ZEE5 has released its latest original Poison. Starring Tanuj Virwani, Arbaaz Khan, Freddy Daruwala and Riya Sen in the lead roles, the 11-episode thriller has been directed by Jatin Wagle. Set in Goa, Poison is a story of revenge, power, crime and love.
At the launch event held on Thursday, the cast interacted with the media and shared anecdotes from their experience. Riya spoke about how she messaged ZEE5 CEO Tarun Katial showing keenness to work with the platform after hearing about her sister’s (Raima Sen) amazing experience working with the team.
Post the event, Riya sat down for an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com. She talked about the lack of good offers, the digital medium and being typecast in glamorous roles.
Excerpts from the conversation:
On the stage, you shared how you messaged ZEE5 head Tarun Katial wanting to work on the platform. As an actor, does it hurt to ask for work?
Not at all. I am at a stage right now where I am ready to message every producer telling that I am ready to screen test. Yes, I might fail in a few tests but they should know I want to work. When I joined the industry, I was very young and shy. I didn’t understand the need for a PR or a manager. And so it’s important for people to know I am interested in work. Tarun was one of the first people that I messaged and it was so kind of him to offer me Poison. While I don’t have a lengthy role in the show, I am taking this as a stepping stone. With the kind of marketing and positioning ZEE5 has, every actor would love to be a part of it.
What to do you feel has been the reason behind the lack of roles for you?
Firstly, many feel I am not interested or don’t want to act anymore. Also, since I travel a lot, they feel I am not in Mumbai. But I took a conscious decision to take a little break from Bollywood as I was not happy with the kind of work I was being offered. When I look back, I am shocked at what I have done (laughs). I question myself why did I do it. So now I am doing damage control on all my past choices and picking up the best roles. I also know that I can act better now. I am also more confident.
Previously, you did Ragini MMS Returns and now Poison. Do you feel the digital medium has given an opportunity to a lot of actors?
Absolutely, and I think it’s amazing. Now, you don’t need to be a part of a group, do extensive PR or be nice to everyone. That is something me and my sister have never done. Roles will come to you if you deserve it. It’s not just a couple of good actors anymore. There’s a long list of people who could showcase their talent. I have worked with a few brilliant actors and I wonder where were they. Most were just sitting at home waiting for work. With the web coming in, it has opened so many doors, and not just for artistes but directors, producers, writers and cinematographers. And they can tell the kind of stories they like, there is no formula that works on the digital platform. I am so happy that groupism and politics are now passe. You can be all over the place now if you are doing good work.
When films didn’t work, didn’t you ever consider working on the small screen?
My mother always told us that TV can be your best secretary. I know it has a great reach. But I am quite scared of the medium. I have recently worked with a few television actors and they are brilliant. They are so quick with their lines and can improvise. But I am sceptical of working for such long hours. I don’t know if I have that kind of discipline.
Also Riya, people feel that you are suited only for glamorous roles. Are you fine with it as an actor?
Earlier when I got these glam roles, I would be just wearing a mini skirt, makeup and running around trees. I didn’t even know if it was impressionable. I was just listening to people around me. But with time, I realised that is not my idea of being sexy. For me, looking good and having a strong personality is sexy. But that confidence has come after all this time. And now even if I am offered a glamorous role, I know there would be much more that I can do with it.
Since you also had your sister as a contemporary, did that create any kind of competition between you both?
She is my sister and can never be a competitor. Also, I think Raima is a great actress. Honestly, times have changed. Now every actress is friends with their contemporary. When you are working and chalking out your own career, competition would be the last thing on your mind. We all are also very different from each other. I can’t be someone else and they can’t be me.
I have two web series coming soon – Pati Patni Aur Woh with Anant Vidhaat and Mismatch 2 on Hoichoi.
Poison is currently streaming on ZEE5.
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