Deccan Chronicle

OTTs have increased volume of content consumed and produced, says Aaditya Gupta

Deccan Chronicle.| Ajit Andhare

Published on: March 8, 2023 | Updated on: March 8, 2023

OTTs have increased volume of content consumed and produced, says Aaditya Gupta

Aaditya Gupta (Photo By Arrangement)

Aaditya Gupta (Photo By Arrangement)

His first audition didn’t fructify the way he would have liked but it helped him bag a central role in ‘Criminal Justice Season 3’. In a freewheeling chat, Aaditya Gupta, who essayed the role of Mukul Ahuja in the series on Disney+Hotstar, talks about the need to be a part of mainstream Hindi movies and his wish to work with Vijay Sethupathi someday.

Please tell us about your background and how you decided to take up acting as a career.

Coming from a middle-class family, taking up a career in acting was a challenge for me. It seemed impossible to achieve this dream, but that wasn’t the first thought on my mind. It was more about doing something I love, something that inspires me to get out of bed every day. During the pandemic, I joined one of the finest theatre groups in India- ‘The Rangakarmee’, where I started training as an actor. I had taken part in plays back in my school days which made me realize that I did not have stage fear, but being in a professional environment at the theatre made me understand that this is what I always wanted to do and that’s when I fell in love with acting.

Your performance in ‘Criminal Justice: Season 3’ has won a lot of praise. How did you land the role?
While I was honing my skills in theatre, I got an audition opportunity in Kolkata. Being my first audition for an on-screen performance, I was nervous and I didn’t know how things worked. I just knew that I needed to perform my best. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the role and was honestly quite disheartened.

Nevertheless, I continued my training at Rangakarmee. The casting agency remembered me from this audition and in October 2021, they asked me to audition for the role of Mukul Ahuja. I went through multiple rounds of auditions and after weeks of anticipation, I got to know that I had been locked to play the role.

Was it easy to play Mukul Ahuja? What preparation/research went into portraying the complex character?
When I first read the script for Mukul Ahuja, I instantly knew him, it was very well-written. But an actor’s work doesn’t just stay limited to details in the script. Apart from the instinct in order to understand the character and his mindset even further, I read the autobiography of Nic Sheff in which he talks about his experience as an addict. Mukul will always remain the most special character that I could ever portray not just because it was my first in front of the camera, but also because of the complex emotions that I got the opportunity to feel while I was in his shoes.

You worked with two senior and superb actors – Pankaj Tripathi and Swastika Mukherjee. How was the experience?
I feel very fortunate about the fact that I could get the opportunity to start my career with such great actors who have proved themselves in the industry. It was an immense learning experience, especially seeing the professionalism and the gusto with which Pankaj Sir approaches his work was just so fascinating to witness. I felt like taking notes between action and cut, the nuances in his craft and the minute detailing just makes it even more special, it was a privilege and an honor to be able to work with someone of that stature.

It is not easy to make a place for yourself in the entertainment industry which is often accused of nepotism. How do you see the issue of nepotism? Any firsthand experience?
From what I have experienced till now, at the end of the day what matters the most is your work ethic and the atmosphere that you create around yourself. When you are on set doing a scene you are just an actor, where you come from, who you are related to won’t impact what you do in front of the camera, surely the journey to reaching that place is very difficult and I feel that’s why we discuss privilege every now and then. But at the end of the day, it’s all about who will be able to balance between craft and relationships.

Do you think OTT comes as a breath of fresh air for actors who are rank outsiders in the industry?
Absolutely, I mean I wouldn’t have been where I am today without OTT, the best part about OTT is that it has increased the volume of both content consumed and produced which has helped new actors like myself get opportunities.

How important is it for an actor to be a part of a mainstream Hindi movie to make a mark nationwide?
When we speak about a mainstream film that makes a nationwide impact, I think that transcends all linguistic barriers. As an actor, it’s very important to be a part of such a venture to be a star. Although I feel we are in a transition where we will see that in the OTT space as well, but to see that on a large scale, it will still take some more time.

South vs Bollywood debate has been going on for some time now in the film industry. What’s your take on it?
I feel there shouldn’t be a place for a debate. Our country is known for its diversity and richness in culture, and that very principle should be applied to the films that we produce as well. Our films have shown time and time again that they have the power to reach any audience irrespective of their linguistic orientation, films like ‘KGF’, ‘Kantara’, ‘RRR’, ‘Vikram’, ‘Pushpa’ were all films which were very well-received by the entire nation which clearly shows that our audience is accepting new ideas and stories, and don’t put their entire focus on the language

Do you follow South Indian cinema? Any favourite movies or actors from the South?
I love films from South India, I have an entire list of favourites – ‘Super Deluxe’, ‘Vikram’, ‘Kantara’, ‘Asuran’, ‘Vikram Vedha’, '96 are a few of the many that I absolutely cherished, I love Vijay Sethupathi Sir, I feel the kind of work he does appeals to the mass at the same time stays relevant to the art form. Every character that he has portrayed on screen has been phenomenal and so different from the other. He is truly an inspiration and it would be an honor for me to work with him one day.

Which projects are you currently working on?
There are a couple of interesting things that I have been working on which I will announce very soon, as of now there is a big release coming up in the form of ‘Apurva’ in the coming months. 

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