Earlier this year, Netflix brought the Hindi remake of the Spanish show Elite to screens, as Class. The show didn’t have much buzz before the release as it featured 11 fresh talents. But as soon as it got released, the audience lapped up on it and it became a huge success. People loved the abundance of new talent that the show offered and one of those was actor Moses Koul.
The show had a profound effect on me as well and recently, I got into a conversation with Moses Koul. The actor opened up about his character Sharan, his journey of exploring his sexuality, getting hatred from the public, being bullied in childhood and much more during our chat.
Moses Koul on Sharan
We began the conversation by discussing Sharan and how it was such a mysterious character up until the last episode. It’s in that episode that the audience gets to see him for who he is and notice his presence. And that is what even Moses resonated with. He said, “It’s crazy that you mention this as that is exactly why I did this role. As a viewer, my favourite characters are not the ones with the maximum screen time. They are the ones who have a presence throughout.”
Moses shared that he related to the confusion Sharan had, as he has gone through that himself at that age. He shared, “ As an 18-year-old, you face so many confusions. At that time, you are shopping for personalities. In Sharan’s case, even in his orientation, you can interpret it in many ways. His confusion is whether he really loves this guy or does he love this girl so much that he is willing to believe he is interested in him.”.
The actor on Sharan’s love life
He even had an interesting analogy in his mind. He said, “Sharan has a very one-sided love story. I feel he is the modern day Shah Rukh Khan from Darr or Baazigar. He is perhaps the love everyone wants internally.”
However, that love wasn’t as vocal from the audience, and it did worry Moses. He said, “Initially, everyone was getting so much love and I was like why isn’t Sharan getting it? Then I was like maybe he commits such a crime that nobody wants to champion him. He might have been able to work around the flaws in his relationship with Koel if she’d have just come out and spoke about it. But she manipulates him, contorts his love for her and doesn’t even allows him to go away. He never gets any love or empathy.“
Moses revealed that Sharan felt a bit relatable as just like the character, he had been subjected to bullying too. He shared, “I was terribly bullied in school for extremely different things. I was going through certain mental health issues during the pandemic because of the anxiety of the uncertainty. Thus, while shooting, there was a point where I had to sit down and talk to myself.”
Moses on Sharan’s arc
The actor insists that many people forgot to look beyond the Sharan’s crime and sexual orientation. “It goes either he is the murderer or he is exploring his sexuality. There is obviously a strong third theme where he is so much in love with this girl, where he is doing anything and everything for her. I think he is the most receptive boyfriend amongst all.”
Moses on playing a heartthrob
Sharan is shown as a rich, heartthrob in Class. While the audience agreed with that, Moses himself didn’t feel it fitted his personality. “I remember going to Aashim Ahluwalia (director) and saying that I could play anything he wants but I doubt I’d be a convincing heartthrob. But he believed in me. I was the last person to get cast just 2 weeks before the shoot. I was a scrawny guy and was told I’ll had to have a six-pack. But I was like Aashim has put his faith in me, so I’ll do it.”
On his musical side and move to Mumbai
Moses moved to Mumbai just a year back and revealed that he never had any fascination towards showbiz. “I never wanted to act. I only wanted to do music, but even there, I was a very visual person. The art work, the costumes, etc is what was of interest to me. I even looked up to musicians like Prince. I was a quiet kid and music was my outlet growing up,” he shared.
While discussing his musical side, Moses revealed a very interesting fact. He shared, “Music will always be the number 1 thing, now cinema has joined the same spot. Actually what I am trying now is to combine the two. Not many people know that I have written the background score for Episode 6. It’s there in the credits and the song’s name is Happy Nightmare Baby. I wanna do more of that.”
The actor recalled his struggles but asserted that he learnt to embrace it. “I feel everybody’s struggles are different and I also knew that it isn’t going anywhere, so it’s better to love it. Initially, it was very difficult. I was really re thinking if I really wanted to do acting. But the maturity and growth Mumbai gave me in 3 monsoon months, I don’t think I ever had that. It made me less cynical and judgemental and more empathetic and sensitive.”
Moses Koul on getting mixed reception on Sharan’s sexuality
Moses insisted to me that the mixed reception he got for Sharan’s sexual exploration wasn’t unexpected for him. He asserted, “An out-and-out gay or lesbian couple is easily championed. There, you are looking beyond the tag and at the love. People are able to digest an out-and-out gay couple, but not a person who is perhaps exploring, or is unsure. Especially when you don’t see any redemptive quality in him. There is a very small chunk of audience that sees value or a voice in it but there is also a chunk who find enjoyment in ridiculing such a person. Nobody is to be blamed for it. But the fact is that very few people get the empathy for such a person as you’d like it to get.“
The other side of the audience for Sharan
While his co-stars Chayan Chopra and Chintan Rachchh got a lot of love from the audience for their gay characters, Moses’ experience wasn’t as similar. “I was talking to Chayan and he said that people have been very kind to him. While I have received some beautiful messages and love from a huge section, I have gotten a lot of hate as well. Initially, it was heart-breaking because some of the stuff was really vile. It is almost like a very violent outburst towards a character’s journey with sexuality. Some people formed a group on social media called Roast Sharan and there they would regularly attack me,” he informed.
But the love outweighed the negativity for Moses Koul. He said, “There are people who came to me with so much love that I felt that I don’t deserve it. Even Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos loved our show. He took a selfie with us all at an event. But I can say it with surety that Sharan is the only character who has gotten a negative crowd reaction. Kavita Kaushik and Kabir Sadanand told me that it is because the portrayal was that convincing. But honestly, it took me about two weeks to get out of the phase where I thought people hated me.”
Moses Koul on the future and Class season 2
While Class brought him a lot of love and recognition, Moses is now raring to go on season 2. Sharing his vision for the it, the actor shared, “It’d be so cool if Sharan comes full into his villain arc. And also to see him have a love that is not manipulative.”
As for his other aspirations, he shared that he wants to do a romcom. And as we talked of romcoms, Moses went on to rave about the master of it, Karan Johar. He said, “Genuinely, I feel like for all the flak he gets, all the cinema he has done, has tried to push the boundaries. The most iconic thing he gave was Poo. She was a mean girl before mean girls were a thing. Hopefully, I get to work with him someday. As for romcoms, I am putting it out in the universe, I really want to do one, whether it’s a show or a film. I feel I will do a very good job in that genre.”
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