Aahana Kumra considers herself to be privileged to have worked in several platforms like theatre, television, films and OTT. In a conversation with Firstpost, Aahana talks about playing a negative role for the first time in Avrodh Season 2. For the preparation of the role in Avirodh, she used to spend a lot of time alone and not talk to anyone as she wanted to stay in the shade of the character. She talks about how the digital platform is bringing stories for the masses which people can relate too. She fails to understand why films with false heroism are still liked by the audience. The stories on OTT resonate with her and she strongly believes that it is the present and future of entertainment.
OTT has brought about a revolution, what do you have to say about that?
For my understanding OTT has been a breath of fresh air. For the longest time, we have been fed with commercial cinema which I didn’t identify with it at all. Again television, which I couldn’t identify myself with. I don’t understand kitchen politics or family politics. I don’t understand shadayantr (conspiracy). We live in Bombay; honestly do we have time for shadayantr. I don’t understand that life where people are always playing kitchen politics. I am sure there are people like that to do kitchen politics or do those kind things. That is why these kind of shows become popular because there is an audience for that too.
I also can’t relate to Salman Khan coming and shaking his buttocks in front of me and the audiences loving it and doing Dabangg. I don’t identify with that either because I don’t understand that heroism. I am sure there is a huge audience for that too and they go crazy the moment Bhai (Salman Khan) comes in. It’s a popular cinema, but do I identify with it? I don’t.
There is a certain population like us also who wants to watch real characters and stories of other heroes like ‘Sir’ or ‘Lunch Box’. There is a crowd for ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ and they are not doing Mahila Mukti Morcha, but they are fighting their everyday battles. What the OTT has done is made it massy and there are a lot of new stories that were around us, but probably we didn’t notice it. So the digital platform is bringing out those stories to the people. And these stories are such an integral part of our life and they have been written so interestingly and performed so interesting with different actors, writers, directors, cinematographer who were probably waiting for a chance to be a part of the entertainment industry for long and OTT has actually opened doors for them. The spotlight is on them. It is very interesting that we have been able to open this plethora of stories. It is nice to see cinema changing because of the digital format.
Tell us about your experience of playing a negative role for the first time in Avrodh Season 2
Yes, this is the first time that I am playing a negative role. And there are very few roles written nicely for women in a negative space. The script was written brilliantly and not the typical conniving type. I have already done action films earlier, so the preparation wasn’t all that difficult.
The character that I am playing believes what she is doing is right and every character for that matter comes from a set of belief that what I am doing is right. That is how I started choosing from my character’s point of view and then I started empathizing with the character. There are very few scenes of mine with my co-actors. Most of my scenes are in isolation, so I didn’t get much time to spend with my co-actors. It’s a grey role which is very close to reality.
What do you have to say on the roles of villains and vamps changing and every character getting so layered?
Earlier it was like Mogambo Khush Hua, but you didn’t know why khush huya? And then Gabbar was always supposed to be angry. We don’t have characters like that anymore. Like you are a villain so you are a bad boy. And what is nice about Parveena’s character is that there is an empathy towards her. In the last episode you realise why she is behaving in a certain way and why she is the way she is. There is nothing that is absolutely right or wrong about a person and that was an integral part of understanding why Parveena is the way she is. Now, the best thing is writing scripts have become sharp and the way the role was written, my work became easy.
How has OTT changed your life?
I was doing theatre for a very long time and I have seen a maximum of two hundred to three hundred people come to watch your show. I was also doing parallel films. I feel OTT is the parallel cinema of what the directors like Govind Nihalani and Shekhar Kapoor were trying to do. It is because of OTT that a lot of people know me today as an actor. Even when I am travelling to a small town people know me there and it is nice to get recognised for your work. The stories on OTT resonate with me. So, I think OTT is the future of entertainment.