We catch up with the Indian television star Karan Tacker while he was holidaying in Dubai to talk about the international appeal of Indian television soaps and his shopping adventures in The Dubai Mall.
You are taking a break from Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai's busy shooting schedule.
Television is pretty hectic in India. We shoot a good 15 hours every day. So it has been a relief to come to Dubai, with its great atmosphere and good food. Plus everything is 10 minutes away. I feel mentally free here. It's special for me because I am here with my mother and sister.
Uh-oh. That means shopping.
You have no idea. I am exhausted and, believe it or not, I actually got lost yesterday in The Dubai Mall. As much as I love shopping I don't like doing it on holiday, so later today I will go to Jumeirah Beach.
Do you find with your rising profile you are spotted more easily when you travel?
This my second overseas trip this year, and what is surprising is that a lot of locals, the Arabs, know who I am. When I was in Singapore it was the same. The show has international popularity, which is great.
Do you find there is a great awareness locally and abroad about India's television industry?
Definitely. I have always felt television has better talent than films. We are like the army: we shoot 15 hours a day, work 30 days a month and can do six or seven scenes in a day, which I think is quite impossible for film actors.
But, quite frankly, I think if we had a little more time we would come up with a better product. Television has become a very universal platform. We are now getting allthese film stars - who usually tend to look down on television - appearing on our shows to promote their films. I enjoy that.
What do you put Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai's success down to?
I think it is because it has an edge: the cast is young and it touches people emotionally. The story is about two sisters who have more of a mother-and-daughter relationship; the twist is that one of the characters has been diagnosed with cancer, but there also is a lot of romance.
You studied business before moving into acting. What made you make the jump?
I come from a family of businessmen so it was natural for me to study business. As for acting, I had a passion for it. But, you know, as Indians, we have to take permission from our parents for nearly everything, so I did have to ask my father about getting into acting.
Was he enthused by your idea?
He told me that he expected me to join the family business. I asked him to give me a year and said if I wasn't successful in pursuing acting, I would return. But God has been kind - I never looked back.
What are your future plans?
I am just starting my journey so I think the future is still uncertain right now. I do want to get into Bollywood. I don't agree that it is a bigger platform, but it is more challenging and offers actors more time to develop a role. I'd also like to direct - you might soon see me directing a few television episodes.
Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai screens at 8pm daily on Star Plus One