Such is his popularity that even the television-illiterate are aware of Shabir Ahluwalia. The actor has been a household name for decades and has fronted one of the most popular shows, Kumkum Bhagya. As he completes five years on the much-loved daily soap, Ahluwalia talks about how the drama holds a special place in his life and his impending web debut with ALTBalaji's Fixer.
- The show oscillates between the separation and reunion of lead characters Pragya and Abhi. Do you ever get tired of the plot?
One doesn't get bored as long as the story is following a natural progression. There may be days when you don't agree with a track. But then you understand that in a long-running show, these tracks help the storyline move forward. Everything falls into place when you see the larger perspective. It's not easy to tell a story for five years. Kumkum is one of the best shows I have done to date.
- You've been working with Sriti Jha for five years. How has your equation changed over time?
It feels as if we completed our primary education together (laughs). She is a fantastic actor and a great human being. Sriti has been one of the nicest co-stars I've had.
- Close on the heels of Kumkum Bhagya's time-leap announcement, came news that you're venturing into the web. Does that mean you are quitting the show?
I don't know who is spreading these rumours. Kumkum is my baby; the show has given me everything. I am still on air, trying my best to entertain the audience. Hopefully, they will lap up what's in store after the generation leap.
- What made you greenlight Fixer?
The web has kicked off in a big way. I was waiting for the right script to foray into the OTT space. One of the factors that convinced me to come on board for Fixer was that Sohum Shah would be on the director's chair. The script is engaging, with a non-linear narrative. Plus, I play a disgraced cop. It is in contrast with what I have been doing on Kumkum Bhagya. This will be an opportunity for my fans to see me in new light.
- You have done several shows under Ekta Kapoor's banner. Is she the only one offering you interesting projects or is this your loyalty to the camp?
I work with other production houses as well, but if I have to choose, I will always opt for a Balaji project. Everyone likes to work in their comfort zone with regard to the production house. Balaji is more than family to me. The comfort level I have with them is unparalleled. They have made me what I am today.