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April 08, 2015

Out of the Box: Avinash Sachdev

Text by Simone Louis. Photograph by Tejal Pandey. Conceptualised by Ashima Gupta. Styling by Chandni Bahri

Tele-heroes speak about their stints on the small screen that have garnered them adulation and acclaim

AVINASH SACHDEV
Claim to fame: Shlok Agnihotri in Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?… Ek Baar Phir

To act is a never-ending process — the more you do it, the more you learn,” the actor opines pensively. Avinash Sachdev knows what he’s talking about; having been on a multifarious journey of sorts to end up where he is today. The head-turner may be quite a well-known face on Indian television now, but this doesn’t necessarily establish that he’s a beloved one. Changing course from his role as Dev, the amorous, genial husband in popular soap Choti Bahu, he is currently the object of most people’s repugnance as he convincingly embodies the character of male chauvinist Shlok Agnihotri on the Star Plus show Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?… Ek Baar Phir. Apparently, even his own friends don’t approve of the part, owing to the fact that he stays irritable for a while after shoots. “This character has turned out to be the best I’ve played till date! But I have been getting a lot of criticism and negativity from people; not only because of the nature of my character, but also because I entered in the second season,” he explains.

The first season — Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? — was pulled off the air when lead actor Barun Sobti quit the show about two years ago. Once Sachdev replaced him as Shlok Agnihotri in the second season of the show, he was understandably subjected to comparisons…which have since turned into approval, after his unswervingly good performances. In fact, Sachdev apparently had no idea, when he started shooting for the show, that it was a sequel. He accepts that many of the original show’s fans may not be happy about the switch from Sobti to him, but opines, “Simple things don’t really attract me — this was a challenge, and I’m glad I went through with it.” He has every reason to be pleased, especially since the show has earned him great acclaim, a wider fan base and a slew of memorable scenes. About the latter, he claims, “I think my favourite out of all the scenes that I’ve done, so far, would be the one where my character finds out the reality of his mother and decides to go meet her. Geetanjali Tikekar is an outstanding actress, and somehow we just connected in this scene…it’s never happened to me before, with anyone.”

Born in Mumbai and brought up in Baroda, this only child dodged his parents’ desire to have their son become an IAS officer and chased his own dream. After winning a number of pageant titles in Gujarat, he shifted base to his birth city and began to make a mark with television commercials. Soon, he was winning hearts all over the country with shows like Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil, Khwaish, Choti Bahu and more…and his parents couldn’t be happier!

What makes the actor more interesting is his undying appetite for travel. Ask him about it and he’ll talk nineteen-to-the-dozen about his favourite places to explore and preferred modes of transport. Road trips are what he lives for, and the actor never fails to venture on one every two months. Next up is a voyage to Goa on his trusty motorcycle. As for his professional future, Sachdev is ready for anything that comes his way. The charismatic actor doesn’t want to stick all his eggs in one basket, and is open to experimenting with new avenues — he also has a passion for filmmaking and producing. He comments, “I don’t know what I’ll be doing after this show, since acting is not the only thing that I want to pursue — it depends on the opportunities I get. It would be nice to do something on the big screen, but I’d like to take on something different, rather than just be the typical hero. It could even be something as complex as playing a terrorist!”

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