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Mouni is just a dear friend, nothing more to it: Mohit Raina

Monday, February 12, 2018
By Chaitanya Padukone

Even as we celebrate the religious ‘Maha-Shivaratri’ utsav (tomorrow night) ardent fans will fondly recall multiple screen avataars of the omnipotent Lord Shiva played by handsome actor Mohit Raina, in the mytho TV show ‘Devon Ka Dev Maha Dev’ which successfully ran for three years. Following this outing, Raina took on a historical deviation where he played the adult ‘Ashoka’ in TV show ‘Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat’. Currently, the rugged Raina, who off-screen is ‘friendly’ with vivacious actress Mouni Roy, will now be seen in the upcoming mega TV period historical ’21 Sarfarosh: Saragarhi 1897’ in this new GEC TV Channel ‘Discovery Jeet’ which commences telecast from February 12 (today). Afternoon D & C connected with TV's hottest hunk  Mohit who has a legion of females swooning over his macho, Greek-God looks and charisma.

What made you accept this rugged character in ’21 Sarfarosh: Saragarhi 1897’ on ‘Discovery Jeet’?
My progressive career graph is so simple. First I held the ‘trishul’, then I wielded the ‘talwaar’ and now it’s shooting with the ‘gun’ (laughs)! Jokes apart, when I first heard the narration of this script-story, I instantly knew I-had-to-be-a-part of this amazing show at any cost. They offered me the main ‘realistic’ role of the daring Havaldar Ishar Singh who led the regiment which I felt was challenging and very different from the roles I have played earlier.  Then of course the ‘under-dog’ syndrome clubbed with the ‘hai mumkin’ mantra of the new channel appealed to me.

What is the theme of this historical saga and why this figure ‘21’?
It’s a lavish fictional show inspired by the real-life story of 21 dare-devil soldiers of the 36th Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army which defended an army outpost at Saragarhi in the North West Frontier Province. It was against an onslaught by over 10,000 Pashtun and Orakzai tribals in September 1897. The stellar cast of the show includes popular film and TV actor Mukul Dev who plays the tribal nomadic Afghan chieftain called Gul Badshah.

You even met ‘real-life’ senior officers of the legendary Sikh Regiment, on your sets, right?
Haanjee, it was an inspiring experience to meet and chat with their Majors, the Colonel, the Officers and soldiers. They are the ‘real-life heroes’. We got to learn of their hardships, their sacrifices and tales of bravery. They appreciated my authentic bearded look and my correct uniform as the ‘Sikh Army Officer’.

What was the special ‘prep’ that you had to go thru for this ‘fauji’ character?
The very concept of this historic show compels you to do a lot of ‘prep’. Besides my gym-fitness regime and grueling army life training, I had to grow an actual full facial beard for the past eight months. Which requires regular maintenance. Since I am originally from Jammu, I had to learn to speak  Punjabi, the correct tone and fluency under the guidance of a tutor. My creative need and greed has motivated me to achieve perfection for this character in this 65 episode show, which I know will have a very extensive international telly exposure, thanks to ‘Discovery-Jeet’.

Are you perturbed about ‘not’ being able to shed your indelible ‘Mahadev’ TV image?
Yes, I am aware of it but I take it in my stride as a ‘divine compliment’. Sometimes, screen-images tend to be rather overwhelming and enduring. Actually, I may have moved far ahead but a sizeable section of home-audiences still seem to be sentimentally latched-on to my mytho-image.

Please clarify about your alleged romantic equation with Mouni Roy?
Unfortunately for me, the only ‘celeb’ friend in showbiz I have and whom I respect, is my former co-star Mouni Roy. She was and will remain a ‘dear friend’ . But nothing beyond that. People are unnecessarily assuming things. In fact, I do have lots of other friends who have nothing to do with showbiz.

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