‘The Tattoo Murders’ web-series is an interesting project on my resume, says actor Tanuj Virwani
Actor Tanuj Virwani started as assistant director and was involved in the making of 'Chance Pe Dance' with Shahid Kapoor and Genelia D’souza, 'Aao Wish Karien' with Aftab Shivdasani and Aamna Sharif
Tell us about your Journey.
Well what can I say. It’s been quite a roller coaster journey from the time I set foot in the industry and it’s been almost eight years now. Time really flies. I started off as an assistant director and assisted on a couple of movies Chance Pe Dance with Sahid Kapoor and Genelia D’souza, Aao Wish Karien with Aftab Shivdasani and Aamna Sharif. I worked as a clapper boy and then I was promoted to second AD and so on and so forth. I learned a lot about the technicalities of this profession back then. I always thought I would probably pursue something behind the scenes. But I guess slowly but surely the acting bug did bite me and that’s when I took formal training from Kishore Namit Kapoor and started watching a whole bunch of movies. I started studying other actors when I was on the set and I finally got my first break with the movie 'luv U Soniyo' followed that up with a with an eros international film called 'Purani Jeans', then One Night Stand with Sunny Leone and eventually 'Inside Edge' happened and that really changed a lot of things for me so that’s been my journey so far it’s been quite a ride the high’s have been very high the lows have been very low but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world because it taught me a lot it taught me that you need to stay grounded and humble- don’t get to carry away by success or too bogged down by failure.
Tell us about your latest project “The Tattoo Murders”
'The Tattoo Murders' is definitely an interesting project on my resume. It’s the first time in my career that I have tried to do something drastically different and totally negative as you have great characters with shades of gray such as my character in Poison but this was a journey to the dark side and really enjoyed playing this part and also you know I think there’s a certain amount of liberation that comes on being on an OTT platform as opposed to a film. There’s a lot more responsibility when you have to carry a film on your shoulders. Here, Meera Chopra is the central protagonist so it’s her who has to do all the heavy lifting. I was the willing and got a chance to really get into a different facet of my personality and hopefully give the audience a different shade of my acting.
If not an actor then, what would you be ?
Oh that’s an interesting question. If I were not an actor, then, well I’ve always been inclined towards the creative aspect of life in general I mean finances and commercials and the corporate aspect of things don’t really fascinate me as much. so I think I would perhaps have been someone behind a camera. I could be a writer or director. I would have been doing something in advertising. In fact, ironically my very first job was at an ad agency rediffusion and i was in the copy and print section of the Colgate account so that’s how everything started. I would at some time in the future go into maybe starting my own restaurant or something interesting like that but it must be creative in nature.
What’s your take on nepotism in Bollywood?
Of course there is a certain amount of nepotism that is prevalent in our industry but that's prevalent in every industry. You may get best of chances because of your family background but at the end of the day it all comes down to your destiny, merit and hard work. The public doesn't come to watch a Khan, Kapoor or Kumar, they come to watch you because they like you. So let’s just put it an end to this nepotism debate once and for all!
Given COVID situation, do you think OTT has changed entertainment industry. Do you think digital platforms and theatres can co-exist?
I feel the way we’ve been consuming our entertainment has been fast evolving over the past three to four years ever since the OTT platforms came to our country starting with Netflix and Amazon. But they have been accelerated considerably because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that it’s no longer viable option for one to go to the cinema you see today a lot of content which was otherwise meant for theatrical experience is now releasing on these OTT platforms. God willing, once COVID goes away for good and the dust settles, the entire entertainment landscape is going to look very different. I don’t think it’s going to be the death of movie theaters like a lot of people are predicting but at the same time I feel there will be changes- in budgets, in the way films are produced. I think tighter budgets and more well thought out well planned out productions are the call and the need of the hour.
How much time do you usually take to prepare for your character?
That’s another interesting question. It really depends. There are certain characters that demand a lot more preparations from outside and sometimes it’s inside out for me. Once I start getting the physicality of the character I start adding my subtle nuances too. As in this project with the title 'Tandoor', for the first time in my career I was doing a real life character. So for me, even though I was adding my own subtle nuances and stuff I had to read a book I had to study how this person and his mannerisms were.
I feel sometimes your thought process mirrors your physicality and vice versa. And to bring that is your character is challenging. I think that’s what makes acting very interesting and exciting.
What are your upcoming projects?
I’ve got a Hotstar project called 'Murder Meri Jaan' with Barkha Singh. Then we have Tandoor. it’s Mx-Ullu collaboration and is based on the infamous murder case that happened in 1995 in Delhi. I am due to start shoot for Code M season 2 pretty soon with Jennifer Winget. There is also Illegal season 2 which should be coming fairly soon.
One message to all your fans.
Well, one message I would like to give all you guys out there is thank you so much for checking in on me whether it’s on social media or my work, being so supportive it’s because of you guys only that I have got the opportunity to live and realize my dreams. Acting is something that’s very very dear to me, it’s much more than just a job and it’s only because you guys continue to validate the work that I put in that makers offer me substantial roles and I hope that in the years to come I will be able to provide some fantastic entertainment. I will also request all you guys to mask up, sanitize and observe social distancing and make sure you stay at home unless you really really have a reason to get out of the house remember you’re not just doing it for your own safety, you’re doing it for the safety of those around you and your loved ones and just keep in mind that change is the only constant in life this is not going to be the case forever. No matter how dark and uncertain time may seem right now, it will pass. So please be hopeful, optimistic and spread that optimism all around you.