Emmy-nominated actor Arjun Mathur, in an interview with G20, talks about playing the role of an LGBTQ character in Made in Heaven, and how OTT platforms are redefining the entertainment industry in India.
Q. How does it feel to be nominated an Emmy for your role as Karan Mehra in ‘Made In Heaven’?
A. It’s been many feelings. Initially, it was disbelief and some anger as I thought someone was joking with me! It’s taken a while for it to sink in. What has made it special for me is the reactions if my family, friends, people who love me and worked with me, people who have been a part of my journey. I feel really proud. I’ve never had the opportunity before to make my country proud.
Q. You play a gay man in Made In Heaven. Do you think LGBTQ roles are being more widely accepted in india and no longer just caricatures on screen?
A. I hope so and I think so. I’ve played such a role three times and my experience has been with filmmakers who have a certain sense of maturity and sensitivity. They are not interested in misrepresenting the community. I think there’s a section of the filmmaking world which wants to and will always stay authentic to the representation. I hope and pray that a certain section go out of making a mockery of them. As far as the audience us concerned, it took me by surprise that how widely my character in ‘Made In Heaven’ was loved and accepted. I think that as long as there’s authenticity and you’ve got a good intention and try to normalise it, the audience will always connect. In my own home, homosexuality was dining table conversation because of the show. The number of stories I have heard of people who have come out to their families after watching it, depicts the value of the show and how people have connected. If an actor is able to change someone’s life, then that’s more reward than anyone can ask for.
Q. Do you think you have finally got your due with ‘Made In Heaven’ after a decade in the film industry?
A. I hope I get a lot more due, why should it stop here? (Smiles) I have worked as hard on all projects as I have on this show but certainly this project had everything going for it that was able to make it click in such a big way and reach every corner of the world. I’m lucky and fortunate that it happened. I just want to keep working and keep doing better, whether I get my due or don’t. I’m not working for appreciation as much as I am to keep myself satisfied and happy with what I’m doing. The appreciation is a by-product when you’re truly following your heart and giving all of yourself to what you’re doing.
Q. What type of roles that excite you and you’re looking forward to?
A. I don’t have any specific ideas. I know that I want to explore every genre possible and play every shade of human character. I can and want to do everything! I find myself consuming true crime documentaries more than anything though.
Q. Do you think OTT platforms are going to allow more talent to be discovered and grow?
A. Most definitely. I think that’s what has been happening and will continue. I think the playing field has levelled right now and I like where we are. Filmmakers are make their varied choices and the content is going around the world. This will only encourage everybody to up the game. We are now creating content that will compete on a world stage.
Q. What are you looking forward to next?
A. Travel! There are so many places I want to go right now. There’s not enough time and opportunity right but that’s what I’m looking forward to.