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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Arjun Mathur: Bollywood is not going to offer me what I desire

Arjun Mathur spoke about his journey in the entertainment industry and his evolution as an actor in this interview.

Written by Komal RJ Panchal | Mumbai | October 3, 2020 4:05:30 pm
arjun mathurArjun Mathur has been nominated at the International Emmy Awards. (Photo: PR handout)

Actor Arjun Mathur is on cloud nine as the actor has recently received a nomination at the International Emmy Awards. Arjun has been a part of various critically acclaimed projects, including Luck By Chance (2009), My Name Is Khan (2010), Waiting (2015), Indian Summers (2016), Brij Mohan Amar Rahe (2018), but he calls Made In Heaven (2019) his “breakthrough project” even after being in the entertainment industry for more than a decade. In a conversation with indianexpress.com, the Made in Heaven actor talked about his journey and aspirations as an actor.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

How did you react when you got to know that you have been nominated for International Emmy Awards?

I experienced a rainbow of emotions. It took some time for the news to sink in. I understood the seriousness of it when everybody started congratulating me.

How was the time between Made in Heaven and the International Emmy Award nomination?

Made in Heaven was a breakthrough. The series and the appreciation that I received for it made me extremely picky. I wanted to make sure that I am being a part of the content that matters, content that is really good quality, and that excites me. I wanted to do things which I could connect to, where my heart is. After Made in Heaven, I want to continue being associated with a certain quality of work.

Do you think the kind of international recognition you are receiving will broaden your horizon as an actor? Will you also be open to doing Bollywood films?

I can’t say, you know. I am just an actor waiting to be cast, and it is really up to the filmmakers whether they want to cast me or not. I hope they do. My own intention is to keep finding my ways through work. Whether Indian filmmakers are casting me or not, I will find work that I want to do. Even then, there is a desire to do different kinds of work. I want to do comedy, I want to do a negative character. I want to keep surprising the audience. I want to keep broadening my horizon as much as I can, within India and outside of India.

Do you think the web space did something for you that Bollywood couldn’t?

Bollywood is a business so unknown faces don’t get cast as lead actors. New actors or actors who don’t have a name or fame do not get the kind of work they desire or deserve. The web-space has given a lot of freedom, not just to actors like me, but also to technicians, writers, filmmakers who are going to thrive because of the opportunities that these streaming platforms are providing. There is a lot of talent in the entertainment industry, and now it is being recognised.

How do you choose what you want to do?

Initially, it was just that realisation that Bollywood functions the way it does and it is not going to give me opportunities that I desire in commercial films. So, I started leaning more towards independent films which were giving me more to do. At the end of the day, every actor wants to carry the project on their shoulders. Then slowly even my taste and sensibility evolved. Now it is just about the content that excites me and the people that are making the project.

In our own cinema, the lines between commercial and non-commercial are blurring. If a project excites me, I am for it. I often don’t even know where it is going to go, whether it is going to have a theatrical release or a streaming platform release or maybe it’ll never release but it does not affect my decision of taking up something which really excites me.

You said ‘Bollywood is not going to offer me what I desire’. Have you desired a typical masala film, a proper song and dance movie?

Look, I grew up watching only masala films. While growing up, I idolised Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, all the three Khans as they came around. That’s the stuff that I grew up on, and obsessed about. When I decided to become an actor, that was my only idea of what exists. But slowly as I started working in the industry, my own taste and sensibility started evolving.

I remember very clearly, back in 2002, when someone asked me what kind of actor I want to be, I didn’t understand the question. I said, ‘Actor is an actor, he becomes a hero, what else?!’ I was very wrong, and I am glad about where I am today. I deeply respect my journey, the opportunities that came my way, and the audience’s love and affection that I am receiving.

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