Actor Mohnish Behl is back as host after a gap of almost five years. He debuted as a host with Sony TV’s Bachke Rehna which brought him accolades.
Currently seen co-hosting Star Plus’ Star Vivaah with Additi Shirwaiker the actor is doing a good job. What better choice than having Mohnish as host? The actor who is happily married to actress Ekta for the past 18 years has recently become a father the second time over.
Very much a family man Monish makes it a point to talk to his wife Ekta on the phone every now and then to inquire about his daughters. The actor then settles down for a chat but not before whispering sweet-nothings to his wife.
In this interview, Mohnish talks about his family, the show, the values he wants to instill in his daughters and much more…
What prompted you to host Star Vivaah?
The concept and approach of the show really appealed to me. First of all, it is a tremendous social platform. Secondly, my exposure, on a personal level, to different people will help me grow as a human being. Thirdly, I accepted because it is airing on Star Plus. I keep joking with them saying, ‘You have shown so many fights on saas-bahus, now do some good work by bringing people together!’
What according to you is the mantra of a successful marriage?
I am no authority to comment on marriages. Take me as a man who has the experience of 17 years of married life. And this is applicable not just to marriage but also to other relationships. As a partner you must understand the value of space. Try and put yourself in your partner’s position and this will help you understand the situation in a far better way. One should know what irks your loved one and what makes them happy. We easily say that understanding is the vital to any relationship but the real mantra is to see their lives from their view-point and vision.
An earlier attempt by a rival channel wasn’t fruitful (Kahin na Kahin Koi Hai by Madhuri Dixit). How positive are you about the success of this show?
The two shows are completely different. The former was about bringing in two potential suitors together and shooting with them. Making them converse with each other. But here we are just profiling the suitors. After that if somebody wants to meet them or not is entirely their choice.
Do you think your Rajshri image of an obedient son and doting brother will help you build the connection with the participants?
I think the audiences have related to the characters that I have essayed in Hum Apke Hain Kaun, Hum Saath Saath Hain and Sanjeevani. During the auditions and marketing and research process by the channel, they found out that I am a better option to host the show. I think the goodwill I have earned by playing these characters has helped me emerge as the most preferred choice as host. Also another most important factor was my mother’s image and credibility with the audience.
You have become a proud father for the second time. Tell us about the emotions you are going through.
We have named our second daughter Krishaa. She is four-months-old and has just started smiling. She has come into our lives 16 years after my first daughter was born. My wife had a miscarriage five years ago. After that she wasn’t able to conceive. Interestingly, my first daughter was born after my mother passed away and my second daughter was born just after my father passed away. I feel that my family was always meant to be of four members.
What does your elder daughter want to be?
My elder girl Pranutan is doing her graduation in commerce right now. She wants to pursue MBA abroad. She is also learning dance.
What kind of father you are?
I am a strict disciplinarian. I think it is a good thing because I was brought up in the same way. I don’t like girls who wiggle out of siuations and are dodgy about telling their parents their whereabouts. I have always told my elder daughter that she should tell me everything because there is nothing that she could do that would make me turn my back on her. I say, ‘I will always be your father; you can take that for granted but just be honest.’
How is it working with your wife in Dil Mil Gayye? Would you like to come together in a reality show?
Yes, she started working two months after Krishaa was born. It feels nice to have the opportunity to be together at the work-place as well. Talking about reality shows why not if the opportunity interests us?
TV mainly focuses on women, where do you see yourself in this scenario?
No matter how much you desire you girls can’t walk alone all the way! You definitely need us in your lives. So whenever you need us we will give you the desired support. On a serious note, I do agree that television today is predominantly targeted at female audiences. This results in less work for an actor like me. Also when I am reading a script, I realise I am not the central point of the script but certainly one of the major pillars of the show. But this is okay to me as even I would not want to be hooked up with one show for 20 days a month. I want to go and shoot for my second show because then I would get a chance to work with a different set of people. This is how it has been throughout my 28 years of acting life.
You have done a gamut of roles and even played a host. Was this a deliberate attempt?
No it has never been a deliberate attempt. I am very grateful to have been offered different roles. What normally happens is that an actor especially a character artist gets typecast in a particular character. And when you hang up your boots or the image loses its sheen after 8-10 years, another face surfaces to replace you. I feel very fortunate that I am being offered diverse roles. I remember when I was shooting for Rajshri’s Hum Saath Saath Hai, Salman (Khan) told me something very interesting. He said, ‘Moni, you know that you are the lead in this film.’ Taken aback with his statement I told him I wasn’t the lead but he was. Then he said, ‘Though I might be the romantic lead but story-wise you are the lead. You are the principle figure in the movie.’ He asked me whether I would accept a similar role after the movie was complete and I said no, I’d be mad to do it. It takes good many years to be offered such strong roles.
Which is your most memorable TV work that you have done?It has to be the role of Dr. Shashank from Sanjeevani and Vikram from Devi.