Having done a plethora of roles like Dushasana, Mahishasur and Hanuman in the genre of mythological drama, television actor Nirbhay Wadhwa is currently seen as Vaanar Raj Bali on the &TV show Kahat Hanuman Jai Shri Ram. Bali is the paternal uncle of Maruti (Bal Hanuman), essayed by debutant child actor Ekagrah Dwivedi. On 11 March 2020, Ekagrah’s 5th birthday was celebrated by the cast and crew on the set in Naigaon, Mumbai. There, ZEE5 interviewed bodybuilder-actor Nirbhay Wadhwa, who spoke his heart out on being an actor and maintaining a work-workout balance:
1. You have played Hanuman before. How does it feel to play his uncle Bali on this show?
I feel very good because I didn’t know a lot about Bali ji. But since the time I’m doing this show, I’ve got to know new things. I’ve learnt a lot because this character has a slightly negative shade of arrogance and haughtiness. Earlier, I’ve done positive roles and now I’m doing the opposite, so I’m learning a lot as an actor!
2. Do you prepare differently to portray a negative character, in terms of entering a mental zone or training?
Not really! I lead a normal life everyone does. I just perform as it is in the written, cut-to-cut, in the script because I leave everything else to the director. There are scenes in which I’m not there and I don’t read them, but the director knows the entire story thoroughly, so I just listen to him. Sometimes I try to act in my own zone first, and if the director likes it, he keeps it. Otherwise, I just blindly follow whatever the director says because he knows better than me, an actor!
3. You’ve played mythological roles back-to-back. Is this genre your comfort zone or would you like to explore others also?
Yes, this is my comfort zone. I have no problems with doing this genre. In fact, if an actor has done mythos, other daily-soaps become a cakewalk because in mythos one has to take care of the costume, jewellery, weapons, extra make-up and other such uncomfortable things during their dialogue delivery which is in shudh Hindi. There’s not much scope for improvisation and 99% of the times we have to stick to the script.
4. How is your experience co-acting with the lead child actor Ekagrah Dwivedi on the set?
It’s a great experience. Ekagrah is a very young kid and so everyone becomes a child with him. The atmosphere on the set is of positivity, happiness and laughter. The director and the cameraman also brief us like a child. Everyone’s body language and behaviour become innocent!
5. You’re a fitness enthusiast as well. How do you find the time to manage workout and shoot together?
I don’t find the time, I make time! I believe that it is important to be and look fit. Even if you are not an actor and you’re a businessman, etc., you stand out among 10 people if you’re fit. Being healthy is serious because it boosts up your self-confidence as well. Everyone should stay away from smoking and drinking. If they continue these wrong habits, our offspring will be weak and we won’t be able to raise a healthy and strong generation in the future!
6. Is there a specific workout or fitness regime that follow for your character Bali?
Not really! I just follow my normal workout routine. When I started doing this show, I had put on a little weight for Bali because the jewellery and costumes were heavy. I went off-season ( in bodybuilding terms) for a while and started eating fatty foods. I had done lean-gaining and I’m maintaining it because as of now there aren’t scenes where my entire physique is being shown in its full form!
7. How is your experience of getting ready for Bali with the prosthetic vaanar make-up, jewellery, and costume?
Honestly, I feel like taking off my fake beard as soon as possible. I’m comfortable with everything else, but Bali’s beard is very irritating and especially when the fan is blowing on my face, its hair keeps tickling my nostrils and lips. I feel like sneezing and scratching. It gets uncomfortable while eating food as well! Besides that, I’m just cool while shooting on the set.
8. What do you love doing the most on the royal set of this show?
Firstly, I just love the set. It’s beautifully handmade with all the intricate and delicate workmanship. Small lamps (diya) are floating on the water here. So when I enter it, I already feel like a king. It’s like I enter my own house and order to serve food. When I’m shooting also, I just deliver my lines like a parrot because I’ve already gotten into the feel so much!
9. It’s been 50 episodes so far. What are your top/best 3 moments on the show?
Firstly, all my shots with the harness have come out beautifully! The fight master that had come was incredible. After the telecast, when I saw the scenes with the VFX (visual effects) because fake mountains were used, they had come through better than what I had thought! It seemed that the production has spent generously.
Secondly, the vibes on the set are really positive. Everyone works with love and care for each other. We laugh a lot and have fun.
Thirdly, my co-star Jiten Lalwani (Kesari) is quite senior and I get to learn a lot from him.
10. Who is your favourite co-star on the set?
I’m alone in most of my scenes. Kesari, Maruti, and Anjani are good people and I keep conspiring to kill them. My scenes are with rakshasas mostly. Yes, I’ve done scenes with Maruti for a bit, so I’ll say Ekagrah Dwivedi is my favourite co-star (laughs)!
11. What do you think of Ekagrah Dwivedi’s performance as a young actor on the show?
Ekagrah’s performance is great! Despite being so young, he is working very hard. Especially when he is working with a harness tied around him, it’s a big thing because it’s not easy. One gets hurt or gets his skin peeled because a harness is very tight. And it’s incredible that a small child is hanging from a harness and giving his performance!
12. Lastly, what message would you send to your fans and viewers who follow your show?
I’d just say that please continue to love us like you are already doing. Please stay away from bad/wrong habits like smoking and drinking. Be strong because a lot of viruses are out in the market these days! It is extremely essential to stay healthy because anything can happen if you be careless. Eat healthy and hygienic food. Wash your hands with a sanitizer. See, it is not always possible to wear masks, wash hands frequently or use sanitizers, so I follow the routine of consuming healthy food which will keep my immunity strong and I won’t be affected by these diseases. You guys should also do the same, please!