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Posted at: Aug 18, 2019, 8:03 AM; last updated: Aug 18, 2019, 8:03 AM (IST)

‘I’m 50 % of what I play’

Opulent sets, a timeless story, larger-than-life character—Punjabi boy Naavi Bhangu is enjoying playing Lakshman in Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush

Mona

When playing Arjun in his last show, the idea did cross Naavi Bhangu’s mind that if he were to play another mythological character, it would be Lakshman. Lo and behold, he is offered exactly that in Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush.

Opulent sets, a timeless story, this Punjabi guy is loving every moment of playing the devoted brother. “You know what, I am at least 50 per cent of what I play in my shows,” he opens up rather excitedly. Respect for the elder brothers (he’s got two, he being the youngest in the family), immense respect for bhabhi and short temper – are what Naavi shares in his real and reel life. “But to get the rest of 50 per cent spot on is still a huge challenge.”

Naavi, who belongs to Nurmahal, Jalandhar, started his career in Chandigarh with a dream of seeing himself on screen. He was featured in umpteen Punjabi music videos, serials and a film Hashar: A Love Story with Babbu Mann. His telly outing happened by sheer luck. “I got an audition call after someone saw me in the song, Khanjar,” shares the actor, who skipped the Mumbai struggle.

“Though I live in Mumbai, my heart still lies in Chandigarh. Clean, wide roads, lip-smacking food are the things what Naavi misses the most. “Be it late nights at Aroma or Phase 7- Mohali market or Sector 35 joints in Chandigarh, I have had the best of the times there.”

Why so much interest in mythological shows? “There has always been. Earlier, our elders would read us the Gita or tell us anecdotes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Now, the visual medium has taken over and hence these mythological shows.” Naavi swears by the opulence of the sets that are erected in Umbergaon, Gujarat. “If you were bowled over by Baahubali or Padmaavat, our set designs give them a tough competition.”

Quiz him on his favourite character from the Ramayana. It’s not Ram but Sita who touches his soul. “Some might think that she was a princess wronged, for me she remains an epitome of strength, a princess who took her own decisions.” 

We also want to know if repeatedly being part of the stories from the past affects life in some way. “Well, if you are in that time zone 12-15 hours each single day, it does have a rub-on effect.” Naavi would love to replicate those filial bonds that are shown in our epics, “Matlab wife ho to Sita si ho (wife should be like Sita),” he laughs. And, yes, he is raring to be a part of a Punjabi flick, “The industry has seen such a momentous rise, I would love to act in a film in my mother tongue, my milieu.”

As and when he gets time Naavi heads home. “I recently spent a month in Punjab, just being with my family, and had geris of Chandigarh. I visited all my relatives who were upset because I didn’t visit them since long and I ate to my heart’s content.”

In normal routine, this fitness freak watches each morsel he takes, squeezes short workouts in between shots taking inspiration from Youtube videos and heads to the gym when there is time.

mona@tribunemail.com

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