As a child he made people fall in love with him with his endearing performance in ‘Just Mohabbat’ and later he made his big screen debut as a sweet and innocent guy in TAARZAN: THE WONDER CAR. Vatsal once again enthralled the audience but this time with a negative character in ‘Ek Haseena Thi’. Currently he is seen playing a ghost in India’s first ever horror web series ‘Gehraiyaan’ which released on Viu, the video on demand service of Vuclip.
And yet again Vatsal reunites with his ‘Ek Haseena Thi’ co-star Sanjeeda Sheikh in this horror series. Here in an exclusive interview the actor talks about his connection with TV, working with filmmaker Vikram Bhatt and how shooting for intimate scenes sometimes turns out to be funny.
Here's an excerpt from the interview:
How was the experience of working in web series ‘Gehraiyaan’? Tell us about your role?
‘Gehraiyaan’ is India’s first horror web series and the best part is that I am playing a ghost, a never seen before good looking ghost (laughs).
In past also we saw you playing a negative character in ‘Ek Haseena Thi’. What draws you towards such characters or are you trying to shed your chocolate boy image?
No I think these characters are getting drawn towards me (laughs) but honestly it’s very challenging and I am very happy that I am getting these kind of roles and with the kind of response that I am getting I feel that thoda bahut justify kar diya hai maine in characters ko.
Since ‘Gehraiyaan’ is all about super natural elements do you personally believe in them?
Honestly no, I do not believe in super natural elements.
So how were you convinced to become a part of this project?
These are fictional characters. I want to tell people that whatever we do is entertainment we are not trying to preach people anything. If people watch something they want to be entertained and personally as an actor I want to entertain people, main yahan kisi ko kuch sikhaane nahi aaya hoon. I am here to entertain and make sure that audience has a good time when you watch my work.
On screen what do you enjoy the most- wooing girls or scaring them?
I think scaring them is more fun. Pehle daraao phir patao (laughs)
How was your experience of working with ace director Vikram Bhatt?
It was an amazing experience. Vikram sir is a master in this genre and to be part of this production is an honour. People are liking this show and their response has been amazing and I am very happy with it.
Do you feel small screen has been luckier for you?
My first movie TAARZAN whenever it’s telecasted has always garnered very good TRPs. My first show ‘Just Mohabbat’ was super hit, ‘Ek Haseena Thi’ was also quite popular. So Yes I think there is some kind of connection with TV. (Smiles)
How different or similar is shooting for a TV series and a Web series?
As an actor you do the same thing, you act the same way, the dialogues are similar it’s just that the format is different.So as an actor I work equally hard for a web series as I would do for a film. I approach all the mediums in the same way.
Have you ever acquired any special training or skills to become an actor?
No I have not got any special training ever. Acting just happened I was supposed to be a Software Engineer, I got a degree in Mathematics but it just happened that I was at the right time at right place when got ‘Just Mohabbat’ and since then there has been no looking back.
So basically you never struggled to be where you are today?
As I said that I never wanted to become an actor and acting just happened, so yes I never struggled the way others have. But I am very happy to be in this profession as it’s very creative and gives opportunity to do new things, meet new people every day and face new challenges everyday. All this is very exciting and enriching.
When are we going to see you on silver screen again?
There are few things happening let’s see…but I want to do something interesting so I am being very picky and choosy. It’s not that I only want to do TV or films. Irrespective of the medium wherever I will get an interesting role I will do it because at the end of the day the audience will be the same.
Tell us about your qualities that make you have an edge over others.
Frankly speaking I don’t compare myself with anybody else. I compare myself with what I have been back and what I want to be in next few years down the line. Everybody is different. I am very honest to my job and I really respect what I do and I am thankful for all the opportunities that I got.
Tell us about the best part of being in this profession.
I love travelling and because of being in this profession I have travelled to so many places. This is not the usual desk job where you have to report to same place and work from 9 to 5. I love my job because it takes me to different places.
One film/ actor that inspired you to become a better actor.
There are two people who have been an inspiration as far as acting in concerned one is Ajay (Devgn) sir and the other is Salman (Khan) Bhai. These two are my idols and I always look up to them . They are very different actors and also they are very honest to their job.
According to you in a given project what is more important- its director, the script or its actors?
The most important part is the script and then comes the director because he is the captain of the ship.
One thing that you would like to imbibe from each of the three Khans- Aamir, SRK and Salman
I have done a few commercials with Shah Rukh sir so one thing that I would like to imbibe from him is his energy levels.I wish I had that energy. I don’t know Aamir bhai personally I have just met him on a couple of occasions but I love his dedication towards his craft and the kind of hard work that he puts in his work. From Salman Khan I would like to imbibe his confidence.
Do you feel that films/shows have the potential to bring in social change?
I have a very different thought process. When I go to a film I don’t go to get inspired or change myself . When I go to theatre I just want to be entertained I don’t want to learn from them, I don’t want to inspired, I don’t want to become a great human being after watching a film. When I am acting I want the audience to be entertained. I am nobody to preach anybody. For me cinema is entertainment that’s where it ends.
What’s your take on nepotism in this industry?
Somewhere down the line everybody is right, everybody is wrong I am no star kid but I got equal opportunity. At the end of the day I feel that whoever you are if you have the talent to become an actor you will go places and if you don’t have the talent then no matter whose son you are nothing can help you. But yes the opportunities for the star kids are plenty compared to anybody else.
As an actor how much difficult or easy it is to do an intimate scene on screen?
I am an actor so if the scene requires I am up for it. I am pretty much okay with it. There’s a huge intimate scene between me and Sanjeeda in ‘Gehraiyaan’ but both of us know each other for long time and we are such good friends. She is married and I am good friends with her husband as well. So when we are shooting such scenes we would laugh so hard that our director would say, “Guys we are shooting intimate scene we are not doing comic scene!'. See when you see such scenes on screen you feel it’s hot and steamy but agar aap shooting pe khade rahoge toh aapko lagega yeh kya kar rahe hai yeh log. The director was actually shouting and abusing saying that listen we are not making a comedy film and it is a horror show! So guys just concentrate please. It was quite funny.
How was it working with Sanjeeda all over again? The audiences love your jodi.
We have great chemistry more than that we have great understanding so it was great fun working with her all over again.
What are your upcoming projects?
At the moment there are 2-3 projects I am in talks with but I can’t reveal anything about them at the moment. Will talk about them at right time.