Hina Khan’s short film Smartphone has started streaming on Ullu app. The Ankush Bhatt directorial also stars Kunaal Roy Kapur and Akshay Oberoi.
In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, Hina opened up about her new project, lockdown experience and more.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Tell us something about Smartphone.
It’s a beautiful story. It chronicles the journey of my character Suman, who belongs to a small village in Uttar Pradesh. She gets married to Chandan, played by Kunal Roy Kapur, and they move to Mumbai. She is awestruck by the big city, and also gets acquainted with the smartphone that her husband gifts her. The story takes a new turn when her husband, who is into gambling, bets her off in a game. And one has to see what happens next, and how she tackles the situation. It has a very strong message of how you shouldn’t underestimate anyone.
You are known for your stylish and glamorous avatar. Was it a challenge to get into the skin of a village belle?
I think as actors, we love these challenges. I am open to all kinds of roles and honestly, I was desperately wanting to do such a rural character. In the future also, I would be more than excited to do such characters.
And do you feel the web is the right medium for such experiments?
I always say that it’s a golden opportunity for actors right now. Post the lockdown, there would be a lot of changes, and the digital medium will take off. People might not be comfortable in theaters, so more and more content will be produced for the web.
Ullu app is yet to find a place among many other bigger platforms in OTT space. Do you feel your film will manage to get an audience?
As I mentioned, digital will be the way ahead and there might be more platforms coming in. And you never know which goes on to make its mark. As for Ullu app, they have recently revamped and come back stronger. They are really making a lot of efforts. They had a great promotional strategy in place even for Smartphone but all went for a toss (due to the lockdown). I can assure you, it’s a very good film, and people will definitely like it. A good project can sometimes turn the table for a platform too.
Since you mentioned things won’t be the same after lockdown, what according to you will change personally and professionally?
When I think of it, I honestly get so scared. It’s been a while but I had to take my mother to the hospital during this time. We were wearing masks, gloves and taking complete precautions. Even when I was so conscious, unknowingly, I did touch my face. I had a mask on but imagine you are so conscious, and yet you cannot avoid these muscle movements. So one will have to be so careful that you don’t know when you could get infected. It will take us a couple of years before things get normal. Traveling, flying and even visiting the mall will not be the same. And when shoots resume, I think we will function with half the people than we usually do. So many people’s jobs are going to get affected.
You are also quite proactive on social media during the lockdown?
It was a conscious decision to be honest. I wanted to create fun content so that I can bring a smile on the face of my fans. I added those background sounds and emphasised on humour in the videos so that they feel good watching it. These are really difficult times, and if I can make them smile, that’s a big thing for me. Everyone has been cooking, washing doormats and cleaning at home but when they see their favourites do it, and that too in a funny manner, it makes them happy.
So now that you are creating content, will you want to try your hands behind the camera?
You never know, I might just do it. I have realised that I have it in me. I understand shot taking and camera angles. Maybe one day, you will see a project that’s acted, written and directed by Hina Khan.
What happened to your film Lines’ release?
It was supposed to come in April, but now you guys will have to wait for it a little longer.
And what about television? Any plans of coming back?
Not for a while. I am enjoying the web space, and have a few projects lined up.
Lastly, since your film is about smartphones, do you remember how life was without one?
We used to sit in front of our telephone and wait for our school and college crushes. And then our mums would pick the phone and it would be all silent (laughs).
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