Karan Tacker's Special Ops is streaming on Hotstar.(Photo: Karan Tacker/Instagram)
Hotstar recently launched its latest original Special Ops. Created by Neeraj Pandey, the eight-episode espionage drama has been directed by Pandey and Shivam Nair. Starring Kay Kay Menon in the lead role as Himmat Singh, the thriller chronicles his 19-year manhunt to nab the mastermind behind the 2001 Parliament attack. Joining him in the mission are his five abled secret agents played by Karan Tacker, Saiyami Kher, Muzzamil Ibrahim, Meher Vij and Vipul Gupta.
In an exclusive interview with indianexpress.com, television star Karan Tacker opened up about his latest web project and working with the Special Ops team. He also revealed what's keeping him away from television.
Excerpts from the conversation.
Were you waiting for a show like Special Ops to make your acting comeback?
I wouldn't say I was waiting for something like this, but this is exactly what I wanted to do. I have always wanted to work with filmmakers like Neeraj Pandey. They have proven to be gamechanger for actors, as they manage to see them in a different light. I was pleasantly surprised when he could see a RAW agent in me.
While you have always been into fitness, what was the prep to play an agent?
There was a lot of general action training as we have a lot of insane combat scenes. It is more like the real street fights, and not just tricks. We also had a great action director on set. It did take a lot of effort since we had quite long shots. I remember once my back was all black and blue, having been pushed against the wall in a fight sequence. And you only realise the extent when you shower the next morning (laughs). But more than that, the prep was around how to become an agent. The general idea is that they are hardcore action heroes, but Neeraj sir made me realise that they are someone who wouldn't stand out in the crowd. They can easily blend into anyone. I took the script as my bible and worked on it. I believe it is sometimes best to buy into the vision of the director.
You have always played a hero in all your serials. Was there any apprehension to be a part of a project which will not be your show?
If you have seen Neeraj Pandey's films, it always has an ensemble cast. And each character is written so well that there is never any insecurity. Even if it is one scene, you know you will be remembered. Also, a show like Special Ops will work only with multiple actors. All the players need to be there to tell this story.
You keep talking about Neeraj Pandey. How was your experience working with him?
(Laughs) When I walked into the room to meet him, I told him that I love his work as a director. But now, I am a fan of him even as a person. He is such a good collaborator and encourages discussion. He is also such a simple man. He doesn't try to sell his products but only wants the audience to see the story. There are no gimmicks in his projects. It is honest and earnest. And I like people who have such an organic approach to their craft.
And how was it working with the huge cast?
During the launch, I was looking around me. I was amazed at the cast that Neeraj Pandey managed to get together. To put together an ensemble with such big actors is a big thing. It is also proof that actors today do believe in being part of good stories.
You tasted success on the web with The Remix which you hosted. As a new-age actor, what's your take on the medium?
It is a great platform for actors of my generation. I take credit for being one of the early movers. When I had signed with Amazon Prime Video, people were questioning me, but I knew this was the future. Eventually, everyone would be hooked to their devices in the coming time. The Remix was loved by people across the board and even won a nomination at The Emmys. Even with Special Ops, it is a magnum opus on the OTT space, and I am proud to be a part of it.
What's keeping you away from television for so long?
It is hard to answer this diplomatically, but it is just the content. I have always tried to do things differently, even with the shows that I hosted. I believe that when you do new things, it reinvents you, and people enjoy watching it more. I am not against television shows, but it is so repetitive that you don't want to collaborate. I want to do things that I haven't done before. However, I would always be indebted to the medium for all the love and success it gave me. It is really important for actors to be able to connect to their audience.
Also starring Vinay Pathak, Divya Dutta, Sana Khaan and Sharad Kelkar, Special Ops is streaming on Hotstar.