Ashish Sharma packs on & loses 10 kgs for Rab Se Sohna Isshq

Prembabu Sharma

Ashish Sharma has carved a niche for himself in the TV industry by playing historical characters on the small screen, so it comes as a surprise to find him as the lead of Zee TV’s Rab Se Sohna Isshq where he plays the role of Ranveer, a very modern Punjabi munda who harbours dreams of going to London. He has been cast with newbie Ekta Kaul who has already got the industry buzzing with her Kashmiri good looks.

In your previous show, we saw you sport a lean body and now with just a few months, you have beefed up quite a bit. Have you been specially preparing for the role in any way?

I had a lean frame since I was playing a warrior king in my previous show. To play a Punjabi guy in Rab se Sohna Isshq, I had to put on muscle. I developed a more desi, somewhat bulkier physique for the part of the show where my character, Ranveer, is in Punjab. And now, I am fast losing all that weight for the portions where Ranveer is in London because he’s working hard to survive. The physicality in both the portions reflects the two phases of his life. Just like films stars need to prepare for certain roles, even we take our jobs very seriously when it comes to looking and acting the part. The physicality helps us live the character better.

Tell us a little more about your character Ranveer?
Ranveer has always been in love with London. A small-town “dude” or “hero”, Ranveer has the ladies of Punjab swooning after him. But he only loves Saahiba, his childhood sweetheart. The only difference is, his love for living the big life in London clearly takes precedence over all the other loves in his life. So when after years of trying, he finally lands a chance to live out his big London dream on the day of his wedding, he leaves Saahiba helpless at the altar. He does this in the most good natured way, mind you! Leaving her a note and knowing fully well that she will understand his situation. In his head, he hasn’t deserted his love. He’s just chasing his dream and paving the way for a better life with her. The show follows this starry-eyed, ambitious boy as he embarks on a journey of hope to London with his love interest Saahiba in tow!

Any special tips to the young men out there who might be looking to emulate your physique?
Those who aren’t actors needn’t juggle from lean to bulky and back. It’s great to maintain a stable body type. Be consistent in your approach towards fitness. Personally, I did have to eat a lot to bulk up in such a short span of time but a large part of it was also a lot of exercise. I did lot of akhada-style workouts, which helped me get that pehelwaan look for the Punjab leg of the shoot which shows my character’s life in small town Punjab. Then for the three month London schedule, I am fast losing all the bulk as I’m expected to look leaner. I have cut down on carbohydrates and do a lot of cardiovascular exercises. That’s how I was able to lose 10 kg of bulk.

We hear rumours that you are a certified workaholic and fitness freak. Are these rumours true?
If loving your job qualifies you as a workaholic then yes, I am one for sure! And I have always been a very active kid. Since my childhood days I have been very active and very into sports as a person. I don’t get much time to work out so I swim and cycle to keep myself fit. I like the fact that the audience does notice the hard work that I put in to maintain my physique and there is nothing better than having your hard work appreciated!

How has the shoot experience of Rab Se Sohna Isshq been so far? How is it bonding with the actors there?
The team has the right attitude. We have all got along very well. Kanan (Malhotra) and I bond over our fitness goals. Ekta, though, a newcomer, has blended in so well with the rest. She’s a hardworking girl and we made sure she feels at home around us. Since we’ve been so caught up shooting, we’re all waiting for a chance to explore London in a leisurely manner sometime soon. The erratic rainy weather here in London tends to upset the shoot and with the whole city in preparation for Olympics, there are several obstacles in our path’s a first time for me to shoot abroad and the experience is a learning, to say the least! Hope audiences will love the effort we’ve all put in on this show.. I received many congratulatory messages and calls from friends in India after the first episode was aired saying we have captured today’s youth with respect to language, attitude and outlook very well in all the three lead characters of Ranveer, Saahiba and Daljeet.

Given that this is your first trip to London, any thoughts?
I am happy to fly to cooler climes anywhere after suffering the 47 degree scorching heat of our Punjab outdoors. Although I also hope to get in a bit of sight seeing . after all, London is a place that anyone would love to explore. There are a thousand places to visit . The Trafalgar square, the Big Ben, the beautiful London bridge, museums, bistros, coffee shops . I’d love catch the Olympics games if I can! I’d also like to go and pick up a few choice gifts for my loved ones back home.