Sushant Singh Rajput, who returned to his hit TV serial "Pavitra Rishta" to shoot its last episode earlier this week, felt emotional as it was this show which not just gave a push to his career, but also helped him find his ladylove Ankita Lokhande.
On Tuesday, Sushant returned to the long-running soap "Pavitra Rishta", in which he played the protagonist Manav Deshmukh for two-and-a-half years before he quit.
The actor, who has since then moved to cinema to become one of the sought-after actors in Bollywood, says returning to the show was like a homecoming.
"This is where it all started. This is where my journey began. I carried a part of my character Manav with me even when I moved on. When I was invited to be part of the serial's final episode, I immediately jumped at it without a second thought. To be part of farewell episode of the serial that I look back on with such fondness, is a privilege and honour," he said.
The homecoming, as Sushant calls it, was very emotional for both Sushant and his girlfriend Ankita.
"She has been a part of 'Pavitra Rishta' much longer than me. Now that we shot the last episode, Ankita has been very emotional for the past few days. It is very difficult for her to tear herself away from something that has been part of her life for nearly five years," he said.
Sushant admits Ankita was a big incentive for his return to "Pavitra Rishta" for a final shot.
"This is where it all started. My career, and more importantly my relationship with Ankita started with 'Pavitra Rishta'. It's significant that the serial is called that, because my rishta (relationship) with the this serial is very pavitra (pure)."
Saying no to the final episode of "Pavitra Rishta" was out of the question for Sushant for another reason.
"I owe my acting career to producer Ekta Kapoor. If she had not given me a break in 'Pavitra Rishta' I wouldn't have been an actor. Shooting for the last time for the serial was a very emotional experience for me."
In no way does Sushant feel a television appearance to be a climbdown in his stardom.
"If I felt that, I wouldn't have been there on Tuesday shooting for 'Pavitra Rishta'. In no way do I feel television is a smaller medium. For me, the size of the screen doesn't matter. I just need to be in front of camera. And you know what? Even if there is no camera and you tell me to act I'll still give a hundred percent of my concentration to the shot," said the "Kai Po Che" actor.
Sushant sees no difference between the film and television medium.
"We must stop looking at television as a stepping stone to cinema. Look at America. Some of their biggest stars are products of television."