Amit Sadh has played roles of army personnel in Operation Parindey, Avrodh: The Siege Within, and of a police officer in Breathe: Into The Shadows, however, he agreed to play an army officer once again in recently released Jeet Ki Zid currently streaming on Zee5.
"It's an honour to play any character from the armed forces. Wearing the uniform changes you and your mindset. Yes, playing an army man is not new to me but this time I'm playing a different character altogether. I'm playing Major Deep Singh Sengar. It's a completely different mindset, different story, a different era of communication when the Indian army operated differently, it's a different terrain and different mental status. Also, there is so much to learn from the Indian Army and its stories. As an actor and an Indian, I feel privileged to be a part of Jeet Ki Zid," said Sadh who proved his mettle in his debut Kai Po Che followed by Sultan, Shakuntala, Gold, and more, and further made a mark in the digital space with several web shows (not to forget his first Filmfare trophy for Breathe: Into The Shadows.)
Directed by ad film director Vishal Mangalorkar and produced by Boney Kapoor, Arunava Joy Sengupta, and Akash Chawla, Jeet Ki Zid follows the true story of Special Forces officer Major Sengar who was left paralysed waist below during the Kargil War, but his relentless attitude helped him bounce back in life.
Sadh is cast as the protagonist while Amrita Puri plays his wife. The series also features Sushant Singh, Ali Goni, Mrinal Kulkarni, and Gagan Randhawa. "This isn't just a story about a mission. The backdrop is of the Indian army but it is a story about two beautiful, inspiring, and strong-willed people. How an injured soldier comes home and how his wife takes the baton and lives with him. How she supports him throughout his journey. It is because of his determination that he managed to be where he is. She did not let him give up and helped him to continue fighting. It was all happening because of the wife, and a large part of the series is about how she helped him go through it all. I am really enjoying making such great movies and this one is more special, this is beyond me, beyond my acting, the message the story gives is incredible. It was both, physically and mentally challenging and in these times, when mental health is an important topic, this real story with the backdrop of the Kargil War was needed to be told," said Sadh.
While for Sadh it was performing difficult stunts in tricky regions, a challenge besides battling disability, Amrita Puri had to struggle with the emotional graph that she had to portray, "Because the storyline is not linear, it jumps back and forth in time in a span of seven to eight years. Also, it is based on a real-life story so I felt a kind of responsibility. I play a strong woman who not only holds her life but also her family's life together. My producer also met Jaya ma'am and told me that she is exuberant and full of life. This has been one of the most fulfilling characters for me to play," said Puri who feels that the real-life stories are far more compelling to be told.
"Such stories are more dramatic, the stakes get far higher and the audience gets far more invested in the story when they know it is true. I guess the series will teach you to have faith. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but it is important how you deal with a situation you face," she says.
Sadh, who grew up in a military environment, had to perform high-octane action sequences and various army missions to play a soldier in the series. "I will give credit to many of the athletes I know, I learned a lot from them. One of my closest friends is Stefan Voormans, a German athlete who has won medals in the Paralympics. I also did my own homework but the research and writing by the show's team have been great. The weather conditions were really hard, there were days when we were shooting in Khoksar in Himachal Pradesh which is at 12,000-13,000 feet. But once I donned the uniform, in my mind I was representing the Indian Army and I was deep into my character," said Sadh.
The actor also said that being "restricted" on a wheel-chair made him realise the struggle of people who live with such a reality in life. "Having no sense of walking free is something I could have never imagined. You almost become either invisible or way too visible to the sympathetic eyes," he says.
Sadh and Puri reunited with Jeet Ki Zid after seven years when they worked together in the 2013 film Kai Po Che, however, they didn't have many scenes between them in that film. "It was a long time back, and, of course, enough time for us to change and evolve which both Amit and I have. In Kai Po Che we were not opposite each other and we didn't have many scenes together but we stayed in touch since then. It is nice to see a very mature version of Amit, he has become very popular on the OTT platform and has done a lot of work in the past seven years as a result he has become extremely sure of his craft and I got to see all of that on set. He is also a great team player and very giving as an actor," said Puri.
"It was great working with Amrita. We had some intense and emotional scenes on screen but it was fun hanging out with her, she is full of life and a great person to have around," added Sadh.
Both Sadh and Puri are enjoying the roles that are coming to them with the growth of OTT space. "OTT has helped me stay in the business and tell different stories. I want to do varied work and not the same thing that I have done or just because I was good in a certain role," said Puri who debuted with Aisha (2010) and was recently seen in Judgementall Hai Kya, and web series Four More Shots Please! and Made In Heaven.
"2020 was a difficult year but it has also been a year of opportunities. I got to work on some great projects and I am excited to find out what this year has in store for me. I am looking forward to 2021 with much hope and aspirations," said Sadh.