Seasoned film and prolific TV actor, Eijaaz Khan, has to his credit milestone movies like ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ and also ‘Kuchh Naa Kaho’ where he cavorts with Aishwarya Rai in an ‘item-dance’ even as envious hero Abhishek Bachchan is watching. In the recent past, he has acted in TV serials like ‘Kkavyanjali’, ‘Laut Aao Trisha’ and even ‘CID’. The debonair Khan also made media waves with his serious relationships, including the ones with a popular TV co-actress and an international pop singer. Rugged Eijaaz is now ecstatic about his latest TV show ‘Yeh Moh Moh Ke Dhaage’ (YMMKD) which commences telecast tomorrow (March 21) on Sony TV from Monday to Friday in the 7 pm slot. The ‘metrosexual’ actor opens up to Afternoon D&C, on why he took up this realistic yet entertaining show with a rural backdrop, where he plays the quick-witted village chief.
What fascinated you about this 40 plus ‘gaaon-ka-mukhi’ character?
It was excitingly different yet author-backed where I am shown wearing Kutchi-Gujarati colourful ethnic costumes and speaking with an occasional sprinkle of Gujju phrases. Having played diverse TV characters over the past 15 years, you face complacency, where you crave to break through the creative barriers. Although he is shown ‘single’, in YMMKD, the ‘Mukhi’ is sort of ‘married’ to his village and their welfare is his benevolent mission. A school drop-out, he considers ‘life as his practical teacher’.
You did a lot of ‘prep’ to get rid of your urban aura?
Initially, when I got this ‘Mukhi' offer, I was not too sure whether I could carry it off perfectly. So I went to a couple of villages in Gujarat and actually stayed with their Sarpanch for over a fortnight to imbibe their culture and mannerisms. It was an eye-opener for me that people out there were well-educated and so street-smart.
A mature, single ‘Mukhi’ who decides to mingle with nubile girls?
(Laughs heartily). 'Woh meri farmaaish nahin hai' (It's not my demand). It’s because of my younger sister Mishri (played by talented, charming Riima Ramanuj) who refuses to get ‘engaged’ unless I give my consent to finding a ‘jeevan saathi’ for myself. Since I share a very close bond with my sister whom I fondly call ‘dhingli’ (doll), I reluctantly agree, giving in to her emotional blackmailing.
Beautiful actress Niyati who is romantically paired opposite you is so much younger!
(Chuckles) That’s right. But it’s the requirement of the fantastic script by producer Saba Mumtaz and not because of my personal whims and fancies. When it comes to romantic vibes, age is no bar. What makes the YMMKD content captivating is that both Aru (Niyati Fatnani) and I are at loggerheads, because of a clash of urban-rural cultures, lifestyles and thoughts, besides of course the glaring age difference. Frankly speaking, I have experienced all this in my real-life too. In my last off-screen relationship, there was an age difference of 14 years! It’s not impossible, but one needs to mutually work on it.
Some of your fans and even your Dad felt that you have a ‘jhalak’ of legendary Shashi Kapoor, during his youthful heydey.
Hmmm, that’s true, people even juxtaposed his picture with mine, to convince me that there is an uncanny resemblance. It’s a humbling honour because Shashi-ji is such a good-looking, dignified star-actor who always played the romantic nice guy.