky that I walked into Balaji post my engineering stint. Without any experience, I was signed for three years, thanks to Ekta. They had faith in me though I was a bad actor.
A still from Yeh Moh Moh Ke Dhaage
What made you think you were a bad actor?
An actor should know the basics of acting. I had neither brains nor the talent. I knew nothing.
Why did you not work with Ekta Kapoor again?
I don't know. There was no fall out as such. I got calls for Bade Acche Lagte Hain and Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, but I was busy with other stuff.
What's your biggest regret in life?
I have just one regret in life. I hurt this person by cheating on her. I shouldn't have done it.
What about marriage plans?
It's a big question for me. I think it is a beautiful thing people believe and indulge in, but I don't believe in it. You fall in and out of love so many times; it's too much to deal with.
It's often noticed, most senior actors are paired with actresses half their age. Does it get awkward?
It has its pros and cons. Their innocence, enthusiasm and faith in life is beautiful. At times, it rubs off on you, so it is good. They haven't become cynics yet. The cons would be lack of work experience. Everyone thinks they can be actors, but success comes only to a few. In my first two shows, I couldn't stop shaking my head in every scene. I was having fun, I didn't know what I was doing. As for being awkward, it's a role and at the end of the day you follow the script.
Do you believe people in the showbiz industry are fake?
Actors have fragile egos. Every day they are putting themselves out to be judged. Half their life goes in convincing themselves that they are good at what they do; and that takes a lot out of a person. So, there is nothing wrong in being fake. I have a few friends who are genuine and eventually you find your tribe.
Have you considered exploring the web space?
Yes, I just hope someone casts me. My brother, Imran, is an ad filmmaker; he is blunt and tells me he will never cast me. The moment your face comes in front of the camera it carries the baggage of television. For the digital space, they need a fresh look, but TV doesn't mind being jaded. I am waiting to meet the right people.
In your interviews, you've said that you battled depression. Have you overcome it?
I don't know if I am out of it or not. But working is my way of escaping. It's not healthy, but that's why we are actors.
Do you suffer from insomnia?
I want to blame it on sleep apnea. But I think any physical ailment is the manifestation of the mental condition. I am trying to get to the core of it to find the real solution, but you are scared to what it may lead to.
What is happening on the film front?
I have not taken up any films due to this show. For now, it is my moral responsibility to make it work.
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