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India needs to give at least one international show every year: Abhishek Banerjee

Actor Abhishek Banerjee became a household name by playing diverse characters in recent films like Stree, Bala, Dream Girl and Phillauri. On OTT, the character of Hatoda Tyagi in Pataal Lok made the audience shiver, thereby giving Abhishek the tag of one of the most talented actors of the industry. With some meaty roles in his bag, Abhishek was recently spotted in Delhi shooting for one of his upcoming projects. In a quick chat, he talks about coming back to Delhi, where he began his acting career as a theatre artiste and much more. Read on

You were recently in Delhi for one of your shows’ shoots. How does it feel to be back to your place but now as a celebrity?

Yes, we filmed at Jama Masjid, Delhi for our show, and it holds so many memories for me. During my college days, it used to be my go-to place. I would go there alone with my friends to spend some quality time, eat delicious food, and have discussions over a cup of tea.

Initially, I could not even recognise that it was the same place I used to come to. After all, everything has changed in the last few years.

To be back as someone people recognise is kind of weird. Earlier, I used to roam around, but I can’t do that anymore. Even if I go sit with my friends in a restaurant, people stop by and talk, snap pictures, and it’s strange because it’s the same places where we used to hang out, but now everything has changed so much. Having said that, we all become actors for this recognition. That’s what we work hard for. So it’s overwhelming in a positive way. I remember an incident when I got stuck with a fan in the lift. And you know how they want to touch you, talk with you, and take pictures. It is fun, but nobody is ever prepared for situations like these and I did not know how to react. So it feels weird at times.

You have played such versatile characters on OTT. Would you mind playing a character like that of Arjun Mathur in Made in Heaven – a show that got internationally recognised?

My mother-in-law once asked me the same question after watching Made in Heaven and I said that it totally depends on the story, the director, and the character. If all three are suitable, I will go for it. But even if one thing is missing, I won’t do it. That’s because, for any kind of intimacy on-screen, these three things need to be convincing.

You are one of those actors who have a deep understanding of OTT platforms. What, in your opinion, is the downside to this space?

I believe we need to create a lot of content and we have to do it fast. We have to create shows in shorter time periods, but that’s going to be a challenge. That’s because the scale and extravagance of the project gets compromised due to the shortage of time. Work needs to be done to come up with a model that would help in the production of back-to-back shows without compromising on quality. We need to aim internationally. India is such a big country, and we have to give at least one international show every year.

You also own a casting agency called Casting Bay. What’s your goal with that?

We try to do everything possible to cast new and talented actors through our agency. That’s what Casting Bay has always been for me. It is a platform to promote talent from all parts of the world. Every person who is working with the company is there to help these talented artistes and not judge them. They have skills all that’s required is a direction and Casting Bay does exactly that.