How difficult was it for you to get intimate with another man, your co-star Mrinal Dutt, in His Storyy?
I’ve been asked this before. Being a straight heterosexual man, the intimate scenes on screen are equally uncomfortable for me ,no matter what the gender. I mean to say I am as uncomfortable kissing a woman on screen as I am kissing a man. There are many things going through your mind while doing the kiss. You hope his breath smells nice. And you hope yours smells nice too. So yeah, kissing a man is no more challenging than kissing a woman. It is a scene that needs to be done, period.
Isn’t playing a gay man dangerous for you career?
I think anything slightly unconventional raises eyebrows. It could be political .In this case it is the same-sex relationship. I think such stories need to be told , in order to create an atmosphere of acceptance in society for marginalized people. I am trying to create an awareness about such people . I am playing my part. I don’t think it would create a stigma in the industry for casting me in other parts. And quite frankly it doesn’t bother me. I don’t think we’ve reached that level of acceptance and sensitivity in our society. But it will happen. His Storyy is one babystep in that direction.
How was it sharing intimate scenes with Mrinal Dutt?
I’ve known Mrinal Dutt for 7-8 years.We live close to one another in Mumbai. I was relieved to hear Mrinal would play Preet, my lover. We arrived at a comfort level quickly. The technicalities of performing an intimate scene, whether man or woman, is quite a feat. You have so many people watching you . While we were getting intimate for the camera there was an AD sitting close to us providing special affects. I hope it looks convincing when people finally see it.
Does the OTT platform provide you the freedom as an actor to stretch your wings?
Had you asked me this question 18 months ago I’d have said that the OTT platform provides a greater sense of freedom to explore stories as compared to cinema. That’s not the case anymore.There is always an attempt by the Establishment to curtail things that go against their policies. But yes, there is still a sense of freedom on OTT in the professional way things are done. We started His Storyy in December and 4 and a half months later we are finished . Movies take much longer to complete.
Your forthcoming assignments?
I start shooting for the second season of Illegal as soon as lockdown ends. There is another show I can’t talk about. There’s a lot of good things happening. I am quite happy where I am right now. This is my third career. I started acting late. My expectations from my acting career are different from that of other actors who came in much before me. I was a lawyer before an actor. I see acting as a great day job. It gives me the time to do other things I enjoy doing.I am quite happy doing my work on camera and disappearing. I know it’s a strange thing to say for an actor. I like to do my work for two months then disappear for two months, ride my bike and come back. There is so much demand and consumption of content because of Covid. I am happy be working as long as I can.
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