Ratan Pratap is someone who is praised and talked about for his talent but one never hears or reads much about his personal life. Known for his gift of gab on camera, Ratan surprisingly doesn’t open up easily about his private life. The actor and host are extremely vocal about his opinions on social media. However, a tete-a-tete with him is rare. After a month-long chase, the otherwise reserved star finally spoke to us exclusively about his journey so far, his recent covid experience, and much more.
You made your debut as a host on India’s biggest live digital network following which you entered television. How did you get discovered and how has the journey been?
It’s been great so far. I’ve had some amazing opportunities. I actually started hosting events during college. I was then signed by an agency that made me audition for #Fame (live entertainment network). I got hired, the show was a hit and I started getting work on TV after about a year. I am blessed to have worked on such incredible projects in such a short span.
Your hosting on IDW got you recognition on Indian television. Do you think TV has a wider reach compared to digital?
Definitely. In India, television still has a larger audience. The dance reality shows that I’ve hosted have helped me reach rural parts of the country. Digital has its own audience too but television is still a huge part of Indian households. I don’t see a complete transition happening anytime soon.
Was it difficult to get work in the industry being an outsider?
Getting my first few assignments were easy. But after my first successful show, I wasn’t signed for a proper show for at least 3 months. Nobody was ‘recommending’ me. I was surprised because I thought I would have tonnes of work to choose from. But I didn’t. And here a lot has to do with networking and knowing the right people. Something I am bad at! I don’t mind giving a screen test or taking meetings but I cannot aimlessly wander at Bollywood parties and suck up to producers. I came to this city with zero Bollywood connections. I’ve gotten to know people by the virtue of my work. It’s much better now but initially, I found it very difficult as an outsider.
Now that acting is on the cards for you, is it something you’ve always aspired to do?
Not really. It was only towards the end of last year that I gave it an actual thought when a digital network came to me with a good offer. Also, before this, the kind of roles that came my way wasn’t great. Some wanted me to play the NRI ‘devar’ on tv shows. And then there were these small parts in movies which I thought won’t do me any good. Hence, it was always limited to TVCs and other such things.
Rumour has it that you are preparing for some kind of a role. You also post training videos on social media. Can you shed more light on that?
I am currently doing workshops and yes I am also training for martial arts. Let’s see how things pan out. Don’t want to talk much about it at this point of time.
You are very active on Instagram and enjoy a great following. How do you deal with all the negativity and trolling?
I have gotten used to it. And it’s not all negative you know. There’s so much love out there too. I am now immune to trolls. I get that it has less to do with me and more to do with the frustrations of their own lives. Sometimes when I read something really mean it does bother me but I move on pretty quickly.
You were Covid positive recently and have gone on record about anxiety during that phase. Is it something you deal with otherwise?
Don’t we all in some way? Why single me out? During covid I was alone and there wasn’t anyone around physically to help. That’s one of the major reasons why I had anxiety. On a day-to-day basis, I wouldn’t say I face a major problem. Of course, there are good and bad days, both in personal and professional life. But I deal with it just like anyone else would.
In a recent interview, you credited your doctor for your recovery. In today’s day and age some people find it difficult to trust medical professionals, what are your thoughts about the same?
I did credit Dr. Abhilash Sangtani for my recovery. It was nice to have a doctor like him monitor my health during Covid. He really went out of his way to make sure everything was fine with me. He is one doctor that I felt was truly invested in my well-being. At the same time, I’ve had bad experiences with some doctors in the past. See, there are good and bad people in every profession. It’s very subjective and one cannot or should not draw conclusions. It’s a debatable topic.
Was there anyone close to you that you looked up to for emotional support during this difficult time?
I am not dating anyone. If that’s what you are trying to find out (he laughed).
What is the one takeaway from this entire experience?
Oh, there are several. The most important thing that I realized is that one has to be emotionally strong and independent. You have to fight your own battles and should not rely on others completely.
Did the news about your replacement from an original series bother you?
Nothing about my professional life bothers me. I am very happy with my work. Only my personal relationships have the ability to hamper my mental peace. Work I can handle calmly.
What is the one thing you are looking forward to after the pandemic settles?
The entertainment business has taken a big hit. I want things to go back to normal so that work can resume without any restrictions. Also, I really wish to travel. There are so many places I want to visit and explore. I do travel a lot for events and shoots but I never get to go around. I now want to travel for leisure. But currently, it looks like a distant dream.
Is there any message that you’d like to give our readers looking at the current scenario?
This is a very difficult time for everyone. Some of us have lost loved ones to this pandemic. Some have lost their livelihoods. We are all going through something. Let’s be kind to each other. Ask the people that you care about if they are doing fine. Try and be there for them. Help in whatever capacity you can. That’s the best we all can do at this point.