Those who have been following Baba Ramdev, can watch his life unfold on screen with GEC channel Discovery Jeet’s Swami Ramdev: Ek Sangharsh. Kranti Prakash Jha, the M S Dhoni: The Untold Story-fame actor, is set to play the title role in the series, which is going on air from February 12.
The finite show is produced by Ajay Devgn Film Production (his production house debuts into TV production with this) and Watergate Production. Kranti says that like any other show, he gave an audition and look test before bagging the show.
“I was informed by the production house that I have been selected and I couldn’t stop thanking my stars and everyone who has supported me in my journey in Mumbai. It’s a privilege when you get to play such a character. I consider playing Ramdevji’s character as a big step and huge change in my life. I am thankful to everyone who thought that I can play this character and I am working very hard towards it,” says the actor.
Kranti adds that a lot of hard work has gone into getting the nuances of character and body language correct. “I had very little time to prepare before we started shooting for the show. Because we are talking about yog and not yoga. In India, we talk about yoga but people don’t know that there’s nothing called yoga; it’s yog. Maharishi Patanjali brought yog to the country but sadly, until and unless someone from the West comes and tells us something, we do not take it seriously,” he says.
The actor says that when Ramdev Baba met him, he had examined Kranti on two parameters. “He first asked me how much I know about his life and ideologies and he wanted me to do a few yog asanas, which I did. Since that day, I wake up at 5.30 am, practise yog till 7 am and then reach the sets by 7.30 am,” he says.
Is he nervous about how the audience will react to the show and his character? “I couldn’t sleep the entire night a day before the shoot was about to begin. Suddenly I realised that I have a huge responsibility because people will know about Ramdevji’s life through me. I wasn’t sure how I will play the character,” he says, adding that his mother helped him calm down. “When I spoke to my mother, she said, ‘You do your best. Don’t think that you are playing the character of Swamiji (Baba Ramdev) but think that you have got work and you need to give your best. Don’t think about what the outcome will be.’ Swamiji had also told me something similar,” he says.
The actor says that the pressure was also because child actor Naman Jain, playing the younger version of Ramdev Baba in the show, had done a beautiful job.
The actor says that his connection with Ramdev Baba is beyond the show. “In 2002, my father was not keeping well and I had heard that Patanjali Ayruved had opened their centre in Patna. I had visited their centre and bought medicines for my father, which had helped him. I developed a certain kind of trust for Patanjali because of that. I have been using their products for a long time now. I could relate to the show because the place I belong to is similar to what the show portrays and I have also studied in a gurukul. I have seen these things closely,” he says.
Kranti, who has worked in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, says that he could feel several changes within himself since he started working on the show. “When you hear Swamiji’s ideologies, it kind of takes you back to your roots. Sadly, we are losing touch with our roots because outsiders tell us what to do. Let’s not forget our roots, culture and mother-tongue,” he concludes.