He’s still television’s blue eyed boy. 10 years in to the business and Hussein Kuwajerwala still rules the idiot box. Good looking, talented actor, great dancer – all that he is, yet what sets him apart is his humility and boy-next-door charm. Little wonder then he’s perhaps the only star contestant who’s always received a thumbs up from the celebrities coming on the sets of 9X’s Yeh Hai Jalwa. And not to forget Bipasha Basu’s confession on camera that she has always liked Hussein.
We met him and his team of ‘aspiring stars’ on the day of his ‘hip-hop meets bhangra meets lavni’ performance. Looking extremely fetching in a military green shirt and jeans, his cool specs only added to his charm. “Majboori mein pehne hain yeh glasses,” he says when we compliment him, adding, “I have an eye infection.” Tell him he’s been great on the dance floor and he simply smiles. “I have always enjoyed dancing. I took up Yeh Hai Jalwa because of the concept. There are so many reality shows, but this one gave me an opportunity to dance with normal people, it’s not about me, my clothes, my steps or my performance, it’s not about me taking centre-stage, it’s about my team and how well we all co-ordinate and present the performance”, quips the heart throb.
But at the end of the day isn’t he who’s drawing the viewers to the small screen? “Well, that’s true. But the onus is on everyone to work as a team. It’s difficult for daily soap actors to find time for rehearsals especially after some 12-13 hours of shooting, and above all, to rehearse at night is killing. You need stamina and energy to pull off those rehearsals and at that time when your body is at its lowest ebb, feeling enthusiastic is the last thing on your mind. Fortunately, I love dancing and it peps me up to see my team working so hard, for them I have to pull up my socks and deliver.”
He recently had a kahani mein twist in the long running afternoon soap Kumkum Ek Pyara Sa Bandhan where both he and Juhi Parmar have gone for a younger look and a wardrobe makeover. “Yes, we all are desperately trying to look younger. It’s good fun though. When you are part of a long running show, you need something or the other to keep you going. And Kumkum has been a special show of my career.”
Looking back, how’s life? “It’s great. I feel content, blessed. I guess I was at the right place at the right time and have never shied away from working hard. When I began my career I certainly didn’t think I would come this far. Popularity, fame and money – I have got more than I bargained for. My wife keeps me posted about my fans who notice even the color of my socks and shoes. When I look at my house, my car, the little things I can afford to buy, I feel blessed. Because one thing I am sure of is my ability to work hard, not get laidback or complacent about things.”
Films? “Yes, they are on my agenda and today there is nothing like small or big screen. It’s all one industry. Every film star comes on our TV shows to promote their films. Just like I have never planned my career moves, I’m sure my film too will be a complete surprise to me and the viewers. I will never leave one for the other. I’m sure if I was a film star, I would have still experimented with a TV show because today it’s all one big thing,” he signs off.
Author: Suhaani Rai