Actor Daya Shankar Pandey, who has featured in movies like "Lagaan" and "Swades", says he preferred playing the starring role of Lord Shani in a TV show over a role he was offered in Ashutosh Gowariker's 2008 hit, "Jodhaa Akbar" starring Hrithik Roshan.
"I had some financial need at that time. TV gives more money. Playing the central role in a TV serial was something that I did not want to miss at all. And in the TV industry, frankly speaking, faces like that of mine don't get title lead roles easily," said Daya, who played the title role in "Mahima Shani Dev Ki".
"I consider playing the role of Lord Shani as a blessing by the lord himself. I worked hard for the role and now nearly a decade later, people are still talking about it," he added.
On bagging the title role, Daya shared: "Way back in 1993, I used to assist Shahab Shamsi (director) on a serial to earn some quick money. Eventually, I got busy working on other projects, but in 2008 I got a call from Shamsi asking if I would be interested in a mythological show, to which I instantly agreed. I wasn't informed about the role, however for me getting work was more important."
"Shiv Sagar (grandson of producer Ramanand Sagar) noticed my face and told me that I resemble Lord Shanidev. I auditioned after 2 days and did a look test and within 30 minutes, I received a message saying that I was shortlisted for doing the role of Shani in 'Mahima Shani Dev Ki'," he added.
"Mahima Shani Dev Ki" originally ran from 2008 to 2009. It is currently being aired on Dangal TV.