Unpredictability is part and parcel of this industry and actor Sharad Malhotra has no qualms about accepting this truth. While the actor has been giving back-to-back hits with his last three shows, with his latest Kasam wrapping up, he is aware that it might be some time before he bags another good show. Talking about it, he says, "Absolutely! I can brag about the fact that over the years, I have had three hit shows back to back, but then, I know that tomorrow is a new day and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I might have to sit at home for a while. And that’s not easy, because you may have bought a house and you have instalments to pay. If you’ve done well for yourself and made investments, then that takes care of your instalments. You may also have your savings, but then you are eating out of that. So yes, it definitely gives me the jitters and there are times when I freak out. But then people tell me, ‘Arre tujhe kaam nahin milega, yeh kaise ho sakta hai? You will get something brilliant.’ But then, till that ‘brilliant’ comes to the table, there is always insecurity. Also, the kind of person that I am, I am never happy with just one project on hand. I want to make a choice between, say a thriller, drama or comedy. In that sense, I am choosy, but then right now, I know I can be that way. Earlier, I couldn’t, but today, I can wait for the right offer to come my way," he says.
In fact, the actor says that he would never recommend anyone to join showbiz. "It looks very rosy from outside. Unless you are sure and very passionate, you should not get into it. I have a lot of people who come and ask me about how they can get into acting; I advise them to first get some professional training, then mentally prepare for the highs and the lows, and only then take the step. I had no work for four years after my first show, which was a hit. That’s because I did a one-year course at New York Film Academy and when I returned, everything had changed here and the people I knew had moved jobs. It was tough. But some time later, I bagged my first film. It was an A-list film in terms of production values, shooting abroad and locations, and I thought to myself, ‘Yeh film chal gayi toh gadi chal jayegi’. I thought I would be the next Shah Rukh Khan. But the film didn’t click and that was a huge setback. I was in depression. I went in for counselling and also started meeting a lot of people, trying to feel better. I was in a relationship and that helped me a lot," he says.
However, ask him if he ever thought of switching careers at any point, and he says, "That thought came to my mind too. Just when I was thinking on those lines, the TV show Maharana Pratap came my way. That did well and within a month after that ended, I bagged Kasam, which also had a good run. Now, I’m waiting for something interesting to come my way. Along with TV, films are also on my mind."
And what about his personal life? Is marriage on his mind too? Or at least his mothers’?
"Well, I come from a typical Punjabi family and my mom has been after me for a while now. Every time we have a conversation, she says, ‘Bas ho gaya. I’m sending you some pictures. Have a look and let me know.’ I tell her it doesn’t work that way. I have changed a lot in the last 12 years after I moved from Kolkata to Mumbai. I have lived by myself. I’m so independent now, travelling and working. I’m sure a lot of people will relate to this… after you have been on your own for long, when someone starts intruding into your space, you tend to push that person out. But I know that I have to change. I tell myself that at some point, I will get married and there will be somebody with me in the same space, in the same house. My friends have been after me too, to take the plunge. They say that they want to celebrate and get new clothes (laughs). I tell them I’ll do it not for their reasons, but when I think the time is right," he says.
The actor is open to having an arranged marriage, in fact, the idea excites him. "Yes, why not? The whole process of getting to know someone post marriage is so intriguing," he says.
However, he loves being single at the moment. "I have been off relationships after a decade. People have been telling me that I am looking relaxed, fresh and younger. Life is different. I now have a lot of ‘me’ time and I am enjoying that. Recently, I even went on a solo trip abroad to discover the real me. It was amazing," he says.