Q. You were quite young when you made your acting debut. How did that happen?
A. Yes, I did my first Television show called Inteha when I was in Class One. After that, I did a lot of mimicry and participated in fancy dress competitions. I enjoyed doing all of it. And all this time I was trying to think to myself about why I started to do it all in the first place. I realised that I loved playing different characters, living different lives. Now, I heard it somewhere, actors have a disorder that is called “watch me” and I think this is exactly my case. So that trait of an actor, “need for attention”, is what brought me here.
Q. Tell us about the web series Hadh, and about your character (Veer) in it.
A. Hadh is a psycho-thriller. It is a story of three boys who are entirely different from one another, trying to acquire one man’s empire. This series is inspired by the American show, Empire. The plot is unique and is being received very well by the audience and so season two is already been announced which would be aired next year. My character Veer is a complete badass person. He is everything that I would like to believe that I am not, from girls to lies, from drugs to betrayals, he is everything.
Q. Your character in the series is completely different from those you have played in the past. How did you prepare for it?
A. I had not played a character like Veer so I was a little apprehensive that it wasn’t my zone or genre exactly. I always did light-hearted, romantic characters before that. So, I took it as a challenge and our director Sidhant Sachdev was quite supportive because he had something in his mind already and it really becomes easy for you if the director already has a clear vision for your character. While preparing for the character, there were many things like there was certain type of walk that I had to work on and we actually had to work on the look extensively because for them to make me fit in the negative role was also a challenge. However, Vikram Bhatt (Producer and scriptwriter) has carved out the character so beautifully in the script that as an actor your job becomes very easy.
Q. Didn’t you fear that the audience has always seen you in a positive role, and now they might respond to this role entirely differently?
A. I am not that sort of a person who would sit and go through the script and understand what is in the role. I only see that if the team making my character is good, I usually do it without thinking about what genre of character it is. Because then you are failing as an actor. At this point of time I am young right now. This is my time to try and do everything and see what works for me. I don’t want to limit my career by rejecting negative roles. I was quite happy to see that someone saw me in that light. This role, rather worked in my favour as an actor as well.
Q. You have now switched from TV series to web series. Which one do you prefer doing?
A. As an actor, I love web series because there is no monotony. In television shows you have to play the same character for a longer period which becomes boring. When you enter in a world, you live it for a while then you want to dive into new waters. Moreover, theses series are finite which is exactly opposite of never-ending Indian daily soaps. This is the beautiful thing, as you know you start out as this and you end it here and you have a graph in your mind. In television you are given a script on the day of shoot and you have to follow it, it’s more about performing the script than the character journey.
As an audience, I think the best part is that the content is not forced on you and because of so much competition; you have quite a lot of options. So you can choose what you want to watch or how you want to watch and when you want to watch it. With web series, there is a lot of creative liberty for the makers. There is content that is not being censored and there are many erotic scenes in Hadh too, which on television would have been censored for sure.
Q. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the release of the film Julie 2, which had a lot of adult content. Do you think this type of material is inappropriate for our society? What are your views on this?
A. I don’t think any kind of content is distasteful. There are takers and buyers for different things and this is not okay to slot it into saying that this is good and this is not good. We don’t have that right and it is in the hands of the audience. If somebody is making it and someone is watching it then others should mind their own business. If someone has made a film and people are interested in watching it, then who are you to judge! Every genre is not immoral or unethical because at the end of the day, it is taken from our lives. There are some things that we want to acknowledge and there certain things that we consider as taboo. But we cannot hide away from the fact that they exist. If you want to see it then see it and if not, nobody is forcing it on you. We are evolving as a society and I think it is a part of it.
Q. Being from a non-film background, was it difficult for you to make a mark in the industry that is highly dominated by star kids?
A. I think it’s a very humane thing to help the people who are your family. It is the reality all over the world in every industry. These days everybody is addressing it and it has become a cool word to talk about. However, nepotism has existed and will exist always. For me as an outsider, I do feel that other people are considered as a priority due to this aspect but I don’t sit back and cry about it. I believe that if we keep doing good work, you will be acknowledged eventually. It has not affected me directly in any way but probably indirectly. Nepotism is a reality and I don’t see a way to fight it so I choose not to think about it.