Q. How did acting happen? Were you always sure about pursuing it?
A. No. Acting happened to me as is the case with small-town boys. Your mother believes, “You look good, so why not try in the industry?” My initial aim was to be a cricketer. I was also in a boarding school for 10 years. However, I had to come back following a situation. If I were to pursue cricket then I would have had to start from scratch. So it was then I thought that I want to try my hand at acting.
Q. You were fortunate to have got an opportunity to work with the leading production house. What do you think worked for you?
A. I think my confidence and my positivity. When I landed in Mumbai I was clueless. I was clueless about which lanes to take. I knew just nothing. I had not even told my mother about it. I had told her that everything is in place and all you have to do is send me. I had just come. It was only slowly that I started to give auditions. It all came in a routine and people started knowing me, acknowledging that I have been shortlisted. So it was like a boost to my confidence. I wasn’t selected earlier but the recognition helped. I only had a limited time with which my mother had sent me. Nobody in my family was supportive of my acting career but my mother.
Q. With Ye Hai Mohabbatein you are working with some of the most popular faces on TV. How is it like working with Divyanka Tripathi and Karan Patel?
A. They treat me like their own child. It doesn’t feel that I didn’t know them. I had little idea about them but my mother always used to watch shows on Star Plus and would always ask when will I be starring in one of the channel’s show. It was difficult to make her understand initially. But when the show happened I was ecstatic. I was happy that finally what my mother wanted is happening.
The first day I went to the set and I had my first scene with Karan sir I was extremely nervous. I told him “sir if I end up committing a mistake, please guide me through it.” He answered simply and said “when we had started to act, we also used to commit a lot many mistakes.” Whatever I have learned from Karan sir and Divyanka didi, I don’t think I could have learned anywhere else.
Karan sir treats me like his younger brother and I call Divyanka Ma’am Didi. It is more like a family now. I feel blessed to be working with such actors. Our bond is very special also because we spend so many light moments together. Me, Aly (Goni) and Karan Sir poke a lot of fun. Aditi (Bhatia) is always the butt of our jokes. Divyanka didi and Aditi are a team and we three are on the other team.
Q. It is not unusual for celebs to be linked to their co-stars. You have also been linked to one of your co-stars. Does it bother you?
A. It does bother me a little because gradually our friendship is effected. Our work also gets affected in that case but we can’t stop people from speaking rubbish. Now we are used to it. However, when it started it was disturbing and our friendship was also strained. When you are giving 12-13 hours on the set, people will, of course, cook stories.
Q. It has relatively been a short span on small-screen, but you already enjoy a huge fan following especially amidst girls. Is it overwhelming? Do you enjoy the attention?
A. Obviously, I love getting the attention. It really feels good when I go outside and people recognise me. It feels like it was for this recognition that I had come to the industry. Money hardly matters to me. But this recognition is so overwhelming.
“Karan sir treats me like his younger brother and I call Divyanka Ma’am, Didi. It is more like a family now. I feel blessed to be working with such actors. Our bond is very special.”
Q. Is the big screen on the cards? When can we see that happening?
A. Yes, it is on the cards. But for now, I want to polish myself as an actor. Because to hold the audience for three hours is really difficult. So I want to take my own time and hone my skills. Rest if I get something good or if I would feel that I am fully equipped to play that character and if I would have a lot of ideas to portray that character then I would definitely go ahead with it.
Q. Any particular actor and director you would like to work with?
A. Ranbir Kapoor is one of my favourite actors. When I used to go to my aunt’s house, my nephews always used to address me as Ranbir Kapoor. Many people tell me that there is a resemblance. Even when he was on our set, people told me that I look like his younger brother. The statement itself was so fulfilling. He has been an ideal for me. And maybe this is one of the reasons I want to work with him.
I also want to work with Imtiaz sir. I am really fond of him and his genre of movies is very deep too.
Q. How was your life in your days of struggle? What is that one big difference you feel in your life now?
A. I used to enjoy then and I enjoy equally now. The world “struggle” is not in my dictionary. When I had come to the industry, I knew that if I would work hard, there’s no chance that I would fail. According to me, there is a very big difference between struggle and hard work. I had come here on my own accord, I was happy to be able to try my luck here. It was never a thought that I am struggling. I have enjoyed every bit of my journey till Ye Hai Mohabbatein and I continue enjoying even now.
Q. You have become a household name with your character Aditya Bhalla. However, do you fear being typecast?
A. Yes, I do. I want to be known as Abhishek Verma as well. But whatever I have got for now I consider myself extremely fortunate. To play such a character, which has been liked by these many people is a big thing for me especially because I knew nothing about acting when I had joined the acting school and now that my work is being appreciated by so many people I feel that I have been able to justify the character of Aditya Bhalla.
In case I get something in future, I would give my 200% so that people don’t just recognise me as Aditya but also know me as Abhishek or whatever character I would be playing.
Q. Would you like to give out a message to aspiring actors?
A. I wouldn’t want to give out a message but would like to get one. If anyone feels that I can improve on something both as an actor and as a human then please message me. I don’t think I have achieved that sort of stature or would be able to achieve one that I can guide people in terms of acting. My only perspective on acting is how natural it can be. I wouldn’t want to give anyone guidance but would rather want people to guide me.