There are several popular television actors, such as Mrunal Jain, Shakti Arora as well as Shashank Vyas, who have made quite a name for themselves in Indonesia. However, the love for Indian actors there started long back. Actor Rohit Bhardwaj was one of the pioneers in Indonesia. While it was challenging, Rohit, who was known for his role of Yudhishtir in Mahabharat, remembers that time as a great experience. “I was there in 2014-2015. I worked there for almost a year. It was very challenging to work there. Along with doing dance shows and events, I also did a sales show which was pretty exciting. I got to learn the Indonesian language. I understood the culture and people. It was a live show and I used to judge it. The best part was that the image of Yudhishtir was broken and people started recognizing me as one of them. The show also got the best show award in Panasonic Global Awards in six months, so I felt very proud. And it was only because of the support of my co-actors there. So it was my biggest achievement. The respect they gave me was a big responsibility.”
There are so many ardent fans there, says Rohit. “The fame and adulation were such that there used to be mob attacks and everyone would scream my name. It was a great feeling. The respect that they give you is what makes you continue with the work that you are doing. They had so many names for me. They used to call me Roheeet. I used to play their local characters. They used to call me Chaka Tarup, who was a king. Then they used to call me Mulyono, he was a saint there, it is like a doctorate degree,” he adds.
The actor feels that a huge reason for this love is the cultural similarities between Indonesia and India. “The Indian culture is the oldest. Mahabharat comes into Top 5 shows of the world. Even the origin of Indonesian language comes from our Sanskrit language; so many cultural similarities gave a boom for Indian TV shows. Our culture is accepted and loved by everyone, the drama, the emotions, the romance is relatable for them,” he says.
Ask him how different is it to work in India and in Indonesia, and he says, “There is no such difference. I come from a theatre background, so creativity is what matters for me. I used to do the same things there, which I do here. Yes, the working style is different, the thinking is different.”
However, Rohit says that work should be a priority while taking up projects in Indonesia. “Indian actors are offered good money to work there. It is an individual choice. But they should not compromise with their creativity and image,” he says.