Actor Angad Bedi believes his Anshuman in Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is the most complex character he has ever played. “It’s an emotion that you have to understand and let it sink in,” Angad said. The actor is happy about the appreciation coming his way for the Netflix film which stars Janhvi Kapoor in the titular role.
Sharan Sharma directorial Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is based on the life of India’s first female Air Force officer to fly in a combat zone during the 1999 Kargil War. The film also stars Pankaj Tripathi, Vineet Kumar, Manav Vij and Ayesha Raza Mishra.
In a candid chat with indianexpress.com, Angad Bedi opened up about playing Gunjan’s brother Anshuman Saxena.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. How has the audience reaction been so far?
As long as you are able to connect with the audience, and people share that emotion, then nothing like it. When your work gets appreciated, it gives you a lot of courage. These are such trying times that you need some happiness, and Gunjan Saxena is one such film.
Q. Your character is walking on a tight rope. How did you find that balance? Tell me more about getting into the psyche of Anshuman Saxena.
For me to play Major Anshuman Saxena has been an honour because I got to wear a uniform and connect with the life of a soldier. This film is about the journey of a girl, but it is also the coming-of-age of a protective brother. Though he respects her, he is also conflicted, and nobody is able to understand his state of mind. He respects her talent, but he is not sure if she is mentally ready for the job. He isn’t sexist, rather he is trying to save her from sexism. It’s like walking on a tight rope. It’s a very complex part. These are the kind of relationships which are not shown on screen. Anshuman is flawed, but realistic.
Q. The late-night chat between you and your father depicts opposite ends of the spectrum. How do you see it as an audience?
I saw it as if my father was sitting in front of me. Pankaj ji literally gave me the energy which my father gives me. You are as good or bad as your co-actor. If the scene gets elevated, credit goes to the co-actor. Here all credit goes to Pankaj Tripathi. He let me speak my heart and mind in that scene as Anshuman. I thought that I am talking to my real father.
Q. And what about the scene where you give a reality check to Gunjan after her graduation?
What Anshuman is saying arises from a thought process which most people till date have, but they don’t say it. He speaks the truth, which people are thinking.
The sky has no limits and neither should our dreams. So proud and honoured to share a part in the telling of such an inspiring story. #GunjanSaxena: The Kargil Girl streaming now only on @netflixindia!@DharmaMovies @ZeeStudios_ @karanjohar @apoorvamehta18 pic.twitter.com/KIsgHBNLCN
— ANGAD BEDI “Anshuman Saxena” (@Imangadbedi) August 12, 2020
Q. Do you think your character could’ve been depicted any differently?
Had I changed the tone of my character and if I had spoken with slight authority, it could’ve gone in the negative space. I didn’t want him to be a brother who scolds his sister. Argument doesn’t need to be heated. Thanks to Sharan Sharma and Nikhil Mehrotra who’ve written the part so well. Sharan wanted me to be a strong officer but also sensitive towards his sister. So the tone won’t be of disagreement but of emotions.
Q. Did you get to meet Gunjan Saxena or her family?
I met Gunjan ma’am’s family. I couldn’t meet her because when she came on set, I wasn’t there. Her father is a gem of a human being, and you can see that in the portrayal of Anup Saxena through Pankaj Tripathi. It’s a bit unfortunate that we couldn’t promote the film together due to the pandemic. But I feel connected with her through Anshuman’s character and our bond has become immortal because it is now on screen.
Q. How was it working with Janhvi Kapoor?
A brother-sister bond is the purest and the most honest. Janhvi has been so sincere in her work. Even when you see our scenes together, she came into my energy, and my energy in the film is very calm and composed. And that’s a very good sign. So it just connects.
Q. How did your wife Neha react to the film?
She really enjoyed the film. She said it is one of the best films she’s ever seen. That feels great because she is also an ex-naval officer’s daughter. She loved the authenticity of my look. Also, we didn’t want Anshuman to be the hero, to have a stylised hairdo. We wanted him to be the jawan. We wanted the audience not to see Angad Bedi but Anshuman Saxena in the film.
Q. You once told me that you want to leave a body of work that your daughter feels proud of. Do you think Gunjan Saxena is one such film?
Of course! I want my daughter to have a hero in Gunjan Saxena. Tomorrow, I want her to feel proud of me and my work. That is my moral victory. It’s not about any award or pedestal. It’s about was I able enough make an impression on my daughter. For me, my awards and rewards are the blessings of my family.
Q. You’ve played a brother in Soorma and Gunjan Saxena. Are you on a hattrick?
I just like characters where the audience has a connect. I also want to do an action, comedy and a romantic film too. Soorma got me Gunjan Saxena. Gunjan will get me another film. It’s all about transferring energy from one project to another. This has been a deliberate attempt to play characters which are much more softer. I feel if my presence is strong, my performance should be soft.
Q. What’s next?
I am doing a project titled Mumbhai, where I play an encounter specialist. I am really looking forward to that.
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