Grateful I'm still relevant, says Karan Kundrra as he turns werewolf for new television series playing now in UAE

The popular Indian actor and host talked to City Times ahead of the release of the supernatural-themed 'Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal'


Enid Grace Parker

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Published: Wed 15 Feb 2023, 3:38 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 4:32 PM

Karan Kundrra is anything but complacent about the direction his career path has taken over the last 14 years.

“I’m grateful to God that I’m still relevant,” the 38-year-old actor told City Times in an interview ahead of the premiere of his latest show, Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal.

Karan, who made his debut on the small screen with the 2009 drama Kitani Mohabbat Hai, said that after over a decade of attempting to prove his worth as a television (Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Dil Hi To Hai) and film (Mubarakan, Jatt Romantic) actor as well as reality show contestant and host (Bigg Boss 15, Dance Deewane Juniors), “It’s safe to say I’ve carved my own niche.”

The fans seem to agree. With over 4 million followers on Instagram, Karan is one of India’s most loved and recognised faces from the entertainment industry. A stint on reality show Bigg Boss and a very publicised romance with fellow contestant Tejasswi Prakash only served to amp up his appeal. Now, the star is hoping to drum up excitement for Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal, which premiered February 13 on Colors TV.

Supernatural drama

A fantasy drama that marks Karan’s return to the fiction genre on television after years of hosting, judging and competing in reality shows, Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal is the story of two brothers who compete for the affections of the same girl. Both are bhediyas (werewolves), and what ensues seems to be a Vampire Diaries’ type web of action and romance that will definitely make for some breezy guilty-pleasure viewing.

“It’s a very intense love story,” said Karan, who has earlier starred in projects with a supernatural theme, like MTV Fanaah and the films Horror Story and 1921; however, he said this is his first “mainstream, big-budget, large-scale” foray into the genre.

“The supernatural element in Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal really adds a lot of mystery and intrigue. Visually, it’s a very different kind of experience that we are trying to bring to the audiences this time.”

Praising the way the show “has been shot, written, the layers, the characters,” Karan said his character Veer presented a “really exciting” challenge which is why he chose to do the show.

The actor revealed he’s a “big-time fan” of any “sci-fi, supernatural, horror, ghost” stuff.

Karan’s co-stars on Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal are Gashmeer Mahajani (Deool Band, Muskurake Dekh Zara) and Reem Shaikh (Tu Aashiqui, Tujhse Hai Raabta). “Gashmeer is a brilliant guy,” said Karan, adding, “I think he’s extremely hardworking, very meticulous and totally inspires me to do even better. Reem on the other hand has her own legacy; she’s done so much work. So all three of us know what we need to bring to the table and that’s how we’ve come together to make a fabulous show. We hope that all the people who follow us are happy to watch it.”

A still from 'Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal'
A still from 'Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal'

A nation’s crush

He laughed when we asked him how he felt about the immense love from fans, including comments like “you were my first crush on television!”

“It’s very sweet! It’s beautiful, and a blessing, I guess.”

Karan attributes his enduring appeal over the last 14 years to not following “a set format” where work was concerned.

“After my first film, people were like, ‘no, now you should do this’, ‘you should do that,’ but these people were not the ones who had actually made it. They were just advising. And at that time I said, ‘no, I’m going to do what I think is right.’ And they all said ‘you will fail.’ I guess now it’s safe enough to say that I haven’t.”

Bigg Boss time

Karan has some powerful A-list backing in Salman Khan. He recently appeared with his Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal co-stars on the finale of Bigg Boss 16, hosted by the Bollywood superstar.

“I have this big-ticket show; like Salman Khan said - it doesn’t get bigger than Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal, for a show on television.”

Karan, who also has two films releasing this year, admitted it’s too early to say whether Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal will work, but, “I’m happy I have been part of things that I had conviction in. And I can say today that I had trust (in something) and I’ve done it.

Being back on the Bigg Boss set was nostalgic for the actor, who recalled memorable moments from his own stint last year on the show, with former house-mate Nishant Bhat.

“It was nice, coming back there; I was inside the house performing with Shiv Thakare, Shalin Bhanot, Priyanka Chahar Choudhary and Nishant, who was choreographing. It was quite fun, but I really like where we’ve reached in that one year. So much has happened, and fans were very happy that I went there to promote my show.”

Taking risks in his career and ignoring ‘advice’ from various quarters has evidently paid off for Karan. “I guess it takes time, a lot of hard work and persistence to set your own path and do what you believe in. So these 14 years have been interesting, in particular the last one year.”

‘Getting written off was a reality’

Karan also feels the growth of OTT platforms has been a blessing for all actors. “It’s always better to have more avenues. The industry is massive. There was a time in the 90s and the early 2000s, when getting written off was a reality. We used to hear horror stories. Overnight people would disappear, big stars at that, and after that, how would their families survive, how would they run the household? It’s a very sad story which nobody really focuses on, but thanks to television becoming bigger and bigger, OTT platforms and OTT-specific original films, there is a lot for us actors to do. At the end of the day we have our EMIs to pay, we have families to provide for. Everyone should get opportunities, and it’s not about just the top five or seven people who are ruling everything!”

Love is in the air

Karan is currently experiencing a high not only in his professional but also his personal life. He recently celebrated his second Valentine’s Day with beau Tejasswi Prakash and wrote her a sweet note on the occasion.

Did he ever imagine something like this (love on the sets of a reality show) would happen to him?

“(Laughs) I used to advise people not to, because you’re on a reality show, emotions are heightened. My life has been a surprise. It’s doing really well; I think (about) how time flies and we sit sometimes and discuss (things like)… remember that time when we didn’t even know… (laughs). I think it’s pretty blissful when the fingers on our hands intermingle; life becomes very good.”

Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal is showing Monday through Friday at 9pm on Colors TV in UAE.

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