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It took me two months to come up with the voice of Roshesh Sarabhai: Rajesh Kumar

In an interview with Nation Next, actor Rajesh Kumar who played the iconic character of Roshesh Sarabhai speaks about his career and Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai.
Rajesh Kumar. (Photo by: Sachin Buddhadev)

When Ekta Kapoor decided to kill the character Mihir Virani? (played by the actor Amar Upadhyay) in her famous soap opera Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi? years back, the fans of the show went berserk. They protested and demanded to bring Mihir back to the show and Ekta did it! The incident made Amar Upadhyay a household name. That’s the power television holds in India. It’s a victory for the actors when the characters they play become memorable; that’s a testimony that the actors did a damn good job! A lot of Indian television serials have made an impact on the minds of the audience over the years and erstwhile show Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai is one such show. It has gained a cult status over time and the characters on the show are still loved. One such character is the character of Roshesh Sarabhai. In an exclusive interview with Nation Next, television actor Rajesh Kumar who played the character of Roshesh Sarabhai speaks about his career and Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai.


How exactly did you land up in acting?

I basically hail from Bihar. I came to Mumbai in 1999 to pursue mass communication from St. Xaviers College. One of my friend was writing for a TV serial called Star Best Seller and he offered me a role. That’s how I landed up in acting. I thought acting was better than mass communication because I was getting the money instantly. The day I had my interview at St. Xaviers, I had the shoot. There were two career options in front of me and I selected acting.

It must have been a little difficult in the industry given the fact that you didn’t belong to the television or film background

Being a Bihari, the only thing I know about us is that we know how to take risks. Once you leave everything in your hometown and move ahead you know that you’re taking a risk. We plunge into that and we make our mark. So, I feel proud about that.

In Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai you had brilliant actors like Ratna Pathak Shah, Satish Shah, Sumit Raghavan and Roopali Ganguly but your character Roshesh Sarabhai made an impact and people still remember you for it. How do you feel? 

It feels very great. It was a unique character and it took a lot of effort and hard work to play it. It was my first attempt at comedy so I was scared as I was acting besides Satishji and Ratnaji. But these experienced actors made sure that I didn’t feel out of place. It was a good learning ground for me. Sarabhai not only gave me recognition but has also taught me humility and simplicity. If an actor comes to Mumbai today to pursue his dreams, he will be feeling exactly what I was feeling back then. I make sure that I take care of him just the way I was taken care of.

What did you do to get into the skin of the character Roshesh?

Whenever I try method acting all my methods fail! The trick is to try and make the character your own. The soul of the character should be inside you. It took me two months to come up with the voice of Roshesh. But the writer and the producer Aatish Kapadia was clear in is head on how the character should be.

You’re a self-taught actor and have done variety of roles over the years. How has the journey been?

I have enjoyed playing whatever roles I have played till date whether it was my character in Kkusum or Ek Mahal ho Sapno ka. Two months before my marriage in 2004, I was left with no work. I started doing a lot of shows on Doordarshan. Post marriage as well, I was absolutely jobless for three months. I was really stressed and then Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai happened to me. Jo mila usko imaandari se kiya and maybe that’s why I’m where I’m today. It has been 12 years since Sarabhai now. I may be getting many offers for serials now where I’m getting a lot of respect and where I can play the lead but the struggle continues. Once you wrap up a serial, the struggle for another one starts. In our industry, sab ek dusre ke liye struggle bana ke rakhte hai! There’s no politics, it’s just the requirement. If you suit the requirement you’re on, if you are not, nothing will happen.

Would you say that you have now established yourself?

There’s no establishment in acting. The only thing is that people start knowing you. You have to keep on doing good work to prove time and time again that you’re in the league. I’m finding it nice. It’s a very healthy competition in Mumbai.

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Dharavi redevelopment to have dedicated areas for manufacturing: Devendra Fadnavis




Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi redevelopment will have dedicated areas for manufacturing…

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

Devendra Fadnavis

The Mah Deputy CM says that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

As Dharavi redevelopment has been announced, doubts were raised on whether this locally evolved entrepreneurial hub will retain its spirit.  In a chat on Sansad TV with Sanjeev Sanyal, Member, PM’s Economic Advisory Council and a writer, on an Economic Sutra episode telecast on Nov 6, the Deputy Chief Minister had made it very clear how he foresees the future of Dharavi and Mumbai.

Saying that his government worked on clearing all the bottlenecks, he adds, “We understood that unless we have a place to rehabilitate people, which is nearby Dharavi, this project will not take off. We found out that there is around 42 acres of land which belongs to the Railways. We approached the Central Government and told them that we’ll free up your land. We’ll buy your land and we’ll give you a share in the profit and we entered into a definitive agreement and now they have handed it over to us.”

