AN INTERVIEW OH HITEN
It€™s said that cunning has a sugary tongue, and so does professionalism. And it has the unperturbed Hiten Tejwani, who said it aloud, emphasizing on his state of mind. Now, here€™s a tough nut for a journalist. He refuses to spice up your copy with banter from the sets. The actor insists his routine is as simple as oscillating between home and work and nothing more€ how boring? Yet, he greets all with a disarming smile, his friendly is writ large on his pleasantries, probably it€™s this affable quality of his that makes him so popular both on and off screen.
He indeed has an enviable career graph- Hiten is one of the most popular guys on television today. One of Ekta Kapoor€™s favourite stars, Hiten is currently shooting three shifts daily, which gives him less than four hours of sleep. But he€™s not really bothered. This is what he always dreamt of- unprecedented fame, popularity, big bucks and of course, one of the most talented women on television, Gauri Pradhan, as his life partner.
Hiten and Gauri make a remarkable couple, but there are some who insist that the wife€™s domineering nature is often a matter of concern for Hiten. Sources allege that he never really says anything to her. Some of his colleagues have maintained cattily that Gauri never lets him out of her sight. She€™s extremely dominating and poor Hiten just doesn€™t know how to handle her at times. But on screen, they shine and at the end of the day, that€™s what really matters.
As I enter the dingy of the massive Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi sets, I find Hiten chatting with his crew. It does not show in his attitude that he has been on the set for three hours without a single shot taken so far. He smiles and has the €œit happens€ look on his face. Hiten Tejwani has long shared the image of being Ekta Kapoor€™s blue-eyed boy, but quiz him on that and he shoots back €œAm I?€
Well, then how does he explain his presence in all her favourite serials- Kyunki, Kesar and Kavyanjali? Unlike most Balaji actors who have an extreme say on their mentor Ekta, Hiten insists that his relationship is strictly professional. €œOn the sets, one must always remember that she is the producer. And well, she has the vision.€ What about the special treatment that he gets from her? Hiten shrugs off that one, €œShe has been the same with me since the beginning. That€™s the best part about her. Her attitude will not change, with a hit or a flop.€
In defence of Ekta, Hiten adds, €œThere are so many people around her, who tell her so many things, but she does what she thinks is right. She doesn€™t get influenced.€ Hiten shrugs off the chamcha image, stating that he relates to Ekta just like any other professional. But the chemistry they share is convivial. Incidentally, it was Ekta who once told Gauri to not go by Hiten€™s €˜sweet€™ looks €œbecause he€™s different when you are not around.€ Isn€™t that true? Hiten laughs at that one, €œIt was just a joke. Nothing serious really.€
Hiten and Gauri are one of the most well received couples in the television industry. Yep€ opposites attract! To set the record straight, they first met when they were shooting for a soap commercial and that was much before Kutumb. Cupid struck when they were in locked horns as Pratham and Gauri. And after that we€™ve seen them everywhere- Kyunki, Naam Gum Jayega, various ads and even on stage shows. The pair seems inseparable. One often wonders how Hiten deals with the famous Gauri temper (she€™s known to be a firebrand in real life)? Its also said that when she€™s shooting, Gauri generally sets her own rules, which has apparantely earned her the reputation of being unprofessional. Hiten relates an incident to confirm, €œThis is when I hadn€™t fallen in love and I was just a co-star. We were working together in Kutumb. The rest of us would actually set our watches to 10pm because that€™s when Gauri would call it a day. At the strike of the clock her wig would come off. She came on time and she left on time, irrespective of anything else.€
Things haven€™t changed much since then. She€™s still known for her tantrums on the sets. Hiten agrees, €œYes. She really has a short temper. She knows, if anybody can handle Gauri, it is me!€ The protective beau justifies, €œShe doesn€™t get angry on anything and everything. There has to be a valid reason. She states her rules before she starts shooting for any assignment. So it is all agreed upon, and even if I plead with her to compromise, she will ask me, €˜Why should I jaanu, why? I come on time and I will go on time.
Obviously, there isn€™t much Hiten can do about that. He adds with a twinkle in his eyes, €œShe is an Army officer€™s daughter, what do you expect? That€™s just her. All said and done, I love her€. If she is angry, or something goes wrong, nobody but me alone will come to her help€. I have to take care of her. That is my love for her!€
With the names of Hiten and Gauri, there is another name that cannot be forgotten- Akashdeep Saigal. Recently, he said to Showtime that he would never work with Gauri again, after his fracas with her on the sets. But Hiten ahs a different take on it. The professional argues, €œIt happened a long time ago. Why would Gauri or me not want to work with Akashdeep? We have no problems. Tomorrow, if there is a good role that Akashdeep wants to do, he will work with Gauri. No one turns down a good project for just one reason.€
Talking of good projects, right now Hiten is excited about Kavyanjali where he plays Yug Mittal, a rival to the Nanda Breweries. Talking about his character, Hiten says, €œYug is an extended version of Pratham of Kutumb fame. The businessman will brook no opposition in his path.€ But surprisingly he is unaffected by the B-grade bombshell Rakhi Sawant doing an item number for the classy and suave Kavyanjali. €œThey don€™t really go well, do they€ tharra in a champagne glass?€ Hiten says nonchalantly, adding, €œRakhi being there doesn€™t matter to me at all. Its not like she€™s my co-star or something. These girls come and go!€
Ekta Kapoor is known to have made serials that have strong women protagonists, so her saas€™ and bahus inevitably overshadow the men in Balaji. Hiten has been the only exception. The actor does agree that sometimes, there is little scope for any action as the stories generally revolve around women. But he€™s never had to strain his hand and grab the corner of the lens or pretend to be a prop. He shoots, back affirming, that the women can€™t do everything. €œEk akeli Tulsi kitna karegi? Isiliye tho uske saath Mihir hai.€
The guy€™s popularity has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few months. And sometimes, that€™s become a delicate issue to handle, for both Hiten and Gauri. The actor tells me about this crazy fan who wanted to marry him. €œShe said shedidnt mind being Gauri€™s sautan, considering that she has been waiting for me for the last three years. Apparently, she has done a lot of pooja path and mannat for me, lekin bechari ka number nahi laga,€ he says with a smile. In the same breath, he admits, €œBut yes, we had a tough time handling that situation.€
But such lone occasional disturbances haven€™t affected his outlook towards his fabs. Hiten still remains one of the most approachable actors from television, who answers all fan calls and takes time to talk to them too. Fame they say, builds gaps between the star and his fans, his mentor, less fortunate colleagues and even family too. But Hiten comes across as a welcome exception, and that€™s not just for courtesy sake- his mind is firmly at place, but above all its his heart that rules his ways! And with such an appreciative balance of the head and heart to the boot, €˜up€™ is the only way to go for this charming actor and man for all seasons
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