by Asjad Nazir

SOME stars chase after the spotlight and then there are others like talented Indian actor Vivian Dsena, who concentrate on working hard every day and doing the best they can.

The small-screen superstar has been rewarded for his incredible
work ethic with a series of winning turns including his hit serial Shakti – Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki and recently being voted the sexiest Indian man on the planet.

When Eastern Eye caught up with Vivian for a free-flowing conversation about his work, fans, inspirations and grounded nature, he was on set working. His thoughtful answers immediately made it obvious how much his fans meant to him.

How do you look back on your time as an actor?
So far so good, and I have been content with whichever characters I have played so far. I have never differentiated between characters as an actor because they are all close to my heart, and all have a special place.

Has it been a conscious decision on your part to focus on the work ahead of the stardom?
Yes, for me the work is the priority. I am Vivian Dsena, I go to work and then I go home, where I am my mom’s son. I really don’t focus on the stardom, what I am known for or how many awards I have collected. I really am not even bothered about these things.

So what keeps you so grounded?
My mother. Whenever she sees a certain behaviour change or there is a point where I am thinking a lot of myself, she will put me in my place and say, ‘come back to reality’. I think that my mother keeps me grounded always. And of course my close friends, they make sure they do the same, although I do live a very simple life.

You must be proud of the amazing success of Shakti – Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki.
Yes, I am very proud of Shakti. I am also thankful and grateful. All my gratitude towards [channel] Colors that they thought I would be the one to do justice to (my character) Harman. When I was offered the show by Rashmi Sharma Telefilms, I knew her reputation of making female centric shows. I am known to do male-centric shows, so it did not match with my kind of work, but they said, ‘we want this guy to be very important.’ That is why Rashmi was making it and it was not only female-centric.

Did you think the show would be too daring for Indian television?
Yes, I did. Honestly speaking, my first reaction when Colors narrated the show to me was, ‘guys this is a risky subject and it will be very sensitive.’ I said that we might harm a lot of people’s emotions and sentiments.

But it made an incredible impact. What has been your favourite moment on the Shakti – Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki journey?
I think the Punjab outdoor shooting. That was the best outdoor shoot.

What has the support of fans meant to you?
It means everything to me. Nobody knew who Vivian Dsena was seven years back. They made me a household name and so it is all given by them. I am a nobody without my fans’ support. They are my heroes.

Have you got used to all the love you receive on a daily basis?
(Smiles) I am getting used it now. I used to be very surprised that there were so many people in the world who were showing me so much love. Initially I thought it was just people in India who love me and then slowly I realised there were fans in the Middle East, the US, the UK and everywhere else. So there is love coming from all over the world and I really appreciate it. It feels great and now I am getting used to it.

How do you feel about being voted the highest placed Indian male in Eastern Eye’s annual 50 Sexiest Asian Men in the World list, even ahead of all the Bollywood stars?
I can’t thank the fans enough. As they say, you have a lot of enemies around you and by that I don’t mean any type of competitors. It could be anybody because when you have good people, you have bad people. Like ying and yang, which I believe in. Similarly God sends you angels and the fans are my angels, who have been sent to make, support and help me. I was not born with any type of godfather in Bollywood. I was the guy who was struggling on the streets of Mumbai like so many others. So I came from nowhere and
everything is all thanks to them.

Today what motivates you most?
The fans. Sometime back, my fans saw me gaining weight and were talking about it so I started working out. I was actually suffering with back-to-back injuries. I was on complete bed rest for a week because of my lower back injury and couldn’t get up, which people didn’t know about. I started to weight train and lose some weight. So they motivate me in different ways and keep driving me to work even harder. They are my reason for carrying on. Every day I wake up and look forward to a good day because of them, motivated to work on a good scene, on a good show.

Do you have a dream role you would love to play in the future?
I don’t have a dream role, but I don’t like repeating myself in terms of characters. All my roles are different to each other. But there is one character I would like to repeat. I would like to play a vampire again.

How about making a move to cinema?
I have no plans for cinema. No one has offered me a Bollywood film. (Laughs) Maybe now that I have been named the sexiest Indian and second sexiest Asian, they will. They might say, ‘he looks good enough to audition him for a role.’

What are your big passions away from work?
I like travelling to my home town of Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh. I can easily take a flight to the city, but I enjoy the 20-hour journey by road. It is one of the best roads the country has ever had, between the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. So it is a good place to drive and you see a lot of mountains and rivers. It is a very scenic drive. So if I take a five-day holiday, two days will be spent travelling and I will be in
my hometown for three days.

The fans seem to know everything about you. Tell us something not many people know
about you?
(Laughs) The fans know everything about me. In fact, they are the ones tell me things I had forgotten about myself. Fans and the media are two groups of people who will tell you more details than you know about yourself.

What inspires you?
My mum says, ‘God has given you something you should respect and today you are known as Vivian Dsena, and earlier you were known as my son.’ My mother was an athlete and someone who has received various awards. She also served the Indian Railways for 42 years. She tells me, ‘you were always known as my son, but now I am known as your mother. God has made this transition in your life, which is as good as a revolution.’ To have a place and name in this city is difficult – people can spend 25 years here and get nowhere. I was lucky enough with my mother’s blessings, fans and viewers by my side. So she
says, ‘respect what has been gifted to you and give it your 100 per cent.’

Finally, would you like to give a message to your fans?
I love them all and they know it. I think in my past life I did good karma to deserve fans like these. They have been sent down from a higher power.