Wehave often seen him in different characters, sometimes he is a villain and sometimesa father figure. The Man who wanted to live many lives in one life chose actingas his career and began his journey with theatres. You have seen him asMadhavan’s father in the film Tanu weds Manu, as a villainous Political leaderin Rang De Basanti, apart from acting he is a screenplay writer, a dialoguewriter and a producer. The audience of the 90’s era remembers him as Dr. Watson-likeside-kick Ajit in the 1993 Doordarshan detective series Byomkesh Bakshi. People with strong memory will recognize him immediatelyand those with not so good memory are still racking their brains. K K Raina,the man we are talking about, is a veteran and a versatile actor, writer andproducer.

The actor who will be returning tothe small screen after almost 22 years speaks to us about this move and abouthis new serial “Upanishad Ganga”.

·        What is UpanishadGanga?

Upanishad Ganga is a serial whichwill bring the audience closer to the Indian Philosophy. This serial is a meansto understand our vedas and Upanishads. We usually talk so highly of our vedas,upanishads, our values and our culture but not many of us know the depth of it,not many of us have the apt knowledge of it. This serial gives audience theteachings of the Upanishads and vedas. Appropriate stories are picked up andseamed in; in such a way that it takes you back to that era.

·        Tell us somethingabout your character in this serial.

Well, I don’t play just one character but many characters. Like I toldyou, different stories have been picked up and weaved to give audience themessage of Upanishads .So I have played the character ofHaridas,Chanakya,Narad, Yajnavalkya etc.

·        Which one of these has been yourfavorite character?


Actuallyall have been my favorite but the playing Chanakya and Narad was quietinteresting. Also I have played a sage who is a north Indian saint who goes tosouth India.This role was also very interesting. This north Indian saint when goes to southdoesn’t know the south Indian language but learns only one word which he usesfor all the conversations. The word “Parvailla” which means all is well is usedthroughout the episode by the character which is a challenge in itself. Playingsuch characters was challenging as well as interesting

·        Playing character of Chanakya which wasearlier played by Dr Chandra Prakash Dwivedi who is also the director of thisserial, was there any stress that you might not be able to play it quiet aswell as Dwivedi ji?


Therewas no such a thing as stress. In fact the way I have played Chanakya, I haveadded a new dimension to it. Chanakya played by Dr saheb was quiet serene and peacefulbut I have played him aggressive and strong.

·        Do you think that the serial willappeal to the youth?

Franklyspeaking the serial is meant for those who wish to watch something intellectualand not the saas-bahu sagas. Having said that, I feel the concepts of Upanishadare relevant even today and so it will appeal to the masses. I say this becausethe right to education which we so talk about in this era was actually proposedin that era by Chanakya. The problems which we tackle now, they have alreadybeen through those problems and the answers of which are given but what we needto do is develop these answers.


·        How was the experience of working inthis serial?


Overall the experience of working in this serial was very interesting. This serialbecame a medium to understand our culture and ethos. It changed the way I lookat life. For me, it was like reliving and revisiting the history. Some jobs youdo it for the sake of it and some jobs make you grow as a human being, youalleviate yourself intellectually and this serial did that to me.


Why did you leavethe world of small screen? Why did you agree to do this serial after so many years?


Some22 years ago I had done a serial called as Byomkesh Bakshi and which turned outto be my last serial. I left it in the first place because I am much used toworking in a theatric format where the scripts are given beforehand. Working inthe serial you get scripts on the day of the shoot which is what I don’t likeabout it. However, when Dr saheb approached me for this serial he assured methat he will give me scripts before the shoot and so I agreed.


·        Sir you have also acted with BenKingsley in Gandhi tell us about that experience.

Yousee, acting is a lonely job. You need passion for acting. It’s not everyone’scup of tea and this I realized after working with Ben Kingsley. During theshoot when I visited Sir Ben Kingsley’s suite I saw that the entire suite hadpictures and books on Mahatma Gandhi. Sir Ben even had a charkha and knew howto use. This is how it dawned upon me that acting is not everyone’s job. Youhave to live the life of the character you are going to enact.


·        What are you future ventures?

Iam working on a movie which will be Kashmir centric,working with DD urdu and doing a play called Namaste.