Having acted in over 250 films, across 11 languages including Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, English, Odia, Marathi and Bengali, Ashish Vidyarthi is a household name. The actor is known for now being picky about his projects so when we know that he is starring in the action-drama series Aar Ya Paar on Disney+ Hotstar, it has to be something special. In a conversation with Hindustan Times, he shared how he refused the offer initially until director Goldie Behl stepped in.
Sharing how he came on board, Ashish said, “I loved the story but I did not like the part when I was offered.” He said he didn’t like the way his part was initially written. “Goldie approached me and I told him the same thing. Then they worked on it. That is when I got on board after I felt good about how they carved my character.”
Releasing on December 30, Aar Ya Paar puts Ashish in a negative role of a corporate biggie who can go to great lengths to get his job done, at any cost. While the 60-year-old actor is best known for his dark roles, has any of them left a negative impact on him?
He firmly answered, “No, these are all roles of a professional actor. I have done many such roles. Having said that, yes, certain actions of the role do make you think. That’s when you can talk to the director and tell them to do things slightly differently. At the end of the day, I am not playing a positive or negative role, I am playing that person. I do what the person would have done. I work with that belief. Uske baad kuch aisa nahin hota ki (after that there is nothing like) we are carrying the character home.”
Often heavy roles leave a strong impact on the minds of the audience. Mixing up reel characters with actors in real life is common. He weighs in, “It happens. You are making an impression on people and they start believing it, it’s a part of the deal. As an actor, you stop being surprised by anything like this after a while. You are reaching into the lives of the audience. An altered reality is created in a way that people watch you during their personal moments. I personally feel grateful that people give me so much acceptance and love.”
Aar Ya Paar brings back the memories of Ashish Vidyarthi sharing the frame with actor Paresh Rawal as the latter’s son Aditya Rawal stars in it. When asked about Aditya, Ashish described him as a ‘passionate and talent actor’. “Uski aanko me dikhta hai woh kuch karna chahata hain (he wants to do something in his life, it’s visible in his eyes). He is not sitting on the laurels of his father. I have seen a hard-working actor in him whose talented enough to take on things. Woh badhega aage (He will go ahead in life).”
Having worked with Paresh and Aditya Rawal, the actor also pointed out a similarity between them. “Aankhein uski Paresh Bhai ke jaise hain. I find him very hungry for work, I really liked it.”
Having decades of experience in the industry, Ashish started his career with theatre in Delhi and came to Mumbai to foray into Hindi films. After spending nine years, he explored South films. Besides acting, he is also a motivational speaker and a vlogger in recent times.
Sharing his mantra on staying relevant for such a long time, he spilled the secret, “Apart from being an actor, I travel the world for motivational speaking sessions. A year and a half back I started vlogging, and discovered how much I love it. My essential thing is that as a human being, actor and traveller, I love to continuously update myself. That’s how the journey is. It’s not like I continuously need to update myself. I just look at amazing things around me. Once I am inspired by it, I start using those in my life.”
The actor talked about staying out of work for quite some years. He said he was getting a similar kind of work, which didn’t interest him. So has he outgrown the pitfalls with the kind of offers right now? He opined, “Thanks to OTT platforms, there’s a plethora of opportunities that have come up. I am actually getting challenging roles now. Earlier, I wasn’t getting such roles. I did not have much work because I kept saying no. Now for every role, I say no to, I have another challenging role coming up that I can take. OTT has created this opportunity for many actors, writers and directors who want to do something different.”