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Friday, September 18, 2020

Flesh actor Akshay Oberoi: I had so much fun playing Taj

Actor Akshay Oberoi on playing Taj in Eros Now web series Flesh, the most difficult scene of the show and sharing screen space with Swara Bhasker.

Written by A. Kameshwari | New Delhi | Updated: August 18, 2020 3:34:25 pm
akshay oberoi in swara bhasker series fleshAkshay Oberoi and Swara Bhasker's Flesh will stream on Eros Now from August 21 onwards. (Photo: Akshay Oberoi/Instagram)

Akshay Oberoi calls his Flesh character Taj “psychotic,” “sickening” and yet he wants to play him again. The actor claims he had a lot of fun being the antagonist of the web series Flesh.

In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, Akshay spoke about playing Taj, the psychological effect it had on him, his wife and mother’s reaction to the series’ trailer and more.

Excerpts from the conversation.

Taj is so different from what you have played before. Tell us something about your character.

The fact about big stars is that because they draw a large number of audiences to the theater, people give them a chance to do all sorts of things (on-screen) but for an actor like me, I have to prove myself that I can pull off such a character. I have to prove that I am a good actor. That is why I took up this part.

My character Taj is a sex-trafficker with a very terrible upbringing. I had so much fun playing the role. Last time, I had this much fun was during Gurgaon (2017). These negative characters are very enjoyable. You get to do so much with them. I like his unpredictability. I kind of miss him, which I know is a terrible thing to say as he is such a sick character but I want to play him again.

How was the experience of working with Swara?

Swara and I worked together in It’s Not That Simple, in which we were romantically paired. As far as Flesh is concerned, I told Swara she fits the cop role so perfectly. That’s the unique part of a web series, the casting can be done genuinely. The right people get the right role.

Swara and I share a brother-sister sort of relationship. I keep teasing her. We keep joking around. I think she is an amazing person. It is rare to find such a good person. She is a tremendous actor. She is so outspoken but I respect someone like that. I am proud of her. Proud that she goes out there and expresses herself. She likes to share what is in her mind. I have a big amount of respect for her.

How did you prep for the role?

I didn’t think I could pull off this role because I was so scared of this part but that is the same reason why I took it up. Usually, when I work on a character, I start with the internals of the character – what does he do, his aims and so on. For this one, I started with looks. We painted my hair white, got ears pierced, tried crazy costumes. That is how I started building this character because I was terrified to get straight into his psyche. Once I figured out who he was externally, I started working on it internally. There was a playlist that my spot boy would play once I was on the sets. Horrible music.

Flesh stars Swara Bhasker and Akshay Oberoi in the lead role Akshay Oberoi starrer series Flesh revolves around human trafficking. (Photo: Eros Now/YouTube)

Was it hard to get out of the psyche of the character?

The mind is a fickle place. The role took a toll on me. It took time for me to get out of the character. But during this time, and especially during the pandemic, I realised how important it is to have friends and family. With these people, you realise who you are. The second you hug your son and wife, you snap out of the character. There are so many insecurities, rejections and of course, the characters that we play that can take a toll on us. I am thankful for having them around.

Has your wife watched the trailer? What did she think of it?

I remember when we came back from Gurgaon premiere, she did not speak to me for a day. She said she cannot believe that such a character lives in me somewhere because otherwise how could someone pull it off.

She has not shared the trailer of Flesh with her parents yet. I shared the trailer with my mother. She has not replied to me (laughs). I was not working on any other project while working on Flesh. So, I used to carry this horrible character home. My wife has told me that I was not easy to talk to (while play Flesh’s Taj). She knows if I am working on a character, a part of me is still on the sets or thinking about the role. She refused to speak to me. God bless my wife.

Which was the most difficult scene?

In the trailer, there is a scene where I lick somebody’s face. That entire scene was very difficult to shoot. I remember the script just read – Taj terrifies five girls. When I came on the sets, my director briefed me about the scene. He wanted all of it in one shot. While it was a fun part for me, there were girls in the room who were cast for the first time. They were juniors or beginners. I was so bothered and scared. It was a very uncomfortable day for me. I kept asking them if they were alright.

What is the one change you want to see in the industry?

I would like to see more compassion. We should celebrate each other’s work more and we really should work towards making better content.

Flesh will stream on Eros Now from August 21.

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