Working with Kabir Khan was dream come true: Karanvir

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Actor Karanvir Malhotra who was loved for his performance in Netflix's coming-of-age cricket drama, Selection Day, will now be seen in Kabir Khan's mini series The Forgotten Army- Azaadi Ke Liye which is streaming live on Amazon Prime.

Karanvir plays the role of Amar- a young budding photo journalist working on a project for BBC. Amar’s character has been inspired by Kabir Khan’s experiences when he made his directorial debut with the documentary film 'The Forgotten Army' which realeased in 1999. Excerpts from the interview:

Describe your character 'Amar'  - The Forgotten Army. Describe your experience working with Kabir Khan. 

Amar’s character is of a photojournalist. He’s in the ‘present’ timeline of the show. My character is inspired by Kabir Khan’s experiences when he shot the documentary ‘The Forgotten Army’. Amar’s objective is to go to Burma to click pictures of the student protests going on there against the Military uprising.
Working with Kabir Sir was a dream come true. I am a huge fan of his work. I love the ethos and heart of all his films. Working with him was a learning experience as he’s a great teacher! He creates and directs with all his heart which is contagious and made me want to get better with each and every take I gave.

How did you find a connect to your ‘Selection Day’ character?

They’re both rebellious but of a different kind. Amar’s character rebelled against his father to do something he really believed in even though there was a lot at stake to go to Burma during all the protests going on there. Javed on the other hand rebells against the system which he felt did wrong to his brother who committed suicide because of parental pressure and then later Manju who was in a similar boat as his brother.

Given a choice, what would you choose; a character or a script?

I think it’s a combination. It’s not exciting for me if I’m getting a chance to play the lead but the story doesn’t sit right in my heart and if the story on the other hand is engaging I need to feel that the contribution of my character in it is significant.

So is finding a psychological connect to a role harder than reading and researching?

I come from theatre and studied how to break down scenes. For me it’s all about the psychology. Reading and researching are the means to get into the head and heart of the character. For example, I got lucky that Selection Day was a book so there was so much information additional to that in the script that I understood and sensed who Javed is.

Your character is a budding photo journalist. How did you approach the role?

So few weeks before the shoot I borrowed a Dslr from a friend to get used to capture pictures manually because Amar’s character is a photography geek. I eventually got used to setting the aperture, ISO, shutter speed etc. Kabir sir also suggested me to watch The Killing Fields which captures the life of a journalist during the Vietnam war. I also watched documentaries on Bob Cappa and James Nachtwey to learn the different stances when capturing pictures in conflict prone situations.

For people who have not yet watched The Forgotten Army, what would you say to them?

'The Forgotten Army' is a reminder for all of us of what our unsung heroes sacrificed to free our motherland and create a nation full of love for each other. The beauty of the story lies in how it communicates with the people of today and inspires them to build on the foundation laid by these heroes who believed in the ideas of equality and secularism.

Which do you think is more challenging?Theatre or Web Series ? Do you prefer web over traditional TV?

Well acting doesn’t change. It’s just the mediums which are different so they are equally challenging. Frankly, with the current content being created in web I definitely prefer that over satellite TV. I think web is revolutionising the way people watch and perceive content. It’s breaking all the barriers. I mean i never thought I’ll be getting messages from Non-Indians staying in places like Spain and Argentina who’ve watched Indian content.

If not facing the camera, and bringing various characters to life, what would you be doing?

That’s a hard one. I actually did a few jobs when I was in Australia. I worked as a Telemarketer and did some other jobs in marketing too thinking it’ll complement my education in Commerce but I just knew from day 1 that this is not for me and that’s when I started taking theatre seriously.. I have no idea what else I would do!

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’m about to wrap up for a feature film. You’ll hear about it soon!

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