Last November, I never imagined I would be living through a pandemic. It feels surreal, and I still have to pinch myself to remember that this is happening. When we entered this year, I was just going with the flow of things, and had a bunch of follow-up seasons lined up. I knew that it was going to be a very busy year, and I had much of the year already planned out. That’s how I thought 2020 was going to be. When we entered 2020, I was going to start shooting for Delhi Crime Season 2, the first season of which bagged the best drama series honour at the 48th International Emmy Awards. The news of the virus was floating around, but like most people, I thought that it would be limited to one region. I never thought that it would turn out to be such an intelligent virus, and would be so difficult to fight. I was looking forward to a lot of new work because it is great to reprise a character, but it’s something else to sign a new project. That was what I thought my 2020 would look like.
I was supposed to travel to London for a film shoot mid-March, and I remember that at the time, while India was not in lockdown, things had gotten worse in the UK. I remember that the producers were trying to take a call as to whether we should travel or not. This is around the March 7 or 8, and I remember my co-star in the film, Arjun Mathur, saying that it’s not safe to travel, and that the situation would get worse, and the magnitude of people affected would increase. I didn’t quite agree with Arjun at that time. It is a small film, after all, and god only knows when we’ll all have dates again for the shoot. We were all excited about the film, but the producers decided to not go to the UK. I was talking to Arjun a month back, and I told him, “Arjun, you had foresight, and I didn’t”.
2020, while you have been a terrible year for so many people, my gratitude for the kind of life that I have and the privileges I have, has increased. You’ve also shown me the power of humanity that has been visible in civil society initiatives. People responded very quickly, in a humane way, to the things happening around us. I read this post on Instagram that went: “We’re not in the same boat, we’re all in the same storm”. That really resonated with me. You also highlighted the inequality and privileges in our society like never before. When the lockdown happened, the migrant crisis that ensued, I still cannot wrap my head around it. Having said that, I do believe that there were a lot of sensitive and timely civil society initiatives that, in a way, reinstated my faith in humanity.
I also feel a lot of gratitude because, personally, a lot of things worked out for me, even during the lockdown. Lootcase managed to release, and people found such interesting ways of re-inventing themselves. A Suitable Boy had begun doing online dubbing very early on in the lockdown. I didn’t find myself out of work even during the lockdown. I felt a lot of gratitude for the situation I found myself in, but the migrant labour crisis really made me feel responsible that I live in a society that allowed this to happen. I feel responsible for that, in my own way, and that’s something I will never be able to forget. My final words to you, 2020, is that now it’s time to say goodbye, and leave peacefully.