Who dares, wins hearts

Who dares, wins hearts

telly star

Who dares, wins hearts

“Do you know I had turned down the invitation to be a part of Khatron Ke Khiladi, Season 6!” exclaims actor Ashish Chowdhry, also the winner of the same gruelling television show! “I couldn’t bear the idea of staying away from my kids for over two months and I said no to the producers of the show. It was my wife, Samita, who sat me down and explained to me that it was a great career opportunity, and that it would work well if I participated in it. And here I am! I’ve won!” he smiles rather dishily, with the feeling sinking in slowly and surely.

Of course, Ashish Chowdhry is no stranger to the adrenaline-pumping stunts on the silver screen, having starred in blockbusters like Total Dhamaal, Bhoothnath, Fight Club — Members Only, EMI... “But my perspectives have changed over the years, now that I am a father to five kids: Agasthya (5), Salara and Sammah, six-month-old twins, and Kanishq (18), and Ananya (13). I have to earn for them now and save for their future,” he says seriously.

How tough was it pushing himself to perform each daring act on the show? “The toughest was getting into the pond with the crocodiles,” recalls Ashish. “It was a crazy manoeuvre; the others were unwilling to take it on. What prompted me was that my kids would eventually watch the act on television. They were just so excited about me signing up for the show. I could not afford to “look” scared, even though I was quite psyched out about the task. I told myself that this was the best way I could teach my kids to be strong, by setting an example myself.”

Perhaps his children had the feeling that he would win... “Well, who doesn’t want to win? But you know, everyone can’t. That is the way I explain things to my brood,  too. The longer I stayed in the show, with each successful stunt performed, it spelt more income for me and my family,” he maintains.

“You know something, I have more value for things now than I did 10 years ago. I lost my sister and brother-in-law in the tragic terrorist attack in Mumbai (2008), and took on their kids Kanishq and Ananya as my own. There is more to life than simply buying a coveted watch or a swanky car. My family fulfils me at an innate level,” he says honestly. “Believe it or not, I have never stayed on, even for an extra day, after my shoots have wrapped up, in whichever part of the world I have been in. I always want to finish my work and get back to my family. Nothing else matters. So much so that Samita calls me “manny” — a man nanny — as I do much more for them than she does!” he says, bursting into laughter.

So, here is a champion, and a contemporary dad who confesses to doing everything for his kids — from changing diapers, to shopping with them, to bathing the little ones. “I take after my father. He spent so much time with me and my sister — clip our nails, give us a nice champi (hair oil massage), go all the way to Crawford Market to buy us a Toblerone in those days, take us to Hanging Gardens in Mumbai on Sundays...

“I work hard at looking good because I want to look good for my kids,” says Ashish honestly, who has also turned entrepreneur, in addition to being an actor.

Though he has starred in many Bollywood blockbusters, Ashish is best known for playing the role of rich guy Raghav Singhania in Ek Mutthi Aaasmaan.

“That serial has brought me the kind of fan following that I never imagined. Movies could never get me the same fame. Television has proved to be a godsend,” he sums up with a smile.

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