Anantvijay Joshi had been a part of showbiz for a while but it was the show Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein that brought him into limelight. Last month, he delivered yet another impressive performance in Kathal. Anantvijay Joshi played a cop in this Sanya Malhotra starrer. His innocence and charm won hearts of the audience.
Recently, Anantvijay Joshi got in an exclusive chat with Bollywood Bubble. He spoke about the film’s nostalgic feel and his interesting connection with the real-life incident that inspired the film. Anant also opened up on his chemistry with Sanya, the discrimination he observed growing up and the unique masculinity of his character. He also gave an update on Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein season 2. Excerpts from the interview with Anantvijay Joshi.
Kathal is very different. It has a bit of a nostalgic feel with its framing as well. How has been the reception to it as well as the film and your performance?
“We shot for the film over a year back. So, when I first saw it as a whole in the cast and crew screening, I saw it as an audience. There is a lot of yesteryear classic cinema feels in Kathal. Even I felt it, and now I have been seeing the audience feel it too. There is a bit of nostalgia in the film. The framing, the storytelling is something that gives you a classic cinema vibe. You understand when people from the industry recognise that. But I have been getting these compliments when I am going to the market or the gym or anywhere else. The response is something like 90s nostalgia.”
Did you know what happens to the Kathal in the film beforehand?
“No no. Until I finished reading the script, I didn’t know. So, we all also had this curiosity of what happened to the Kathal. However, there had been a similar real life incident involving a Kathal that had been in news. And call it a circle of life or whatever, the person with whom this happened, is actually my friend’s grandfather.”
“Yes, it was insane. After Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein, as I was physically prepping myself for the film, I had changed my look. So, one day my friend asked me what was it for. I just dropped this name ‘Kathal’ and then he went like, ‘Bro, this incident with a Kathal happened in my family…’ After he finished, I told him, ‘Bro, this is the story’.”
One thing commendable about your character in Kathal is his different masculinity. It doesn’t propagate the man being insecure of his partner being his senior. And it is also not preachy but subtle…
“In this whole process of acting, there’s a lot that you give to the character and a lot that you take from it as well. It’s only after completing the shoot, you decide what to keep and what not. With Saurabh, I realised that there is a lot that I want to keep about him. It’s our conditioning as humans to hide our mistakes, cover up, not own up to them or be arrogant when talk about it. But with Saurabh I learnt to be okay with apologising and owning up to my mistakes. He also doesn’t discriminate on gender. And these are his charming qualities that I want to retain and they redefine men in our society.”
The chemistry between you and Sanya Malhotra was so effortless. It had small town innocence but not their stereotyping. How was your experience of building that chemistry up?
“It was really natural. The moment we met for this project, it was organic. She brought in a lot of optimism that set the vibe for us. Her positivity is something we jammed on. That also helped us to have a natural connect. Her journey as an actor has been incredible. She was also kind enough to appreciate my journey. Above that, some credit to our acting ability as well. (Laughs)”.
Kathal also deals with issues of casteism, elitism and areas of discrimination. Growing up, how had been your experience pertaining to these issues?
“I was born in Agra and grew up in a contained colony. I was fortunate to have grown up in an educated surrounding. We lived in the Cantt. area and our school had kids from all sections of the society, from an officer’s kid to a farmer’s kid. I don’t deny these discriminations don’t happen. But luckily, I was never brought up that way. I realise though that discrimination does happen and it’s because of years of conditioning. So, it will take time to get rid of that. That’s where smart writing like Kathal helps.”
Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein brought Anantvijay Joshi to the limelight. But how was the wait to get to that place since you had been in the industry for a while till then?
“I had always been surrounded by very positive company because of theatre. Right now, I am not able to contribute to theatre that much due to my commercial commitments. But that medium has always been a constant. So, it never really felt that I was desperately waiting for something. Even today I don’t know what I am waiting for. But I do everything I do with 100 percent honesty and dedication.
I have had quite a journey that some appreciate while some also judge. I started with Gandi Baat, Virgin Bhaskar but I thought if I keep judging my characters than how will I work. My thought was to give my honest attempt to whatever I was doing and try to make it better than how it was written. That’s my job as an actor. You grow with time and now I see scripts in a different way than what I used to 5 years ago. But the wait has been fruitful.”
You mentioned that there are still people who judge you for your initial choices. Was that ever deterrent for you or is there any regret?
“I don’t have any regrets because things have luckily been onwards and upwards for me. I never looked at all of it as a matter of shame. I say it with a sense of pride that I have been a part of those stories. There have been agreements and disagreements on how I wanted things to come out and how it did. But there have never been any regrets. To make any project, there goes in a lot of people’s hard work and dedication. And then those projects got highest viewership from the audience only, and then you only judge it. So, I don’t get these double standards. But I’ll allow these people a chance to grow more.”
But what’s happening on Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein season 2?
“The show did magic for all of us and got us a lot of work. We all got busy post the first season. But July onwards we are looking to start the journey for season 2. From what I am hearing, it’s bigger and I am very excited.”