A tough 2020, but you had some good success?
Yes, 2020 has been a difficult year. But as we say that every cloud has a silver lining. I think 2020 has been a very unique year too. While it was traumatic, the world came to a standstill and many people suffered, all of us rather, it also gave the planet the much-needed break. It gave us time for self-reflection and for looking deep within into what is it that we are really chasing. What are the things that you want to do in life? And I thankfully utilized this time get in touch with my craft again. Did Riaz, did writing, meditation and worked on me as an actor and at a personal level. It really allowed me to get in touch with myself again. And also with those whom I love. The year helped me to look for the true relevance of existence.
What were your takeaways of the year?
That Life is fickle and I truly want to live in the present and enjoy every moment. That I want to learn many things like horse riding, pottery, singing. I started painting again. In acting, I really want to pursue projects that enrich me as an actor every single day and where I explore myself as a human being which has always been the quest. My resolve is much stronger now.
Your defence lawyer’s character in Criminal Justice is very popular?
Yes. Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors has been a beautiful experience for me because I was reprising my role as Nikhat. I had to revisit a character that I played about a year and a half ago and take it forward from there. I have changed as an actor and as a human being and so has Nikhat's surroundings in life, changed in the second season. To bring about the transformation while maintaining the core of the character was quite an interesting process for me.
Criminal Justice 2 sheds light on the very sensitive issue of domestic violence?
It's a very potent and important subject on which we've made the season and I'm so happy about the response that we are getting. It's very gratifying as an actor that you know, these are the small ways in which, you can through craft contribute and try to make a change in the world. I got messages from victims, women who said that after watching the series, they could understand what was happening with them. Or women who shared their stories of abuse.
How have men reacted?
I've got messages from men saying that patriarchy does exist and they see it more clearly now and they could relate to the series and reflect on things. Those are the most gratifying and fulfilling messages. People have loved my performance as Nikhat. I have got so much love and appreciation from the entertainment industry and the audience in general. Also, my character Nikhat and Madhav Mishra Sir's (Pankaj Tripathi) chemistry has been appreciated a lot once again in Season 2 in Criminal Justice. I am filled with gratitude.
Do you think the OTT has overtaken cinema?
Cinema and the digital platform both have their own importance and it will remain so hopefully. We've grown up watching films on the big screen, so that charm is never going to go and that experience is one of a kind. The digital platform has definitely opened up so many avenues for everyone. The content is progressive and different subjects are being dabbled with. We've got so much more to create and to explore. Thanks to the OTT world the audiences have become much more choosy about what they want to see and are open to fresh concepts. So that is great. finally, there's some demarcation that will happen between films that are meant to be seen on the big screen and content that can go on the OTT space and is meant for the digital consumption and I think a very beautiful kind of competition will take place between cinema and the OTT over a period of time.
Which shows on OTT have you enjoyed recently?
I watched a lot of stuff on the OTT this time as all of us did. I loved many performances, like Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in The Morning Show. Al Pacino in Hunters, also the miniseries Unorthodox, documentaries like The Last Dance. Then I visited a lot of old Hindi movies again. My favourite ones of Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil and Meena Kumari. I saw a lot of Hrishikesh Mukherjee films which have beautiful performances. Also, a lot of classics like Mughal-e-Azam and Umrao Jaan again. I watched a lot of Daniel Day-Lewis performances. Lots of South Indian cinema like Super Deluxe, Kumbalangi Nights. Malayalam actor Fahad Faasil is a performer whom I completely adore now. Of course, in recent times, I loved Scam1992 and Paatal Lok and Delhi Crime and the performances were brilliant in them. I'm very fond of my series Asur and Ashram as well. And of course Criminal Justice too.
We lost a lot of distinguished actors in 2020. How did that affect you?
This time was extremely heartbreaking for Bollywood. We lost some brilliant actors and people we've all admired while growing up. I still remember the day when we heard about Irrfan Sir and it just felt as if there was a vacuum that could never be filled again. And the next day Rishi Sir's news came up and it just felt as if it was impossible. He always brought a smile to my face whenever I saw him on screen, he's left us with a great legacy. What happened to Sushant left all of us in shock, be it from the industry or outside. It took us weeks to get over it and I just hope that wherever they are they're in a happy place and that we will remember them and celebrate their work. That's the beauty of cinema. They've left us with gems that we can revisit thankfully and celebrate them over and over again and just seek inspiration from their lives. We will always feel their loss.
How do you deal with the toxicity on the social media?
In the past one and a half years, I voiced my opinion on certain things, that have really affected me and yes, there have been some moderately bad runs on the social media. But I think what really needs to happen is for us to decide to agree to disagree, to give each other space to have a dialogue. Everybody can have an opinion and it's good to have a discussion over things that, move us, trouble us and motivate us. But most of the time we are just making judgments and statements without really giving each other space to talk or to listen to each other and reason. The intent of sharing an opinion should not be to create negativity or to derail or demean someone. We need to take control of that. We need to respect one another, show compassion. Social media can be a beautiful place to connect with each other, to bring about a positive change, to hold discussions, to share what you're feeling, to share happiness and sadness, to really understand what's affecting people.
What are your plans for this year?
2020 taught me a great deal and gave me time for self-reflection. This year and from now I just want to personally grow as a human being. I want to enrich my life with more experiences in terms of travelling, learning new skills. As I said horse-riding, pottery, painting, writing, singing classes are on the cards. And as an actor, I want to do projects which make me hone my craft and explore myself as a person, allow me to work with people that inspire me and even directors with new voices, who have something to say. I want 2021 to be an enriching experience both personally and professionally. So yeah, I am very certain of enjoying each day as it comes, looking ahead and trying to make a positive contribution in my life and that of others.
Image source: Instagram/goenkaanupriya
Check out more news on SpotboyE