It was Mona Singh’s simplicity that attracted me to her – Karan Oberoi


Karan Oberoi, the actor-singer-producer, tells Jyothi Venkatesh that he is very fussy actor…
Why did you decide to produce the show Haadsa?
I was looking at my debut in Bollywood if not as an actor, at least as a producer. I wanted to learn the ropes of production from the best. ‘Fireworks’ is the best as far as producing thrillers is concerned. It was only when the telecast date of the show was declared that I announced that I am the co-producer of the show.
Is making money your main motive as a producer?
I have always believed that money is just a means to an end. If only I wanted to make money, I would not have quit television when I was making the maximum money. I have acted in just five TV serials in a span of ten years, including Jassi Jaisi Koyi Nahin.
Did you choose a better role in the show since you also produce it?
If you watch the serial, you will realize that I am not playing the main role in the serial. It is Mohan Kapoor who is playing the main role whereas I am there in the show just to pad it up. I did not cast myself in the show to save costs. It was the channel which requested that I should also act in the show besides producing it. I did not actually want to act in Haadsa because I thought that acting would be doubly exhausting for me since I am keen on producing other serials, too, besides Haadsa.
In what way is Haadsa different from the other thrillers?
Till date, every thriller has been looked at from the men’s angle whereas the USP of Haadsa is that it is a different thriller with the accent on family and emotions.
What kinds of shows do you want to produce for television?
I will be producing two more shows besides Haadsa. One of them will be a semi reality musical show while the other will be a fiction, though not a saas bahu soap.
Do you have plans to produce films, too?
I have quietly gone ahead and produced a film with mostly actors from the national school of drama. I have not cast myself or Mona in the film which has cost me around two and half crores because the script did not justify our presence. If my film needs a particular actor, I will make it a point to cast that actor.
How was the experience of anchoring Antakshari?
I took over Antakshari as anchor when Annu Kapoor left it. The best thing about Antakshari was that I got an opportunity to showcase my skill as a dancer and singer with it.
To what extent, were you given freedom as an anchor to host the show?
I used to open all the episodes with my dance. Creatively, I was given a lot of freedom. I could talk about various issues in the show. Had I been stifled by the channel or the producer, I would not have continued hosting 26 episodes for kids and 26 for adults.
Did you quit anchoring the show because of rumors linking you with your co-anchor Himani?
Himani is just like a little kid. In fact she used to treat me like an elder brother. I had no choice but to quit the show because I had become very busty with all my live stage shows with my music group Band of Boys. Also, I wanted to establish my own production house with a thriller like Haadsa.
Why did you take up only five serials in ten years?
I am a very fussy actor. My first serial was Sanjay Upadhyay’s Saaya where Manasi Joshi and Achint Kaur were my co-actors. I also did Shivam Nair’s Ankahee, Lekh Tandon’s Milan, Swabhimaan and last but not the least Jassi Jaisi Koyi Nahin with Mona Singh.
What attracted you to Mona in the first place?
I met Mona for the first time when I had gone to Mauritius to shoot for Jassi Jaisi Koyi Nahin as a guest in one episode with her. It was her simplicity which attracted me to her in the first place. With Mona, it was not a case of love at first sight for me. I fell for her six months after I had done a guest appearance, when I was once again asked by producers Deeya and Tony Singh to play the role of Raghav in Jassi Jaisi Koyi Nahin.
How would you rate Mona as an actress and a human being?
It was a superb experience to act with Mona because she used to make me cry even when she used to give me my cues. Mona is a damn good actor. Like me, she, too, has the uncanny ability to laugh. Like me, Mona, too, is aggressive when it comes to work. I tell her to see the script and then agree to do a film, if she is convinced that she will fit the role to a T.
How do you get the time to be still a part of The Band of Boys?
I am happy being a part of The Band of Boys, in spite of the fact that we were actually even written off at a press conference because people were skeptical initially when we formed the band because it was a new concept at that point of time.
Did you have bad blood with Sudanshu Pandey when he left the band?
Sudanshu left us in the very first year when we had formed the band but there was no bitterness or bad blood and we are still friends. In fact all of us did one more film with Sudanshu and Bhumika Puri, besides Kis Kiss Ko.
Kis Kiss Ko was not a proper launch for you?
Kis Kiss Ko was not a Bollywood kind of launch for me as a hero. It was more of an autobiographical film. Whether it is a film or TV, the medium does not matter to me as an actor at all since I believe in doing any scene with the same intensity whether it is on TV or films.
Tell me about your latest music album Ghanta?
Ghanta is a single album. I have written the song with a lot of vengeance. It has a lot of masti because we do not take life seriously since we are a fun band. It is our fourth album. The earlier three albums were Yeh Bhi Woh Bhi, Gori and Gaane Bhi Do Yaaro. It is only when you come up with a private basic album that you can express what you feel because you make it for yourself, not for someone else. Anything which is anti-establishment will look like a gaali but Ghanta is not meant to be a gaali.
What is the message that you want to drive home through Ghanta?
I am a simple small town boy. Tomorrow even if I become a big super star like say Shah Rukh Khan, I will still retain the same values. With this album, I am taking a shot at corruption of values in our country. It is sad that people are not real any more. Ghanta is an attempt to laugh at ourselves as well as the world in a tongue in cheek style.
Do you plan to try your hand at singing or composing for films either singly or as a band?
We have already tried our hand at composing the title track of the film Dubai Returned. All four of us have sung the track.

-Jyothi Venkatesh (SAMPURN)

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