“The Dharavi Redevelopment project will be the most unique project ever done. In fact, this redevelopment was visualized by none other than Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 but nothing happened – until 2014 when Modiji came and we started governing Maharashtra. The redevelopment will be no less beautiful than BKC. Dharavi is just not a slum but it’s also a great manufacturing cluster, so what we did was that while planning this scheme we have created areas for this entire manufacturing industry along with planning for the rehabilitation of the people. Right now, this entire manufacturing sector is informal, but after this and over time they will come into the formal sector.”

Watch the full interaction here:

Also, with Mumbai undergoing so many infrastructural changes, questions have been raised about retaining the quintessential character of “aamchi Mumbai,” which apart from being the financial capital of India is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant cities.

Speaking on the land issues, Fadnavis says, “The usable space in Mumbai is very little. It has length, but has limitations on the breadth so taking into consideration all these problems we wanted to design a very robust system for Mumbai for commuters and for vehicles. That’s why the all the new Coastal Road, which will decongest the western side of Mumbai. It will be a ring road type structure along the coast and this Western Expressway carries 60 percent of the Mumbai traffic right, so all that traffic will be mostly accommodated here.”

Commuting in Mumbai is a killer and every day Mumbaikars spend a lot of time on travel. Saying that he wants to reduce travel within Mumbai from anywhere to anywhere to an hour, Fadnavis explains, “Our Metro three is a very unique 40 kilometers of underground Network, which will be the lifeline of Mumbai. It is estimated to carry around 1.7 million passengers per day! All this work will be finished in two or three years and I want that from any place to any place in Mumbai one should reach within less than one hour – that is the planning. We are also trying to integrate the transportation system. Right now, our Suburban Railway is the lifeline of Mumbai. This Suburban Railway carries around 9 million passengers. The new Metro Network which we are creating will be carrying around 7 million or 8 million passengers, almost doubling the current number.”

Adding to this, the Deputy CM says that the 22 kilometers of Sea Bridge that will connect us to the hinterland, “so we have Mumbai, we have new Mumbai and that will be the third Mumbai that will be a land mass which will be bigger than Mumbai with new Mumbai airport. I think the future growth of Mumbai is on that side!”

Also read: Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate

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Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate




Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm…

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm.


Is squalor for cameras, money more important than dignified living for the residents…  

Former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy’s Dharavi comments kicked off a storm when he said on Twitter that Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, ‘is not actually a slum but a tribute to the great entrepreneurial spirit of the weakest and smallest person fighting for his or her livelihood in Mumbai. It is also a model in collective coexistence in one of the toughest cities in the world, where nothing else matters. Not caste. Not faith. Not where you come from. But trust and togetherness.’

While this may be true, what is equally true is the squalor and subhuman conditions that reign supreme in this slum. Netizens felt that Nandy, by romanticizing poverty in this manner, was only feeding poverty porn and tourism. Nandy clarified that he was seeking to keep the spirit of Dharavi alive by “researching the architectural grammar, the cultural history that builds integrated and interdependent societies like Dharavi that have survived and flourished over decades and make that the base for the new redevelopment plans. Not just look at the future but also build in the past.”

The Maharashtra Government had on November 29, opened the financial bids for Dharavi redevelopment project.  While 3 companies Adani Realty, DLF and Naman Group had submitted bids, the Adani Group clinched the project with a INR 5,069-crore bid. The timeline for the entire redevelopment of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, might take close to 17 years, the rehabilitation of slum dwellers should be complete in seven years. 

Also read: Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health

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Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health




Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai
The Bombay High Court said ex-minister Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues.

Anil Deshmukh

The Bombay High Court said, as per prima facie, 74-year-old former Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, said that when Deshmukh’s bail plea was moved on medical grounds, then a fresh medical report needed to be called for. 

Singh said, “There is a compilation that has been given now. There are medical papers attached. We need to go through it. Even though this is not a bail application on merit of the case, it is still being circulated under medical issues. He is getting medical treatment as required. Moreover, medical issues are not static. We need a check on what his condition is right now.”

Deshmukh’s advocate Vikram Chaudhari said the senior NCP leader was being treated but has been suffering from several ailments that require constant treatment and care. Chaudhary said, ”He needs to be released. He is a chronic patient.”

Justice MS Karnik said that the court would hear the bail plea on merits. He said, “I am satisfied that we can proceed with the hearing on merits and give it priority. This is my prima facie opinion that priority should be given. One of the medical ailments (that Deshmukh is suffering from) is degenerative.” Deshmukh’s bail plea would now be heard on December 6.

The bench asked Singh whether he was ready to argue on the merits of the case immediately, to which Singh said he would require a week while Chaudhari said that he was ready to argue. However, Justice Karnik said, “We need to give them a fair opportunity.”

Also read: 10 lakh spectators across 50 km; PM Modi makes history with road show for BJP in Ahmedabad

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