I got my dream début with Ashutosh Gowariker: Sahil Salathia
Sahil Salathia, who is not a new face in the glamour business, has made his acting début in filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker’s maiden television show ‘Everest’. In an exclusive chat with Vibhuti Jaitly, this Jammu lad shares his experience of working with the ace director, his career and more.
The television serial is already getting rave reviews from all corners due to its unique concept and storyline.
How did you become the protagonist 'Arjun Sabharwal' in the show 'Everest'? Did the role require any special training?
Nalini Rathnam, the casting director of the show got me in touch with Ashutosh Gowariker. Gowariker took my audition and I had to undergo 8-10 look tests before I could play ‘Arjun Sabharwal’. The character of ‘Arjun’ is quite complex and has many layers to it. He is larger-than-life, unpredictable and has a strong persona.
I also had to undergo trekking and camping training in Kolad, Maharashtra as part of the preparation for my role. Along with this, I attended some acting workshops. I had to nail my character, as the producer of this show Gowariker is a perfectionist and he took care of the fact that I looked different in terms of playing the protagonist.
Tell us about your journey to reach 'Everest'. How was it working with an award winning filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker?
The journey to Everest Base Camp has been fantastic. We had to shoot under extreme weather conditions. The temperature used to drop to about minus six degrees in Dokriani Glacier in Uttarakhand, which is at a height of 14,000 feet. We were warned not to take a bath while shooting in the glacier, lest we’d fall prey to frost bites. I didn’t bathe for 30 straight days! (chuckles)
Working with Ashutosh Gowariker is like a dream come true. I couldn’t have asked for a better acting début. He is such a perfectionist and a humble man. He is a well behaved man who never loses his temper and treats everybody with respect on the set—right from the spot boy to the main lead. I got lucky to bag a dream debut role and work under him.
How was it working with the other 'leads' in 'Everest'? Was there any competition?
I shared a great equation with Shamata Anchan and Rohan Gandotra, who are the other two leads in the show. This is a great launch pad for the three of us. In fact, during the shooting, the whole unit would call us ‘SRS’ (Sahil, Rohan, Shamata). We bonded so well that there wasn’t a sense of competition at all.
What is the USP of 'Everest'? How is this serial different from other soaps/serials on television?
Oh it has way too many! This is the first time that the ace director Ashutosh Gowariker and music composer AR Rahman have teamed up for a television show, which in itself is a great combo.
It is an inspirational show which carries a message for the audiences. The concept is so different and you will relate to all the three characters and their journey. As and when the show proceeds, audiences will realise that it is packed with adventure, drama and emotions. I would say, it is a perfect package!
You have dabbled in modelling, reality shows, participated in Mr Asia and now a Television serial. Did you always want to be in the glamour world?
I am a software engineer by qualification. Modelling just happened to me and one thing led to another. I participated in the reality show 'MF101' in 2010, which helped me gain immense popularity. I also represented India in Mr Asia 2012. I finished in the top five.
All this happened by accident. I guess I am God’s special child and he wanted this way for me. He has a plan for me.
When is Bollywood calling you? Are there any projects in the pipeline for you?
I have two movie offers, but I can’t disclose much about them at this moment. Also, I have a contract with Ashutosh Gowariker Productions Pvt Ltd (AGPPL) till the end of this year.
What are your future plans? Do you only want to stick to television at the moment?
I am open to good work. As long as it is a good role and a great script which captures my attention, I am game for anything. I am keen on doing meaningful television shows and equally good cinema. Even regional cinema is on my wish list for that matter. Language is not a barrier for me. But having said that, I am only open for doing lead roles at the moment.