How did Karwaan happen?
Akarsh Khurana, who is the director of Karwaan, and I, know each other through theatre. We have been associated with a huge theatre festival, called Thespo, and are alumni of the festival. Akarsh told me that he was making this film, and mine will be one of the names that he was going to suggest to Nandini Srikent, the casting director. I was shortlisted, then there were look tests and then there was this endless wait. Because I knew Akarsh, I could play that card and be like, ‘will you tell me what’s happening’, but I didn’t. I waited — as an actor that’s what you do. You do your work and, then, when it doesn’t work out, you move on. I mean, it was a huge opportunity but, well, if it doesn’t work out, then fine. Then, one day, Akarsh called and said I was on board. I was ecstatic.
Then you came to know that there are Irrfan and Dulquer Salmaan in the film. How did that feel?
Amazing. I mean, to work in your first film, in your debut as a lead, to work with the finest artists of the country, who doesn’t want to do that?
Were you nervous?
I was very nervous. Also, I have grown up watching Irrfan Khan and, now, you are sharing screen space with him. It was nerve-wracking and intimidating. Not because he intimidated me, but because it came from a place of respect.
When you started shooting, did it match up to all that you had heard? You have been part of another film before, though that was a smaller role.
I have worked in a similar set-up. The first Marathi film that I acted in was with a debut director. The film crew was really tight, it was like a close-knit family, which was like Karwaan, a really efficient crew, really tight and we were travelling all over. And there was Akarsh, who was my comfort zone.
Every actor has his or her method. Do you have anything of your own?
I think I am very disturbing on the set because I am singing all the time. I won’t say I am a singer but I do sing a lot. I am quite noisy on sets. But, in terms of prep, I don’t think I have a method. The camera is on and I am on. Of course, you need to know a little bit about your character, you can’t just go there. But, I trust my writer and director a lot, and it’s all in the writing. I am a complete director’s actor. It works out that way for me.
You were one of the early generation of internet stars.
Yes. I had been auditioning. I was called for an audition for a web series called News Darshan that FilterCopy did back then. It was the first web show that I did. I knew that I wanted to be an actor, I just did not know when and where. I was open to experimenting. What happened to the internet has happened over the last two years and I have been riding that wave.