1. What made you decide to do a web series now, after rejecting web offers in the past?
TV offers started coming in after LSD but as an actor the process is extremely important for me. And somehow the ones I was approached for didn’t sit in sync with the process so therefore I have never done television. There were two web offers before this but the script again is sacrosanct to me and those offers didn’t hit the sweet spot. This show ‘Babbar Ka Tabbar’ , in addition to be being a script which attracted me, had a director(AlokSharma) & producers (Victor/Neha) who were willing to collaborate on the my character ‘Jamia’. And make it more detailed in terms of look, language, his world. I fell in love with the script, the character and the producer/director believed in the creative process like I do. And so we we were in sync. And so it was a no brainier to do this show as my digital Debut.
2. Can you describe the experience of making Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain? Did you expect the film festival acclaim?
There are flag post films in your career and flag post experiences in your life. AMKH ticks both the boxes. As a film it’s probably my most special experience as an actor after my debut ‘LSD’ & ‘Jugnoo’ my character in AMKH will make you feel like ‘Rahul’ did in LSD.
As a person that month shooting in Benaras with one of my favourite actors and person Sanjay Mishra was a huge learning curve for me as a person. Reinstalled my belief in being myself and not trying to fit in for the sake of it. I don’t socialise much, party much because I don’t believe in getting work like that. I am not any casting person’s favourite. But I am punctual, sincere as an actor and Sanjai Ji reinstated my belief in that that’s all that matters .
I was always confident of the film but the love at the festivals has further strengthen our belief because it is primarily a popular genre film. People will love it because they will enjoy it!
3. What future projects are you excited for?
My web debut ‘Babbar Ka Tabbar’ as Jamia in April end – alot of work has gone in creating him. Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain’ in May end. Then there is Ashvin Kumar’s film which we shot in Kashmir last year – it’s a very special project & a film I am extremely proud of as an actor. I also begin shooting for ‘RSVP’ with Tannishtha Chatterjee in August & that’s India’s first devised feature film.
4. How much of an advantage do you think your theatre background has given you on screen?
Theatre and cinema are two different mediums for me. Theatre is meditation, Cinema is Euphoria for me. Of course so many years of theatre and guidance by my many gurus have helped me stick to my beliefs and processes as an actor. And that is an advantage. The years of doing plays of course has given me a sense of script understanding and being sincere to the job at hand in terms of putting my best. But my years as an assistant director have also given me an advantage in terms of understanding the cinematic medium as an Actor. Sometimes it’s also a disadvantage because at times it’s not good to know too much. I can see when something is going wrong and unlike theatre, where you have chance to redo, in cinema it gets printed forever.
5. Who do you want to work with at least once during your career?
Zoya Akhtar – I admire her work tremendously. Shoojit Sircar, I have worked with him on an ad with Anupam Kher but would love an opportunity to do a feature with him. Vishal Bharadwaj, Sriram Raghavan & Anurag Kashyap. And yes, Dibakar Bannerjee again.