With the lockdown since March, what did your schedule look like?
I was lucky enough as I managed to finish a lot of my shooting assignments before the lockdown began. By March we had done enough and we had to release Aarya quite soon. Ram, the director and his team found means of working on promotion from home. So, I spent most of my time at home working on Aarya, the post production work, which for an actor is most of the audio work. So, I was working on that and getting a lot of rest which I required as I have been shooting consistently. I was very happy in the 1stfour to six weeks and now its been very long so we are all ready to go again.
How was your experience shooting for Aarya?
We were shooting in and around Jaipur. The weather conditions in Rajasthan were fantastic. We found some amazing locations not only to shoot but also to live in. We got a wholesome experience of Rajasthan as people who travelled there to work. It is very important when you are shooting for a movie or series to be one with the space to feel the character. It's different in Bombay as we live here but when you are shooting in a different part of the country or sometimes a different part of the world, it's important to feel one with the geographical space to be successful. We were lucky to have that in Rajasthan for the shoot of Aarya. Ram Madhwani made sure we had a great time and experience.
With restrictions on on-site promotions and PR, what were the challenges faced for promotions of Aarya?
So while shooting we had taken many bytes, small videos and pictures. We had content for promotion by the end of the shoot just before the lockdown. So, it just had to be put together. We found our ways to adjust to the new normal and to make the show go on.
What do you see in the script whilst choosing a character?
For me, as an actor, the important thing in the role is to see how the human condition has been dealt in a story, as that is the most important thing portraying as far as the character or story goes. Books have been written, Stories are written, the epics have been told to the world to make us understand about our condition in the world, about what we do or how we live, how people living in another part of the world have similarities but just cultural differences.
Human condition portrayal is very important for me, then how my character fits in the story and how the character drives the story ahead.
What do you think about the shift from big screens to OTT Platforms?
I think in the last few months of the pandemic, there have been a lot of shut downs. The OTT has come on our faces a lot more than before. Earlier we had a choice of going to watch a movie or play but now our entertainment is only at home. With all the movies from India and from the west coming on OTT, I definitely think it will take over the mode of entertainment. I think the pandemic has just accelerated the shift from the big screens towards the future of Entertainment.
How has the pandemic impacted the Bollywood Industry?
Earlier for big films, the movies were released on big screen, they would hit the box office and would eventually release on Amazon Prime. Everyone was used to this. But releasing first on OTT is something even we are getting used to. The audiences are watching first day first show at home now. Its completely different. So the consumption of entertainment has changed throughout the world and we are still adapting to that.
What do you do to maintain your physical and mental health at home?
I personally exercise a lot and do a lot of running. I also have an athletic sense of mind as an actor, like be as athletic as you can. The work demands that kind of a physicality sometimes, and for me it’s very important to be physically active. I am very pro health.
What would you like to advise the public about dealing with the crisis?
People in all sectors in the world have been affected from children in schools, to professionals and various businesses, many people have been laid off and people could not carry out their commitments. I think nature creates the balance, when nature sees the world is going a bit topsy turvy, nature has its way of balancing itself to a better place. I think the pandemic will get us in a better place, we just have to maintain safety and follow the measures by different governments with a little patience. We will be fine and the economy will find its place too. With a little patience and if we wait it out, we will be looking at a better world in a couple of months.
Manish Chaudhari with Herald Global about life in lockdown