May 2, 2014 6:10 pm

The Inventory: Sanjeev Bhaskar

‘To be friends with people who were once posters on your wall is extraordinary,’ says the actor and writer
Sanjeev Bhaskar©Pal Hansen

Sanjeev Bhaskar, 50, is known for his work in award-winning productions including Goodness Gracious Me and The Indian Doctor. He is also the author of the bestselling book India with Sanjeev Bhaskar, and was appointed OBE in 2005 for services to entertainment.

. . .

What was your earliest ambition?

When I was two or three, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said, “An actor”; my dad said, “We pronounce it doctor.”

Public school or state school? University or straight into work?

State school: Cranford, now Cranford Community College. I did a diploma in business and finance at Hatfield Poly, then a degree in business with marketing. I worked in marketing for some years until I started acting: my first job was at IBM.

Stethoscope©Dreamstime

Was meant to be: a doctor

Who was or still is your mentor?

Anybody I look up to professionally or personally I see as a mentor. I’ve picked up a lot of emotional intelligence from my mum, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

How physically fit are you?

Deep inside there is a fit person trying to get out but he is thwarted by several unfit people around him.

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

I think it’s self-awareness: it lets you know what your limits are, so you’re able to focus your ambition.

Have you ever taken an IQ test?

No, I don’t think so.

How politically committed are you?

Not to any party – but to a sense of equality, political fairness and justice.

Do you consider your carbon footprint?

Yes. I certainly do. When I bought my car I looked at emissions and all that kind of stuff.

If you had a coat of arms, what would be on it?

Sanjeev Bhaskar's imaginary coat of arms

The sun. Musical notes. I’ll nick the Elvis sign, a bolt of lightning with TCB – which stands for Taking Care of Business. And a combination of religious symbols I saw on the border between India and Pakistan, at Wagah.

Do you have more than one home?

A family home and a flat I rent out.

What’s your biggest extravagance?

Time to myself. Just hanging out with friends and family, sitting down and having conversations.

What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?

The ability to time travel.

In what place are you happiest?

Wherever I happen to be – but surrounded by family and friends.

What ambitions do you still have?

I have a constant ambition to be slightly better tomorrow than I was today. If I could take a year off work, I would focus on playing music.

What drives you on?

For me, creativity is all about trying to move forward, in relationships, jobs, finance – everything.

What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?

Realising the contribution of other people to my achievements.

What has been your greatest disappointment?

I’m a product of everything that’s happened to me – all the decisions I’ve made, good and bad – and the position I’ve found myself in is exceptional, so I can’t have disappointments. If there is one, it’s not fulfilling as much of my potential as I could every day.

If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?

He’d be shocked, amazed and relieved. To become friends with people who were once posters on your wall is an extraordinary leap.

Author Robert Frost visiting Oxford, England in 1957©Time & Life Pictures

Inspired by: Robert Frost’s views on the continuity of life

If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?

Something else. There’s a great Robert Frost quote – “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

Do you believe in assisted suicide?

It’s conditional, but yes. If people are stuck in a condition of misery, I don’t have a problem with them being able to make that decision.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

I do. As a romantic notion I rather like the idea.

If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?

Quite high, I think. 8.27.

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‘The Kumars’ is on Sky 1 HD. Bhaskar is currently filming ‘Absolutely Anything’, directed by Terry Jones

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