'I was sold on a one-line description': Mohit Raina on making digital debut with Kaafir
After making a promising Bollywood debut with Uri: The Surgical Strike, actor Mohit Raina is back in the conflict zone once again with Kaafir, a web-series that features him and Dia Mirza. However, this time he is playing the role of a journalist cum lawyer. And, interestingly, it was only a one-line description that brought him on board for Kaafir.
“Our producer, Siddharth Malhotra, told me one line and I was sold then and there. He said it is a story of a female who crosses the border by mistake and how a lawyer changes her life. It is a story of humanity. And, it is based on a true story, I had to be a part of it,” says 36-year-old Mohit who has made his digital debut with Kaafir.
Written by Bhavani Iyer, Kaafir explores the story of a Pakistani woman who jumped into a river in Pakistan but ended up on the Indian side of the river. Since she didn’t have any supporting document, she was put behind the bars. Her sentence was meant to be for 12-15 months but it never came up for a review and she ended up serving the jail for about eight years before a lawyer found out and presented her case in the court.
This is Mohit’s first stint after Uri, which went on to become a mammoth success. Talking about what the film did for him, Mohit says, “As an actor, I always wanted to be a part of good scripts, irrespective of the length of the role. When it comes to Uri, I was very clear that I want to be a part of this subject. What did it do for me? It made me a part of the subject that will go down in history and whenever it will be remembered, my name would be attached to it. It also got me a lot of eyeballs because cinema is a medium that has a vast reach. A lot of producers and directors saw it and they saw me in a very different way, all this has helped me in bagging new opportunities.” Aptly so as Mohit’s next film, Shiddat starring him alongside Sunny Kausal, Radhika Madan and Diana Panty has already been announced. Besides, there is another film in the pipeline, informs the actor.
Interestingly, Mohit has spent over a decade doing television and he was immensely popular for his character of Lord Shiva in Devon Ke Dev – Mahadev. Luckily, it didn’t stereotype him as has happened with many who play mythological characters that go on to become very famous. “Earlier, if you are doing a mythological series that gets very popular, you will either continue to do that or get stuck in that image. Neither there were so many channels, nor was there OTT and content wasn’t the king. But, times have changed a lot and now, everybody is looking for good content and actors. It is the best phase for anyone to be a part of this industry,” he avers.
But, was being part of films always on his mind? “Whenever you want to join the film industry, there is a typical thing that’s on everybody’s mind - I want to be a hero. Nobody even knows what it means but assumes a hero to be someone who is surrounded by ladies, protected by guards and is asked for autographs. But, there is a lot that goes at the back in the business. When you come to the city and try to make ends meet, you understand the content and acting. It happened with me as well and slowly I figured what I want to do - I want to be a part of good content. Whether it’s TV or films, the motive was to be a part of good content and that’s what I crave even now. But, of course, growth is inevitable. And, after working in television for a long period of time, I also wanted to do different things in cinema and I was waiting, hoping that I would get the right subject, meet the right people and do the right thing. And, that is what Uri did for me,” he says.
And, what does he think Kaafir is going to do? “This show has a soul of its own and I would like to believe that the message ‘Humanity is my religion’ is going to make people think,” he concludes.