‘Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain’ has remained one of the most popular shows on Indian television right from its start back in 2015. The characters of Vibhuti Ahuti Narayan Mishra, Manmohan Tiwari, Anita Mishra and Angoori Tiwari have become favourites with the audience. The role of Manmohan Tiwari is essayed by NSD alumnus Rohitashv Gour. Murtaza Ali Khan interviews him:
Tell us about your early struggle and your training at NSD.
I hail from Himachal Pradesh. My childhood was spent in Shimla where I used to do theatre as an amateur during which I also did a play called Agra Bazar, directed by Habib Tanvir. Then I got a chance to attend an NSD workshop after which I got inspired to apply to the NSD. I really consider myself lucky that I got selected in the first go itself. That’s how my journey as a professional actor started. My time at NSD is really something that I cherish. Hailing from a small town it was only at NSD that I truly learnt to appreciate the world of drama. I got introduced to the likes of Shakespeare,Ibsen, and other greats. I also got to learn modern Indian drama, classical Indian drama, and what not. I also learnt to appreciate acting as a serious discipline.
How do you look at the success of Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain?
When the Sans Bahu serials had started on television, it used to be great fun watching them. But then gradually things started to get a little monotonous. As a result, people started demanding something different. I feel that Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain succeeded infilling up the void. The audiences are able to connect with the story at so many levels and perhaps that’s the reason why it is still going strong. I think a lot of credit should also go to the authenticity of the language and dialect that’s used by the characters. For example, my character speaks pure Bundelkhandi language and we don’t compromise on the language for the sake of easy understanding. The viewers not only watch it but also fully understand and appreciate the dialogues. And, above all, we try to avoid being preachy at all costs. It is all about being playful and naughty without being vulgar.
How do you ensure that you don’t end up crossing the line?
A lot of the times during rehearsals, we are able to figure it out together with the writers. Whenever we feel there is a need for it, we try and tone down the dialogues so that the essence is conveyed with outgoing overboard. At the end of the day it is television. Nowadays the Web gives us the luxury but television is still all about family viewing and so we have to keep that in mind. I think that’s what makes Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain unique.
Tell us about your acting process.
Well, the process needs to be altered depending on the director. For me it is very important to understand the director’s vision.There are some directors who want the actors to play to the gallery. While working with such directors, I have to be more spontaneous. Then there are other directors who want you to work on the character. They also give you the time to prepare and would regularly discuss the progress with you. So it is my job as an actor to give the director what he/she is looking for.
What was it like to work with Rajkumar Hirani on PK, 3 Idiots and Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.?
I have been working with Rajkumar Hirani right from the days of Doordarshan. I absolutely love his style of storytelling. It’s so straightforward and effective. He too believes in spontaneous acting. Every time he gives me a character he just asks me to hold on to the first idea that comes to me. That’s what he expects me to play. I feel that sometimes over-analysis can make an actor more conscious while acting and that can often prove to be counter-intuitive.