Television heartthrob Gautam Rode, who shot to fame with Star Plus’ popular serial Saraswatichandra and has starred in a few successful male-dominated shows like Mahakumbh and Suryaputra Karn, among others, is all geared up to wow us with his stellar performance in Ananth Mahadevan’s upcoming film Aksar 2, which is a sequel to 2006 film Aksar. Besides Gautam, the sequel features Zareen Khan, Mohit Madaan and Abhinav Shukla in pivotal roles.

This 40-year-old hottie, who is engaged to his longtime beau and Suryaputra Karn co-star Pakhuri Awasthy, was one of the most eligible bachelors of television and the news that marriage is on cards soon for the actor has certainly had his female fans’ hearts broken. Gautam, who is currently on a promotional spree as his film is slated to release on November 17, in an exclusive interview with India.com, speaks about his experience working in Aksar 2, his co-star Zareen Khan, insights into his character and more. Excerpts from the interview.

You are returning to films after a gap of eight years – was it a conscious move or was it because you were busy with TV shows? 

Not really, I neither got the right kind of offers that I was expecting and nor was I interested in taking up projects randomly just for the sake of doing Bollywood films. At the same time, I got a lot of good offers from television and TV kept me busy for six years with different shows namely, Saraswatichandra, Suryaputra Karn, among others. Then, I was hosting reality show too, Nach Baliye Seasons (Season 5 and Season 6) and India’s Got Talent (Season 3), to name a few. So, I was busy with a lot of work on television. Also, I like to finish one thing and only then take up another. Aksar 2 happened to me when I was wrapping up Suryaputra Karan. I had got a call a from Mr Anant Mahadevan saying, “Please come and meet me.” I met the directors and then the producers; they narrated the script and I really liked it. I liked the character as I have never played such a character before and that’s what got me going and Aksar was a hit brand, so, there’s no saying no to it.

Your character will reportedly be a complex one, does it have shades of grey?

It has its own positivity, it has its own flaws and it does have grey shades. The character I play in the film, he is an opportunist but is a diplomatic person at the same time. So, the character has many layers, which is excellent. For me, I was doing something different again. On television, Saraswatichandra was a romantic drama, Mahakumbh: Ek Rahasaya, Ek Kahani was an intense action thriller, Suryaputra Karn was a mythological character and again this was something new that came my way and it really got me going. I have never played such complex character before. This character is more real than any character that I have played before.

In most of your TV shows, you have played a very likeable character, do you think fans will accept you in Aksar 2?

Actually, this is a very likeable character too. Just that the character is vulnerable at the same time. In the film, he thinks that he is controlling the situation but once he gets into the game, where he was thinking that he is the boss, the table turns. The moment, he thinks that he is playing everyone, everyone starts playing him. He essays the role of an investment banker, who is overconfident and carries a ‘knows it all’ attitude but as the situation comes and the table turns, things change. So, these twists and turns got me really interested.

What do you enjoy working on more – TV or films? 

Films, there are only a few offers but I did not want to grab anything that comes my way but the one that actually impresses me. I am happy with television. Television is getting me great work and great opportunities. This film happened only because I instantly loved the script and my character, which pushed me to grab this opportunity. Another reason is, of course, Anant Mahadevan is really doing some great cinema; I recently watched his 2016 film Doctor Rakhmabai and it’s an excellent film. He has made great films before; he is doing great work. He has got credibility as a filmmaker in the market and everything was positive and going in my favour. So, I thought, let’s just grab this opportunity.

How was it to work with Zareen Khan? 

It was great working with Zareen Khan. She is very open as a person, whatever is in her heart, she speaks it out. She is very outspoken.

What kind of films are you keen on trying your hand at? 

Different characters are what interests me the most. If you ask me my dream role, I would say, I once, want to play Alfredo James Pacino’s character from The Godfather. Otherwise, I want to do as many characters as I could; I am a character-oriented actor and my forte is playing characters. So, I don’t want to repeat myself, I do not want to be typecasted to be precise. So, next time, I will opt for a totally different character, different genre and surprise my audience. Also, I want to learn as an actor; I don’t want to stop learning. For anyone, who says that he or she is the best actor around, they are definitely stupid. Nobody can because you’re playing a character for the first time; you’re stepping into someone’s shoes and it will take time for you to adapt, only your sincerity, practice, determination, and dedication will show in the results.

Have you watched Jennifer Winget’s Beyhadh? What do you think about it? 

Jennifer did a brilliant job. In fact, I could totally relate to her. She too takes up different characters, like the one in Saraswatichandra was completely opposite from the one she was playing in Beyhadh and that’s commendable. Jennifer has passed with flying colours as everyone had accepted her in this role.