Swayed by concept

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Feb 2019 10:57:50


By Aasawari Shenolikar

“The best thing about Bhakarwadi is that I got to eat the tangy snack to my heart’s fill,” says the super talented, rolly polly Deven Bhojani, whose resolution for every New Year is losing weight. Grinning broadly, he adds, “I love farsaan. And I can snack on it at any time of the day.” Bhakarwadi, by the way, is the new serial that will air on weekdays on SAB TV from February 11, at 8 pm.

Deven, who plays a prominent part in this family entertainer, was interacting with The Hitavada. He returns to the small screen after a long hiatus and the comeback vehicle is about two families in Pune - a Marathi and a Gujarati, both of whom are in the Bhakarwadi business.

Quiz him on the long absence from TV and Deven says that it was an intentional break. “At one point of time I found that most shows were toeing the same line. There was nothing exciting or challenging. So I gave all my attention to direction.”

Deven, as most are aware, is a man of many talents. He writes, he has been an anchor, he acts and also directs. So of the whole repertoire what is that he loves to dabble inthe most?

“Whatever is challenging is what I love doing,” he says. And the reason for him being a part of Bhakarwadi was, not just about guzzling the snack, but because his character Anna has many layers. “Just when I found that the actor in me was dying, Hatsoff Productions came up with this show. And as Aatish Kapadia narrated the script, I knew I had to be a part of the show.”

Commenting on his character, Deven says that Anna is a very rich character, with the typical Puneri attitude and the witty sarcasm that Puneites are known for. To get the right nuances, Deven watched a lot of videos and worked a lot so that he could get right the proud, cultural Puneri guy who is disciplined, witty and firm.

For this role, Deven immediately thought of Barve Kaka, his Marathi neighbor and mulled on his mannerisms, which he says helped a lot in finally bringing alive Anna’s character.
Deven is happy to be associated with Hatsoff Productions. Since the three of them, J D Majethia, Aatish Kapadia and Deven Bhojani have been part of many successful shows in the past, they share a great rapport. “Our working relationship is fantastic. If I feel something is not right, I can speak freely, we argue and we fight and we talk to put our points across. And this is taken very sportingly. Honesty is what has helped us groom to become better in the work that we do.”

Deven has made us roll on the floor with many of his previous acts. He was also a part of comedy shows on the telly. But he feels that tickling the funny bone is serious business. “It appears easy, but it is tough. Whenever I accept any assignment, funny or not, I do a lot of research and get into the nitti gritties of the character. I sit down with the writer and the creators and get into detailed discussions that help me sketch the character.”

So if it’s a role that requires him to be funny, does he improvise or sticks to the written word. “Most of the writers do not mind if the actors improvise a bit. But if I talk of Aatish Kapadia, there is such a lot of rhythm in his writing that if we improvise, the connection might break.”

Deven makes his characters relatable because he draws his inspiration from real life, by observing people. “I am like a sponge, I soak in all that is happening around me. Subconsciously this has become a habit and whenever required I can delve into the data stored in my mind’s computer and come up with gems that help me sketch my character in a more authentic way.”

Deven, as an actor has actively dabbled in films, theatre and TV. What has he gleaned from each medium? “In theatre, you have to be disciplined and honest to your work. Because one rehearses for nearly three months, one gets into the skin of the character. This is not possible in TV or films, where sometimes you are given your dialogues on the same day as the shoot is. The live response in theatre is mind blowing. TV and films lacks this. But theatre, though creatively very satisfying, has limited viewership. TV, on the other hand has worldwide viewership and makes you a household name in no time at all. But if you are out of sight on TV, you are out of the audiences’ mind. Retention power of any actor is greater in films.”

Coming back to Bhakarwadi, Deven feels that the audience is going to love this show, its concept, the characters, the relationships portrayed, the humour, the drama, the emotions and most importantly, the newness of the show. “It’s pure entertainment,” he says chuckling, and popping a bhakarwadi.