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Mohit Raina on taking break from television: 'The creative hunger was getting a little lost'

The 41-year-old actor's The Freelancer, also featuring Anupam Kher, is set to premiere on September 1 on Disney+ Hotstar

PTI Mumbai Published 31.08.23, 11:12 AM
Mohit Raina

Mohit Raina

He became a household name with “Devon Ke Dev - Mahadev” but actor Mohit Raina says he took a break from television as he felt his creative hunger was getting lost there.

The actor, who is known for his performance across the three mediums: TV, films and OTT such as “Devon Ke Dev - Mahadev”, 21 Sarfarosh - Saragarhi 1897”, “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, “Shiddat”, “Kaafir”, “Bhaukaal”, and “Mumbai Diaries 26/11”, said the goal now is to find work that excites him.

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"When I took a break from TV, I realized that there is a long format where the creative hunger was getting a little lost. I was financially safe. So, I decided to go to OTT so that I could satisfy my creative hunger, which wasn’t getting satisfied on TV.

"When I started doing OTT, my creative hunger and need was taken care of, so there was no need for me to do something else, or films just for the sake of it or just to be part of bigger films," Raina told PTI in an interview.

The actor, who started off as a model, said his goals changed with time.

"When I started in the industry the mission was to meet the monthly financial expenses that I achieved with modeling. I’m not a trained actor, so then the mission was learning as much as I can when I was working...I do work that excites me. That’s the mission," the actor said.

Raina, whose Disney+ Hotstar series "The Freelancer" will see him as an Indian mercenary on a rescue mission in war-torn Syria, said he is drawn to tales that feature unsung heroes.

Citing the example of his 2018 blockbuster “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, Raina said he accepted the offer to play a small part in the Vicky Kaushal-headlined movie because he wanted to portray the role of an army officer.

He also added that doing “Uri” wasn’t a "great career choice" but he did it because of emotional reasons.

"I come from Kashmir, so I never had the superhero image in my mind that there's superman or batman as a hero. As soon as I opened my eyes, I saw these people wearing uniforms outside my house, so for me they are the superheroes,” he said.

“As an actor, I’ve never worked for big or small scenes. I work for the story, and ‘Uri’ was a deliberate choice. If you see from a career perspective, it wasn’t a great choice, it wasn't a debut that anyone would want. It was more of an emotional and friendly gesture because I love the uniform and I love the impact it would leave,” Raina, who wanted to join National Defence Academy (NDA) but couldn’t because he was short-sighted, said.

Having played a Sikh soldier in the TV series "21 Sarfarosh - Saragarhi 1897" and a cop in the OTT drama "Bhaukaal," the actor said it's nice to see more narratives being created around men in service.

"I’ll do any role for the uniform, he said, adding, “There are so many stories of these officers, and jawans, thanks to the digital revolution these stories are coming out. Otherwise, there were limited stories that were coming out on the big screen. We owe them a lot because they are the ones taking care of the borders and keeping us safe.” In action-thriller series “The Freelancer”, Raina plays Avinash Kamath, an assistant sub-inspector in Mumbai police. The show is created and showrun by filmmaker Neeraj Pandey and directed by Bhav Dhulia.

It is based on Shirish Thorat’s book “A Ticket to Syria” and the actor said he not only read the book but also met the writer to get a better understanding of the world and his character.

“The Freelancer”, also featuring Anupam Kher, Sushant Singh, Kashmira Pardeshi, John Kokken, Gauri Balaji and Navneet Malik, is set to premiere on September 1 on Disney+ Hotstar.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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