The Asian Viewers Television Awards, of which BizAsia were exclusive online partner, kicked off in London on 18th October, with an array of Indian television stars being awarded. The very popular Vivian Dsena, who played RK in ‘Madhubala – Ek Ishq Ek Junoon’ received the Male Soap Personality of the Year trophy and flew to the city, with his wife Vahbiz Dorabjee (who was most recently seen as Alak in ‘Saraswatichandra’), to collect the award and be a part of the star-studded evening. The couple have been in London for the week that followed and BizAsia caught up with them post the event for an exclusive rendezvous.
You’ve been in London since the first ever Asian Viewers Television Awards took place in London just under a week ago. How does it feel being here?
Vahbiz: Well, ask the man who won!
Many congratulations, Vivian!
Vivian: Thank you very much. God’s been very kind. I’ve won a couple of awards in Mumbai but this was a prestigious one. Coming to the UK, London and winning an award in another country. I think it was a very proud moment for us both.
These awards were voted for by the fans. Is there a message you have for them for this?
Vivian: For me as an actor and a professional, my fans are everything for me. These are the people who made me. Whatever I am today, whatever identity I share with the masses, it’s all because of my fans.
Post the award ceremony, you have stayed on in the capital. What kind of thing have you been upto?
Vivian: Well, I think we’ve seen quite a bit of London.
Vahbiz: Well, Vivian is not very interested in touring around but we still made it to Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeon, the London Eye. We’ve had a good time. We’ve had a mix of everything. We’ve been shopping like crazy people. We also went to see The Lion King which was a real highlight. We both loved it. It’s a musical, of course, and it’s one of kind and really worth watching. We’ve also done some different stuff too like shopping around Oxford Street. We’ve had a great time because we’ve had other actors with us so all of us friends were together. It’s definitely a memorable trip.
Vivian: We also had a Diwali party last night at a friend’s place.
Vahbiz: Yep, so we’ve had a feel of Diwali also and we didn’t miss India much.
Diwali in London is obviously a little colder than in India, and it probably also feels a little like Christmas. What would your plan be if you were back home for Diwali?
Vahbiz: Usually, every year, Diwali is celebrated in a big way. We have taash parties every night, there are firecrackers and there’d food, mithai. We do our pooja, we wear new clothes. This time all this is missing but we did do some crackers last night at our friend’s house.
Vivian: It was good, we had a good time.
You’re here for a few more days and no doubt you’ll be doing some more shopping. What kinds of places do you like to go and eat while in London?
Vivian: I think we’ve been to quite a lot of places.
Vahbiz: Yes, thanks to a friend of ours. He’s taken us around quite a bit. He took us to a place called Bombay Palace. We love Indian food and we dig Indian food wherever we go. It was really good food. We also went to a place called Busaba on the first day. We thoroughly enjoyed the food there and at Bombay Palace.
Vivian: I’m not too fond of Chinese or Thai food but I really loved the food at Busaba.
Vahbiz: We also went to the floating boat restaurant, Feng Shang Princess, my Mama took us there. Very beautiful and amazing food. Vivian doesn’t like Chinese but he really liked this.
What do you most love about London?
Vivian: London, I think the first thing we both loved was the weather.
Vahbiz: Yes, currently we love the weather.
You’ve been lucky there because usually it’s a lot colder at this time of year.
Vivian: Well the weather takes the cake. It’s a complete winner. The shopping, the food… but there are two weathers I love; the winters and the rains.
Vahbiz: It’s a break for us from the humidity of Mumbai. I don’t mind the sun or the heat but in Mumbai the heat and humidity kills us. Here in London you can do everything so peacefully. It’s all so surreal and so clean. I’m loving the weather and London is a gorgeous place to shop, eat and the entertainment. I would love to hop on a bus and go and see the castles and everything and explore the history.
Have you been able to explore any of that history during this trip?
Vivian: Not much of it but we did go to the London Dungeon. There, its divided into sections where you can really learn about the history of London. It tells the full story of how London was built and how the plague happened and how it was overcome. I think that the Dungeon explains quite a bit of the history.
Vahbiz: I have been coming to London since I was a child. I have family here. I’ve also been to Edinburgh and travelled Scotland so I’ve seen parts of the UK, not just London. This is the first trip that I am on in London where I’ve been chilling out and shopping. Otherwise during my trips I am visiting Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, etc. I’ve seen all these places.
What would you say is special about this particular time in London for you?
Vahbiz: First of all this trip is most special because I made it with Vivian. I’ve always wanted to bring him to London but for some reason it always kept getting cancelled. This time it’s been an honour because he received an award at the AVTAs. It’s been work and pleasure. This time, it’s special also because we’re with friends. As a child, my visits here were always with family.
Vivian: My answer has to be Vahbiz. Whenever I travel, I like to travel with her. I hate to travel when I’m alone. Whenever I’ve travelled abroad so far, it’s always been with Vahbiz. We both love each other’s company. Since we’re married, it’s all the more reason because you can be very romantic in this kind of weather. (smiles) Before I met Vahbiz, I used to not be so bothered about shopping and clothes. I used to wear anything I felt like and wouldn’t care about the world. She’s the one who’s transformed me from a boy into a man. She’s taught me how to handle yourself as an actor and as a public figure. She’s brought a lot of consciousness in me. Great to travel with and all the more fun, she’s a blessing.
The AVTAs have brought Vivian to London for the first time but if they were to ever move on to another country, where would you like to go?
Vivian: I think next on my list is America.
Vahbiz: Yeh, that’s one part of the world that I’ve also not visited. I wouldn’t mind if it was somewhere in the US as we still need to discover that part.
Vivian: We’ve been to Dubai, Maldives… the next should be America.
Your final thoughts about the capital?
Vivian: Well, it’s great to be here. The weather has stolen everything. The quality of life here is much better, it’s cleaner, there’s a lot of awareness for hygiene and health which is great to see. The people are nice. The language people use is very pleasing to the ears.
Vahbiz: I love the British accent, it’s just so cute.
Vivian: The hospitality on the whole is also very good here. Some of the places I’ve been to have been very nice… especially with the coffee I drink. It’s not on the menu so I have to explain it and then they make it just the way I like it. Thank God I speak the kind of language they do. At least it’s Thai or Chinese so I can get away with it. (Laughs) It took me so long to explain to a person in Thailand that I wanted my coffee a certain way. It was my bad fortune that the person was a Thai native and so I had to play dumb charades with him to explain.
Vahbiz: London is a gorgeous city and we’ll definitely miss the weather. We’ll miss the food and the scenic beauty. Whenever I’m in Bombay town I always feel that I’m in London because it’s built by the British. And now here, I feel like I’m in Bombay town.
Vivian: I’ve done my research in fact that London is only 4% less humid than Mumbai but we fully feel humidity there (laughs).
Vahbiz: We have to finally say thank you to the fans because it’s due to them that Vivian go an award and we were able to come here to receive it.
BizAsia extends a special thanks to the couple for letting us share in their experience of London and for taking the time to talk to us. We wish them a safe journey back to Mumbai but hope that they will return very soon.