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April 08, 2015

Out of the Box: Shakti Arora

Text by Huzan Tata. 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

SHAKTI ARORA
Claim to fame: Ranveer Vaghela in Meri Aashiqui Tumse Hi

With all the saas-bahu dramas that dominate Indian TV screens, it’s very rare that men have a chance to fully display their acting talents. But for 28-year-old Shakti Arora, the opportunity came with the romantic drama that’s currently raking in the TRPs, Colors’ Meri Aashiqui Tumse Hi — a daily soap in which he plays the lead protagonist, Ranveer Vaghela.

Arora, who holds degrees in commerce and travel and tourism, first faced the camera when he was a teenager. “I didn’t know acting at all. They just cast me because they found me cute!” That DD channel pilot may not have taken off, but Arora’s love for acting soared. “I never had the inclination to be a good actor — I was always attracted by the glamour. But when I realised that glamour is not the only thing you need, I started concentrating on acting. And then I got everything else I wanted.”

While scouting for offers, Arora, the grandson of veteran Hindi film actor Chandrashekhar, dabbled in various odd jobs — he sold mobile phones and gift articles, worked at a travel agency and even joined a call centre. But the small screen soon beckoned, and through the years, he’s featured in several fiction and non-fiction shows including Balaji Telefilms’ Tere Liye and Hats Off Productions’ Baa Bahoo Aur Baby. Arora however, admits it’s his current alter ego, Ranveer Vaghela, who has catapulted him to small screen stardom. “Actually it’s RV (his current moniker in the show), not even Ranveer. Apart from him, one of my favourites is Onir from Pavitra Rishta, because that character gave me a lot of fame and popularity.”

For now, Arora, who is in a relationship with TV actress Neha Saxena, is enjoying his stint as the romantic hero on prime time. And like many others in his field, he hopes to someday make the move to the 70 mm screen. “I’ve always wanted to get into films and if I get a good opportunity I’ll definitely grab it.”
Ask him about how he handles girls swooning over him and the actor laughs shyly, “I definitely enjoy it, but I feel so embarrassed. I don’t fumble when I’m delivering lines in front of the camera, but when girls praise me I’m so flattered that I fumble and am not able to even say thank you!” What’s the best compliment he’s received? “A girl has a tattoo of my name. That says it all.”

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