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‘Kesari..story is distinctly different from that of any movie’: Manav Gohil

Thursday, December 27, 2018
By Chaitanya Padukone

The smart debonair TV actor Manav Gohil who has acted in a string of TV shows has been playing the role of King Krishnadevaraya with aplomb in TV series Tenali Rama, has this penchant for challenging unconventional roles. The macho Manav (who in real-life is happily married to TV actress Shweta Kawatra) will now be seen as a former wrestling champion in this upcoming TV show ‘Kesari Nandan’ on Colors TV starting 1st January every Monday to Friday at 8.30 pm. The  Afternoon D&C connected with the suave Manav for a chatpatta conversation Excerpts:

Why should home-viewers watch ‘Kesari Nandan’?
It’s a unique, realistic, emotionally entertaining show which has wrestling, woman-empowerment and family sentiments-values as its basic themes. ‘Kesari Nandan’ is about an unlikely female protagonist--an underdog, who braves and defies all obstacles to become a national hero in a male-dominated sport that continues to be associated with machismo and virility. It’s a poignant portrayal of a father-daughter equation that transcends beyond the confines of their middle-class household to an akhaada and eventually to the wrestling ring of the prestigious Olympics. Even the revered sports-icons Geeta Phogat and Mary Kom have ardently supported ‘Kesari…’ and attended our launch event.

What is the khaas baat about your role as the former rugged kushti-king?
My formidable character Hanumant Singh is the founder-brain and brawn behind the famous Guru Hanuman Akhaada. A ‘kushti- maha-pehelwaan’ with a fiery short-temper but yet he prefers to speak briefly only when required. An uncompromising man who fiercely upholds his traditional ideals and wants his son Jagat (Shoaib Ali) to win the ‘gold medal’ for India in Olympics. At the same time, he has this sporty, feisty young daughter Kesari (played by precocious chirpy Chahat Tewani) whose dream is also to become a wrestler.

Comparisons with the landmark movies ‘Dangal’ and ‘Sultan’ are inevitable, isn’t it?
Initially, there could be this galat faimi. But our TV show is drastically different from those movies. The home-audiences will soon realise that except for wrestling and the competitive spirit. the characters and the story of ‘Kesari…’ are distinctly different. Out here as a screen-father, I do ‘not’ encourage my daughter ‘Kesari’ to take up wrestling. That’s because I strongly feel that girls and ladies are not supposed to sneak onto the male-centric rough’n’-tough sports territory of physical grappling.

Does that imply that you have ‘grey shades’ in your rigid character?
Absolutely not, Hanumant Singh is a positive character who respects women. But for him, women are supposed to be the delicate ‘weaker sex’ and should focus only in household chores and in being a loving wife and a caring mother.

What were the prime factors that compelled you to grab this Hanumant role?
My wife Shweta (Kawatra) who earnestly felt that I should not let go off this awesome opportunity. Since I happen to be a real-life sports-lover and a fitness-freak, I and am trained in in ‘Moi Fa’ martial arts, I felt I was cut out for the strenuous wrestler-champ character. Being a doting father in real-life to my cute little daughter Zara, I felt it would wonderful to play a screen-father to a young smart girl ‘Kesari’.

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