How did things change after the success of the first season of Aarya?
I did receive a flood of compliments. I was not on any social media platform till a month after the show came out. And it was actually Sushmita Sen who encouraged me. She was like everyone’s talking about you and your performance. She introduced me to Instagram and my first post was about her and she kind of welcomed me on social media. And as for the offers, I didn’t even know how to see pending requests, messages and all. And for the offers, I have been getting calls for different kinds of assignments and it has increased after Aarya. I’ve also done cop parts earlier and in Aarya too, so unless it’s a really meaty part, I may not be interested.
What was your family’s review of your performance in the series?
My daughter and my wife are very critical of my work but their organic reaction to Aarya was great. And how the world reacted to ACP Khan and what the critics had to say in the reviews, made them extremely happy. And they were happy that even though it was another cop role, it was played differently. And it’s the closest to how I would be in real life too.
Beyond the camera, describe your dynamic with Sushmita Sen…
It’s lovely. There’s a lot of time you spend together on set, you’re also chit chatting. And then outdoors, you’re also partying together. So you get to know each other a lot more. I’ve seen her as an actor, as a star, a diva. And then I kind of try to imbibe some of that, at times I just wish that I could speak that well. And, you know, that well in terms of control over language, voice, as well as the content. And I’ve seen her as a mother. She’s very nice with her two kids and patient too. And I think subconsciously, some of those qualities I’ve imbibed as a father, trying to be a little more patient with my child.
She faced a health scare during the shoot, but was back in no time… how would you describe her resilience?
When she faced the health care, we were all there and very scared. It was the beginning of what would have been our last schedule, so we were all excited and none of us knew what had happened. Probably even she didn’t even know how serious it was. After a couple of days of postponement, we all returned. And it’s only when Sushmita put it out on her Instagram, that we came to know, apart from a couple of production people, none of us knew what had exactly happened. I messaged her on that day, hoping not to disturb her, but she replied the soonest, saying ‘Mr. Khan, thank you so much’. And then I learned this.
We were worried about her, but her resilience came through. She has a very big heart. I think she was still in the hospital when she wanted to go back to the set and start shooting. But she was advised to rest. But in just a month or a month and a half later, she was shooting the toughest scenes in dead summer in Rajasthan under the sun, most of which you’re going to see now in Antim Vaar. So yeah, hats off to that resilience. And you can tell it’s not just this incident, the way she’s led her life, right from the pageants that she won to being a single mother to now, you can see that she’s all heart and she’s very resilient and all giving. Sushmita is actually a role model and there’s a lot to learn from her.
Shed some light on the friendships formed on the sets of Aarya?
I’m inherently a very introverted kind of a person. But yes, you do share bonds with people. I know I can call and meet Sikandar Kher, Manish Choudhury. I know if I need some advice or just want to chit chat, I can contact Sushmita. And of course, there are other actors too. Even Ram Madhvani, we are friends for life, we have each other’s back. That wouldn’t necessarily mean that we kind of stay regularly in touch.
How would you describe your journey with Aarya?
Aarya was a whole new world in terms of filmmaking. The one word that I really kind of learned was surrender. I learned to surrender to whatever method or whatever my director is saying. And since then, I’ve been applying that to my performances. Obviously Aarya has gotten me a lot more recognition, especially within the fraternity, so things do get a little easier. And of course, with every season, even though you’re playing the same character, a lot has changed. inter-relationships have changed. Having done three seasons has been an evolving process of challenges and learnings. And hopefully, all this learning that I’m doing will be of use in my other project.
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