|Barun Sobti (Picture by Pavitr Saith)
He almost sent our mailbox crashing with the flood of fan feedback. Urged on by you the t2 reader, we set up a chat with TV heart-throb Barun Sobti who is all set to shoot his second Bollywood film, 22 Yards, this month in Calcutta.
Are you aware that you have a huge female fan base in Calcutta?
I was not aware of it and I would like to apologise for that. I am thankful to all of them for their love. I am going to shoot in Calcutta this month and will get to see a lot of Calcutta then. Thanks for remembering me and liking my work. I am happy and grateful.
Do you know that your female fans call you ‘Hotwa’?
(Laughs) I know, I know! I get lot of gifts and stuff with that (Hotwa) written on it.
Your female fans think that you are very sexy — where do you think your sex appeal lies?
I have no idea! (Laughs)
What do you make of all the love and attention showered on you?
It’s heartening. It’s better than not getting love. People like you and love you and are more confident than you are about what you are doing. It is encouraging and I am glad to be receiving so much love.
Your fans want to see you in Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon Season 2 (the STAR Plus show that made Barun a household name). They have even petitioned STAR Plus and lobbied online to bring you back...
At present I am caught up a lot. I don’t have an idea if I can do television anytime soon.
Sushant Singh Rajput made a successful transition from TV to films with Kai Po Che!. Aren’t you nervous with your first film, Main Aur Mr Riight, set to release soon?
Not really. Usually an actor is nervous during the takes and shoots and while filming the scenes, not once the film is complete. Main Aur Mr Riight will be releasing by mid-July but I really don’t know how I would feel when the release date is near.
What can you tell us about your character in Main Aur Mr Riight?
I play a wannabe actor and model who is struggling in Bollywood... there are so many of us (like that). He is a righteous kind of jovial character.
And in 22 Yards?
I play Ron Sen, a very intense kind of character. He is a cricket agent.We are going to begin shooting from May 20 and as the date of shoot is nearing, I am getting nervous. The film will be shot in Calcutta, Mumbai and Delhi.
We have S.M. Zaheer, Manoj Joshi and Vikram Kochhar in the film. Music is by Salim-Sulaiman, Amitabh Bhattacharya has given the lyrics and Mitali Ghoshal is the director.
You left television because you felt stressed out. Five months on, have you relaxed a bit?
I am very eased out and I feel exactly like the person who has been on a vacation for five months!
Your Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon co-star Sanaya Irani has come back with a new show, Chhanchhan. Have you managed to catch any of the episodes?
I saw the promos and recently watched a couple of episodes of Chhanchhan. She is doing fine.
Recently you went to Dubai for a play. How are you managing to juggle so many things?
The play was Do Fool Chaar Maali that was actually conceptualised by Akshay (Dogra, who played Akash in Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon) while we were doing Iss Pyaar Ko.... It had got a nod from all of us and we agreed to be a part of it. I had committed and so I was a part of it.
Coming back to your fandom, how does your wife Pashmeen react to the craze that you spark among girls?
There is nothing much to react to. People who approach us are all dignified people and it’s nice to meet them.
Who have you been a crazy fan of?
Sachin Tendulkar! I am a great fan of his.
t2 decodes Barunís
Although he had acted in various shows before, it was Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon — in which he played a typical Mills & Boon hero — that made him the heart-throb of the soap-watching nation. Five months ago, Barun decided to exit the show for a film career.
His fans couldn’t bear his replacement and bombarded the STAR Plus office with phone calls day and night to either bring him back or end the show. The show had to be pulled off air!
When he quit, the channel had to run a disclaimer — a first in the history of Indian television! — informing viewers that one of the main leads had decided to quit the show to pursue a career in films and so the show had to end
Barun’s female fans are not affected by his married status. The 28-year-old Delhi dude married his childhood sweetheart Pashmeen Manchanda in December 2010.
t2 attempts to decode what made Barun’s Arnav Singh Raizada in Iss Pyaar Ko Kya
Naam Doon such a hot favourite.
His signature smirk: Arrogant and rude on the outside, Barun’s bad boy ways made him a fave with his fans. Tyrant boss or exasperating husband, we girls loved that wicked smirk.
His eyes: Don’t we love those light eyes? Whether it was the naughty Shravan of Baat Hamari Pakki Hai or the intense Arnav of Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon, he spoke a thousand words through his eyes.
His whisper: There have been times when we have strained our ears and still missed his words but his soft voice does send a happy tingle down our spine.
His chemistry: They are fondly called Arshi (Arnav+Khushi). Both of them won the Best Pair crown at most TV award functions last year. Their rabba-ve moments (Arshi fans know what we are talking about, right?) remain with us and often go into replay mode.