Q. Please tell us about your ongoing web series, Ready to Mingle.
Aahana Kumra: The story is about millennials and their relationships in our time, and about how confused we are in terms of the way we see a relationship. We don’t see them as long-term plans and we live in the moment.
Amol Parashar: The focus of the show is a couple. The partners are modern-day love gurus for lovelorn people, but start to lose their grip on love in their own lives. The two have extremely contrasting personalities. As they say, opposites attract. But the question is, how long can opposites stay together. Although the show deals with some serious issues, there is ample amount of fun and frolic that keeps it engaging and breezy.
Q. What’s your role in the show?
Aahana: I play Myra Malik, who is a perfectionist, knows what she wants to do and is a go-getter. She realised very early in life that she is going to work on her own plans in her own way. So she quits her job and starts working at a startup with her business partner who is also her boyfriend. She is someone who likes to organise things. Ready 2 Mingle is really her brainchild and she is the one who puts the whole business plan together.
Amol: My character Nirav is a laidback, chilled out guy who just wants to have a good time and wants everybody around him to have a good time. He is all about the heart and therefore you fall in love with him instantly, which is a great quality to have in social relationships. But the same carefree attitude and high spirits can be a pain if your partner has to live with it day-in and day-out.
Q. Both of you have acted in several web series before. How is this new medium changing the entertainment space in India?
Aahana: The web-series trend is definitely changing content for people in India. It’s exciting to see how the younger audience is changing their content choices. They do not want TV serials and the heaviness that is associated with them. They want something that is in line with today, something youthful. So that’s what is really changing the entertainment space, and fortunately this is also offering work to a lot of young actors whom we wouldn’t see on screens otherwise.
Amol: I believe web series have filled up a huge gap in the entertainment scene in India. The speed and scale at which the medium has exploded is proof of the fact that there was a big section of the Indian audience which was hungry for more contemporary content on their personal screens. The positive response of the audience has only encouraged filmmakers and writers to experiment with stories and styles, which makes the web space the most colourful and vibrant entertainment space at the moment. Of course, a lot of talent is also coming to the fore, thanks to the web. Actors, filmmakers and technicians don’t have to wait for that big break and now have access to an easier platform through which they can showcase their talents to the world.
Q. Aahana, you have worked across four different platforms: theatre, film, television and web series. How has your experience been?
Aahana: All of them have been very fruitful and a great learning experience for me. Every medium has been very different and each one has pushed me to collaborate with actors and artistes I admire. I have learned a lot from each platform. I have also done live anchoring for sports, and that too was a very different medium. So I believe each medium comes with its own challenges. Of course, I feel the most comfortable with theatre and it has possibly been my most fun experience. It’s because of my theatre foundation that I have been able to fit into the other spaces with much ease.
Q. Do you think digital platforms allow more creative freedom to filmmakers than the traditional medium does?
Aahana: There is a lot of freedom in web. You make something and you immediately get a response for what comes out. In films, you have to first wait for them to release and then wait for weekends and then for box-office collection. There are a lot of things there, but in web, everything can go viral. It gets picked up very fast and people immediately review them. You can see what mistakes others are making, and your own mistskes as well. People either hate you or love you and it’s a very instant reaction. It’s a lot like theatre. And of course, it’s unfiltered. So it’s a space where there is a lot of freedom.
Amol: I guess the difference is more in the writing, i.e. the choice of stories and plot devices, which eventually don’t really affect an actor’s performance and process. An actor’s deliverables still remain the same—to perform the scene truthfully.
Q. Amol, you haven’t yet been seen on the big screen. So are you planning that shift to Bollywood anytime in the near future?
A. I think “planning” is useless for actors. Because an actor can only choose from what comes his or her way, and whatever comes depends on how good or bad the actor’s work has been so far. I concentrate on the work that I have, give my best to it, so that even better choices come my way. But I have done films: there is one film which is ready for release, and another I will be starting to shoot later this year. But it’s only because they came my way and I found them interesting. If I don’t find something interesting, I’d rather not do it, be it films or any other medium.
Q. What kinds of projects and roles are you interested in?
Aahana: The projects and roles that interest me are the ones that will lead me to my next job. I want to do a role that will be noticed, be it a small one or a big one. I want to face some sort of challenge, otherwise there is no point, because then being an actor will be like doing a nine-to-five job. This is not what we sign up for. We sign up to play challenging roles and characters. I believe it comes with its own baggage but I like to play such roles that will make me look different, or feel differently.
Amol: When I read a story or listen to it, if I enjoy it, and if I want to read or listen till the end, that’s definitely a story that I find interesting. I am not interested in a particular genre, or a particular kind of character. In fact, I go out and seek things that I haven’t done before. It can get scary, because sometimes you find yourself at the deep end, but the highs of that process are as exhilarating. It’s those highs that I chase.
Q. Tell us about your future plans.
Aahana: I am working on the film The Accidental Prime Minister which will release in December.
Amol: Right now, I just want to give my best in whatever I do.