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A finger in every pie

The versatile Akashdeep Saigal hopes to make an effective entry into films


AKASHDEEP SAIGAL has an interesting bio-data. A TV artiste, a film actor, model, a state-level former football player, graduate in Egyptology, a sound engineer, a winner of Gladrags Manhunt contest, supermodel of the year 1998 and documentary filmmaker. Soon on its way of totalling up would be the vocation of a scriptwriter!

All of 29, this pony-tailed Mumbaiite, if you have taken your breath by now, is admittedly "on both the hate and love list" of people these days. Recognisable on the street more by his reel name Ansh Gujral in the serial Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi on Star Plus than the name by birth, Akashdeep says, often children come to his house in Mumbai after school for autographs, housewives have accosted him at many places to say, `We hate your character but love you as an actor', some even had asked him to sign on their hands and arms!

Instant success

"This is success. For one screen role, I turn people's heads on road," says the proud actor. Though he began with films - featuring in Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi and Supari, which sank without trace - television still did not appease him initially. "I had got TV offers before but always had this mental block that it is not as big as films," admits Akashdeep. Soon after Supari, Balaji Telefilms called him for an audition. "I thought it was for a film role since Balaji Telefilms is also into film-making. When they told me about Ansh Gujral's role, I took time to decide on it," being a character with a strong negative shade, as the maiden leap into small screen, obviously made him think.

"But then, it is after all a role which is challenging enough. So, I went ahead," the fact that he was asked to take up the role after rejecting 1,150 actors for it, was definitely a morale boost.

Basking now in the glory of "recognition and appreciation" acting out the lost and found scheming son of Tulsi and Mihir Virani in Kyunki... , Akashdeep though, is firm about not taking up another television role.

"I do not want to be branded as a TV artiste. I want to do more things in life," he reasons. Ansh's role, he says, "would roll only for a few more months."

Waiting for "a good film script" to come his way, he, meanwhile, is busy giving finishing touches to a film script that he has "great plans for."

"I might look for a director or might look for a director in me. I might also direct me," he seems not to have made up his mind.

Well, the final product should be worth it.

SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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