Viraj Dobriyal is any woman’s worst nightmare come alive. He would lock his wife in a room full of cockroaches, beat her up with a leather belt, try snipping her fingers off with a pair of scissors, put her feet in boiling water, and even attempt to kill her parents… all in a bid to terrorise her into loving him.
Now, who wouldn’t hate this husband from hell? So, whenever Karanvir Bohra, who plays the anti-hero Viraj in Life OK’s Saubhagyavati Bhava, is told by people that they can’t get themselves to loathe him, he is understandably surprised. “Maybe it’s because people realise that Viraj is also a victim of his mental condition; it’s in his nature. For him, whatever he does is right.
“But, it’s amazing to see how a character who is supposed to be hated, comes to be loved by the public. You don’t love a Prem Chopra or a Ranjit, now do you?” asks Karanvir, who was in Chandigarh on Thursday to perform in Ila Arun’s play Mareechika with wife Teejay Sidhu.
“I believe that on some level, there’s a Viraj in every one of us. You also feel that anger and frustration. The only difference is, you won’t murder someone in a fit of rage, because you are afraid of the consequences. Viraj fears no one,” declares the 29-year-old.
And how does his wife react to his character? “Well, she’s the Viraj of our home,” laughs Karanvir.
“On a serious note, in real life, I’m nothing like my character. In fact, many a times I have stopped the shoot to make the men talking in raised voices apologise to the female staff.”
Incidentally, it was Dabangg star Salman Khan who inspired Karanvir to get back to television after Shahid Kapur, Vidya Balan starrer Kismat Konnection (2008) failed to get the boy more lucrative offers in Bollywood. “He made me realise that TV has become bigger than movies. The audience reach is wider and there’s more money in TV. And Viraj’s is a role that would be any actor’s dream. There are so many layers to him…”
And helping him traverse through these layers is his three-and-a-half years of Kathak training. “It does help when Viraj has to alter his expressions drastically during a scene.” The 15 years of theatre he has done with the likes of Satyadev Dubey, Nadira Babbar and Alyque Padamsee couldn’t have hurt either. “You don’t do it for money; you do for the sheer love for acting. Nobody is a ‘born’ actor. You have to work hard to get ‘it’.”
The conversation drifts toward the actor’s upcoming Bollywood release with Pakistani actress Veena Malik — Mumbai 125 kms. “The movie has been shot completely in 3D. And about Veena, all I can say is that she is a thorough professional,” he blushes.
Apart from this, Karanvir will also be seen in Chemistry with Soha Ali Khan and Shreyas Talpade.