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For someone whose earliest memories are of hordes of devotees—and he even joined them—proceeding towards the Amarnath shrine, it was a humbling experience to be playing the deity in Devo ke Dev Mahadev, on the newly launched TV channel LifeOk.
"Being born and brought up in Kashmir obviated proximity with and devotion to Lord Shiva, but honestly, I was reluctant to play the role when it was offered to me," says Mohit Raina, who shot to fame after winning the Grasim Mr India title in 2006. "I had reservations about accepting the role because I was not sure how it would shape up. But, once I got to know about the kind of research that has gone into the making of the series, I was impressed. The serial focuses on the romantic side of the deity rather than his famous ferocious form. The peg of the story, as you can see in the current episodes, is the love of Sati and Shiva and the characterisation is life-like, not overbearing," says Raina, who was seen in a couple of television series and two non-starter films.
"I read up a lot, including the books by Amish Tripathi in which Shiva is depicted like an ordinary mortal. But the real preparation was to put on weight in order to look powerful," says the model, who always aspired to be an actor.