The ‘Paatal Lok’ actor is looking forward to an ‘Unpaused’ stint on digital medium
Excerpts from a chat:
You have a background in theatre. Tell us about your time and learnings onstage.
Theatre is a pretty widespread and diverse space but the kind of theatre I wanted to do was very, very realistic and minimalistic — which means there weren’t many sets or too much of anything apart from the spotlight and the actor.
To me, that was the ultimate training ground. My idea was to learn the craft, and I thought what could be a better space to learn than a play where it’s just the actor and spotlight. To me, theatre is the most authentic way of learning acting.
From an actor’s perspective, how promising would you say the OTT space is?
The OTT space is clearly a saviour in that sense, for not just actors, filmmakers, writers, and creative people, but someone who just wants to do basic work and tell stories. It doesn’t have the dynamics of what every industry has, where creativity is pretty much at the centre. Creativity is the king for OTT, and that’s what makes it very interesting.
‘Unpaused’ draws from Covid-19 and the lockdown. What were your personal experiences in the lockdown?
During the lockdown, I was aware that this thing is going to go on for a while and I wasn’t ambitious at all about how to make my days productive initially. To me, it was about your sanity, getting past this thing. I got back to basics, did things I really enjoyed, read Shakespeare which I really like, watched good cinema, explored different forms of martial arts. I had been meaning to get back to books, plays and stories.
Well, I have to say it has been very very challenging, at times hurtful, at times very difficult year, but at the same time it has been remarkable, that I can’t deny. It’s unfortunate to use this word for the year, but it did kind of bring me on the map. I wasn’t known for the kind of skill set, work and acting I represent. After 2020, people get a sense of that, which is immensely satisfying.
Tell us about character in ‘Unpaused’ and how different is it from that in ‘Paatal Lok’?
Every character is very, very different. Anything that is written in a different time and place, if you see it as part of a story and what the story is all about, I think characters of the same profession (would be different).
If I have to play a cop, it will be different from the cop I played in Paatal Lok. Here (in Unpaused), the premise is different, the format is different, that was long format, this is a short story. This is more felt, personal, internal, something that comes out of one’s personal experiences because it’s about mental health and hope.