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    Ali Merchant returns to television to change his slick boy image

    YEH Hai Aashiqui’s ‘Disaster Series’ will feature love blossoming in situations like war, refugee camps and, as in the upcoming episode, floods. TV actor Ali Merchant, joins the long list of celebrities who have appeared on the show. Merchant, seen in Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki and Do Hanson Ka Jodaa, tells us more about his tube return.

    Your role in the show.
    I am a Punjabi boy, Rudra, who comes to Mumbai to better his life, only to get stuck in the infamous floods. The episode narrates how amidst the chaos, I meet a girl and fall in love.

    Saying yes to Rudra.
    I have been watching and following this show, so when they asked me to be part of it, (for the eighth time, in fact!), it was too tempting to turn down. I’ve never played a rugged man as I’m usually the clean-shaven, chocolate boy! So this was something I’ve always wanted to do. I also love the format of the show. It feels great to be back on the small screen; it’s like rejuvenation for me.

    Bigg Boss 4 and beyond.
    Being on Bigg Boss was the worst decision of my life. That said, nothing is black and white. It’s gray. So from that experience, I still gained something. It was emotionally disturbing but it taught me a few things about life!

    The evolution of Hindi serials.
    The whole game and genre has changed. Even the saas-bahu shows are more real and relatable. That speaks volumes for changing times and audience perceptions. It only means we are becoming more urban and realistic. For actors too it’s a good thing. We get to do roles that the audience can understand and actually empathise with. We are playing roles now, which we’d earlier only have wished for.

    Your next project.
    I’m not doing anything television related. I’m working with a friend on a chemical plant near Mumbai. We’re making useful products for worldwide distribution. I’ve had about eight years of TV and for now, that is enough. I’d like to meet real people for a while now. Until something as poignant as this role comes along, that is!

    The show airs on Sunday, at 7 pm, on Bindass.

    —Aakanksha Devi

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