Namaste Doston! In this week’s #BlabwithSandy, I have senior actor Vijay Kavish ji with me. Vijay ji is part of the World-Famous show #Ramayan, which recently created a World Record by clocking 77 million views worldwide. He was seen playing the role of Valmiki, and we also saw him playing Lord Shiva and Ugrasen in the show #ShriKrishna. Let us dive into the blab I had with him:
Sandy: Hello Vijay ji. Hope you are doing safe and healthy.
Vijay: Hello Sandeep. Yes, we are doing well, thank you beta. Hope all of you are fine too.
Sandy: Yes, Sir. Well, could you please let us all know about your early days?
Vijay: I was born in Mumbai and completed my studies in Mumbai. My father was a film writer and his works include Teri Surat, Zimbo Comes to Town, he worked with Mahesh Bhatt and his father Nanabhai Bhatt for Deewana, Paalki, Sapno ka Saudagar, and more.
I was from a film line background. After my SSC, I joined NSD and got my Diploma in acting from there. I joined theatre and had opened my own theatre group. I directed and acted in plays. My work as a writer for Marathi plays for Tilak Agarkar were hugely appreciated. I did the lights and design for him.
Sandy: You were also a part of few films?
Vijay: I did small roles in Armaan and other films. I was the chief AD for Vikram-Betal, did production and acted in multiple roles, did the casting, and many things more. I acted in Dada Dadi ki Kahani, Idhar Udhar with Pathak sisters. I did the editing and mixing, special effects of the god serials like Ramayan, Shri Krishna and others.
Sandy: Was acting more dearer to you or direction?
Vijay: I was closer to acting. I got a chance to learn everything. I believe in practical learning and not much in the theoretical aspects. Unless you touch something and see it in real, how will you learn? I did dub for Mirza Ghalib, Gulzar’s serial, was part of Manoj Kumar’s Bharat ke Shaheed, and a lot more.
Sandy: You were and are a part of a superhit show ‘Ramayan’, which has created history. Could you share some memories from the show?
Vijay: Our shootings used to start at 11 AM in the mornings, for which we had to be on location at 7 AM for getting the make up done. There were no lunch breaks. Whoever got time, they used to go and eat quickly and resume the shoot. We used to shoot till the wee hours of 3 AM or some days 4 AM too!
It used to be very tiring, but we had to do it. I had a principle in life, ‘Whatever work we have to do, be it by crying or laughing (i.e. if you like it or not), we need to do it. So, why not do it without crying?” All my friends and students know this statement and follow it.
The shoot location was at Vrindavan Studio, Umargam, Gujarat. The studio was built by Hirabai Patel, the art director. It had rooms, and in one room, four people used to stay. Though the shootings were tough, I am proud to be part of a World-Famous show.
I was also the casting director for the serial. There used to be such times wherein we required additional artists suddenly, for which around 15 junior artists always used to be present in and around the studio.
Sandy: Such an interesting piece of information. And, talking about your role of Valmiki. It gained immense liking from the audience.
Vijay: Yes! It was a personality of a Sadhu. I am 6 feet tall, and after wearing the wig, I used to look around 7 feet. After doing the look test, I came down and Arun Govil was coming. He went and asked someone who this Sadhu was? Hahaha! When he learnt it was me, he could not believe it.
I had to maintain the walk, gestures, with big beard and moustache. I cannot smile but whenever I had to smile in a scene, I never wanted it to look artificial. I used to practice the subtle smile in front of the mirror.
Sandy: How was the experience of working with Arun Govil and Dipika Chikhlia?
Vijay: They both had worked with me in Vikram-Betaal, and so were Sunil Lahari (Laxman), Murali Raj ji, Arvind Trivedi, and others. It was not difficult for me to adjust with them, as they were all friendly with me.
Sandy: You also acted along with Ratna Pathak Shah and Supriya Pathak in Idhar Udhar.
Vijay: Ravi Vaswani was an old friend of mine from Delhi. I already knew Ratna and Supriya and it was nice working with them. My father CL Kavish was the founder member of the film writer’s association at that time, and we were known to most of the actors and writers.
Sandy: We are now seeing you as Lord Shiva and Ugrasen in Shri Krishna. How does it feel when you receive the same adulation for the same serial but twice in a lifetime?
Vijay: It feels like I am blessed. I thank each of the audience for showering their love on me and our shows. Shri Krishna had me playing two roles – Lord Shiva and Ugrasen. I was able to show my variation with these roles. Shri Krishna from Ramanand Sagar Films was a hit too.
Sandy: We also had new versions of such shows, but nothing could match the enigma that the original shows created. Your take on it?
Vijay: They will not match also, Sandy. We shot the episodes with a lot of struggle. We had very less amount of sleep hours and stayed at Umargam whilst the filming. We had limited resources and we had to manage everything. Now, the times have changed, and people have multiple resources.
Sandy: You seem to have garnered huge fan following in the recent days.
Vijay: Ha-ha! Yes, Sandeep. Many people who loved our show back then may not be in this existing in the world now. But I am happy to see the current generation loving our shows. I do come live on social media and youngsters want to interact with me. They sing Krishna songs for me. It feels lovely.
Sandy: Any piece of advice that you would like to give to the newcomers?
Vijay: Hard work is the main thing. It also depends on luck. To become a name in the Hindi film industry, one needs to stay in Mumbai only. Once you become a successful name, you can reside wherever you want to. But the struggling period is very difficult. I was lucky that my family was in Mumbai and my father was in this film line.
Sandy: Can we expect to see you in more serials?
Vijay: Yes! Once the lockdown is over, I will be resuming my works.
Sandy: A few words about Hyderabad Local.
Vijay: Thank you beta for thinking of me and making me a part of your interview show. Hope you achieve all that you want to. God Bless you.
Interview by Sandeep Rao
Follow Sandy @blabwithsandy
Follow Vijay Kavish @vijaykavish53