Fresh from the success of the OTT series “State of Siege: 26/11”, actor Arjan Bajwa, who will also be seen in a forthcoming Amazon Prime series with Shruti Hassan and Mithun Chakraborty, says that working in the hostage drama was nothing less than thrilling. The actor, who debuted in Hindi cinema with “Woh Tera Naam Tha” always wanted to portray the role of an Indian defence forces officer on screen. He says: “Also, it was an exciting project in terms of portraying the Black-Cat commandos who flushed out the terrorists. The kind of response that we got from critics and audience was intense and so overwhelming that I wish we made more content like this in the future.”
Talk to him about the fact that despite being plagued by terrorism for decades, not many realistic thrillers have been made here — like on the lines of “Fauda” or “Hostage”, and the actor, feels that with the advent of OTT, things are bound to change and themes which require elaborate work will come forward. “In movies, one only get two hours to dwell upon something — the limited time frame does not necessarily allow you to go into the intricacies of, say, an espionage incident. However, with the penetration of digital platforms, I am optimistic that things will change for the better.”
For someone who has worked in both Hindi cinema and films down South, the experience of working in the digital space has been unforgettable. “The entire shooting process is minute, with much attention paid to detail. It is not something one does in a rush. The medium allows upto eight to ten episodes, which is about four to five hours of content, so, the whole experience is creatively fulfilling. While the film-making process is exactly the same, working on some excellent stories for the web coming my way has been satisfactory.”
Pleased that OTT platforms are giving a chance to new talent to showcase their skill-sets, the actor who shot to fame with the film “Guru” and played the lead in “Fashion” refrains from giving away much about his series with Shruti Hassan and Mithun Chakraborty based on Ravi Subramaniam’s book “The Bestseller She Wrote”.
“I can’t divulge much except that it is a pretty intense drama. It has been a successful book, so I am pleased that it is my second web-series. Again, I am getting to portray an author-backed role after Stage of Siege 26/11 which was based on ‘Black Tornado: The three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11’. Shruti is a a multi-talented person –a writer, producer, singer, music composer and actor who speaks three different languages. Now, Mithun Chakraborty is a veteran. The humility and warmth he he has for his colleagues and juniors alike stands out.”
All praise for the South Indian film industry which he feels is highly professional and works with clock-work precision, the actor who has done more than 10 films down there says: “The kind of homework they do is exhaustive. Everyone is very particular about timings. In that respect, working in the South Indian industry has been an amazing experience. It is home for me as Telugu industry has given me much love and warmth.”
And how is Bajwa surviving the lockdowns? He feels that it important to keep a positive attitude right now, during the lockdown period as one cannot refute the emotional ramifications of this period. “I am being optimistic about the future — this too shall pass. Of course, this has not really been a break considering it is not a relaxed period and one is not getting to meet his/her friends and family.”
Currently working on multiple web-series and films, he says: “I am really looking forward to the time when everything opens up and the shoots resume. Hope whatever is in the pipeline gets executed really soon.”