Dabbling in Broadway, directing critically acclaimed films and even writing a book, popular TV actor Josh Radnor — who is famous for his portrayal of Ted Mosby in the long-running sitcom, How I Met Your Mother — has been exploring many different platforms ever since the show ended. In Mumbai to give a talk at the ongoing INK Conference, Josh opened up about his love-hate relationship with his TV career, his journey of rediscovering himself and his upcoming projects.
Telling us about how the success of HIMYM affected his life, Josh said, “Ever since I was 16, I was always interested in theatre and actively took part in it. And when I was 29, How I Met Your Mother happened. Slowly, my public image started consuming me. And I am not from a film family or with a background in films — I am from a normal family in Ohio. So it was later that I realised that the more successful the show got, the more depressed I became. What people don't realise is that even actors, even if they want recognition for their performance, they can still be shy. It was only then I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to live with myself, I had to work with myself first.”
As for how he dealt with his identity issues, Josh said, “A major part of it was meditation. Without meditation and yoga I wouldn’t have been able to get through this last decade. I am basically a very optimistic individual, so it wasn’t as tough. The Internet was another tool that helped me because it became my ‘pride reduction apparatus’! Reading uninhibited criticism there helped me be grounded.”
An acclaimed director and writer in his own right, Josh has previously directed two films, Happy Thank You More Please and Liberal Arts, both of which have been featured at the popular Sundance Festival. Talking about his filmmaking experience, Josh said, “I am deeply grateful to the people at Sundance, because they have supported immensely all my work. My second film too was showcased at Sundance and I have always had great experience there.”
Josh, who also prefers theatre over acting, says, “Acting, directing and writing are all a part of me, picking between them would be like picking a family member,” adding that “in theatre, you do get more space to expand because there is no one to edit your work and it is more continuous”.
About his experiences in India Josh said, “My first trip to the country was almost seven years ago, when I was attending a friend’s wedding in South India. But this time it is more personal. I have already been to the northern parts and I went to Hrishikesh and actually took a dip in the Ganges and saw the fire ceremony there, which was deeply inspiring.”
And the trip may just find its way into a book that Josh is contemplating. “It (my visit here) is most importantly, a part of the process in writing my book, which is about the Yoga of being a celebrity! I said yes to a trip to India because I felt it would nudge me to write it,” he explained. Josh further added that his experience as an audience member at the conference has been very inspiring....