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Interviews > Mahesh Jadu

In recent months, handsome guest actor Mahesh Jadu, who plays Dr Doug Harris, has been setting many viewers pulses racing. His character has managed to catch the eye of single mum Libby Kennedy, whilst also managing to annoy his employee - and Libby's Dad - Dr Karl. Mahesh took some time out from filming recently to chat with The Perfect Blend about Dr Doug and his Neighbours experience so far...

Can you tell us a little about your career before joining Neighbours?
In Perth, I had been working mainly on independent films. Childrenís interactive theatre and also scriptwriting. However, in early 2009, I came to Melbourne to work on ďTAJĒ. After the shoot, I resorted to poker to cover rent and a living until months later, Neighbours graced me with this wonderful opportunity.

How did the role come about? What can you remember from your audition?
Auditions are intense and can be nerve wracking, but Iím learning to enjoy the experience. Something I learnt over the years, is that the casting department and the producers truly want YOU to do well; they are on your side. I felt that support auditioning for Neighbours. I remember reading opposite the casting director, Lou Mitchell, who was kind enough to contact me regarding the potential audition initially.

What was your first day on set like? Was it daunting to be working with such an established cast?
Often thereís a fine line between daunting and inspiring, if any. While I felt above my head in Ďití, I realised that this was going to be an amazing learning curve, to surround myself with such experience and love. The Neighbours family was truly welcoming.

How would you describe the character of Doug?
Being an achiever, heís had to cultivate a high confidence which often gets mistaken for arrogance. At work, he may seem abrupt, but under pressure, he does all he can to look after the patients for whom he deeply cares about. Socially, heís fiercely independent, showing no signs of truly settling down anytime soon. I guess, in any part of life, Doug is intent of reaching the top, at all costs.

Dr Harris had quite a few run ins with his colleague Dr Karl Kennedy. What do you make of their working relationship? What has it been like working closely with Alan Fletcher?
Dr Harris and Dr Kennedy are in a constant stand off, both in and out of work. While theyíre different people, they step on each otherís toes professionally and encroach on each others personal territory also. Though Iíd say while thereís a clash of egos, I secretly suspect, at another level, thereís an admiration of the others talent and success.

Alan Fletcher is great to work with. If I look distracted during my scenes with him, itís because only moments earlier, we were laughing about the enigma of A4 paperÖor something.

Dougís already moved quite close to Libby. Do you think thereís a chance their relationship will develop further?
Theyíre both fiery yet mature individuals, so the right ingredients are available for an interesting and grounded pairing. But time reveals all I guess.

Dr Harris has been heavily implicated in Stephís pregnancy storyline. Will he play a part in the shocking reveal?
Dr. Harris is truly in a tight spot, getting closer with Libby, yet being so dedicated and ethical at work. So I think his involvement in the situation is inevitable, what he will do in response remains to be seen.

Would you like to join the cast full time if the opportunity arose? Are you still filming?
I am currently still shooting for Neighbours, yes.

As for being a full time member of the cast, itís one of those ideas I havenít thought about yet. If the opportunity were to arise, it surely would be an amazing and very rewarding one.

Have you ever been a viewer of Neighbours yourself?
Growing up, while I was brought up on movies, I actually didnít watch much television. But since last year Iíve been following the show and have truly enjoyed my 6:30pm fix. In the past, I often got hold of earlier episodes to follow the journey of some of my favourite actors who started out on the show.

What are your hopes for your career in the future?
So far Iíve found this journey unpredictable and beautiful. I can only stay focussed on the present and hope to constantly grow as an actor and thus a person. I also, have a few ideas of my own I would like to develop and share with the world.

With Neighbours celebrating its 25th Anniversary year and milestone episode 6000 fast approaching, do you have any thoughts on why the show has lasted so long?
I once asked Alan Fletcher the same question, so Iím going to paraphrase his answer; The show entertains through drama AND comedy, catering for the whole family. Not many shows do that and still keep a sense of humour about itself.

As an onlooker, I also believe everyone truly enjoying themselves and growing on set, has something to do with it's longevity.

Interview by Edd. Added on 21st June 2010