“I am a mad guy like Saxena in real life”, says Saanand Verma
Saanand Verma, a well-known name in television, OTT, and films, has become extremely popular for his portrayal of the hilarious and unique character of Anokhelal Saxena in &TV show Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai. The actor has been tickling the audience’s funny bone with his impeccable comic timing for seven years in the show. In this interview, Saanand talks about his journey in the entertainment industry, his current show, his dream roles, and his upcoming projects.
- How did your acting career begin and was it easy to get a foothold in the entertainment industry?
I was working for a corporate company and living a comfortable life. However, I have always felt that acting was my true calling. So, I quit my job and decided to pursue a career as an actor. It was a difficult journey, but I never gave up. I recall arriving in Mumbai with nowhere to stay. During the early days of my career, I remember sleeping in the stinky godown of a chemist’s shop. I used to walk for miles to give auditions. After resigning from my job, I put all my money into the house and sold my car because I couldn’t afford it. It was also impossible to afford a cab or rickshaw for daily travel. My acting career began with commercials, and many people are unaware that before Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain, I had appeared in over 20 television shows. I was fortunate to land the role of Anokhelal Saxena in ‘Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hain’ with the help of my director, Shashank Bali Ji, who gave me this opportunity and there was no turning back for me from that point on.
- What was your family’s reaction to your decision of pursuing acting professionally?
My family was supportive of my decision. Although I had a lot riding on me in terms of financial responsibilities, my parents wholeheartedly supported my decision to leave my corporate job and pursue a career as an actor. I want to thank my mother for all her blessings, as well as some wonderful and supportive people, that I was able to make it in this industry.
- Your character Anokhelal Saxena has become a household name. Were you expecting this kind of love when you started Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai?
Anokhelal Saxena is the first continuing role I have played, and I have appeared in nearly 1900 episodes over the last seven years. I am eternally grateful for the love and appreciation I have received as an artist. It gives you a lot of satisfaction as an artist when you can entertain your audience. ‘I like it’ when kids adore my character and try to imitate it. Their constant appreciation for the character helped me to give my best in the show and create a unique identity in the industry.
- What do you like the most about your character?
Anokhelal Saxena is very unusual, challenging, and very similar to my real-life personality. It is difficult for any actor to pull it off with humour without hurting sentiments. I am a mad guy like Saxena in real life too, and I guess that is why I can do justice to this quirky and unusual character (laughs).
- Apart from being an actor, how else do you want to entertain your fans?
I enjoy singing. Every morning, I like to get up at 5 for my riyaaz. However, due to my shooting schedule, I haven’t been able to do this for a while. Whenever I have time between shoots, I practice singing. Someday I hope to perform as a professional singer and entertain my fans.
- What are your upcoming projects?
I am working on two to three web series that will be released soon and doing a film with Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra starrer Capsule Gill, so stay tuned.
- What advice would you give to the actors who want to have a career in this industry?
It is very important to be confident and believe in your skillset. One must also have the determination to pursue acting, regardless of age, body type, or gender. Always follow your dreams and never give up. I believe that now is an excellent time to pursue acting as a career. This is because there are so many platforms to showcase your talent, including films, GEC channels, YouTube, and OTT.
Watch Saanand Verma as Anokhelal Saxena in &TV show Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai at 10:30 PM every Monday to Friday!