EXCLUSIVE: Tanuj Virwani on experience working with Rashami Desai in Tandoor, OTT censorship, Bollywood & more

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Tanuj Virwani might have started his career with Bollywood in Luv U Soniyo back in 2013. But today, he carved a special space for himself on OTT platforms with his impeccable acting and performance. Son of veteran actress Rati Agnihotri, Tanuj Virwani, is shining in the digital world with several projects to his credit. From Inside Edge to Poison, the actor has proved his mettle. Now, Tanuj Virwani is all set to entice fans with Tandoor, which marks the debut of Rashami Desai in the OTT world.

The actor has also recently signed Illegal Season 2, where he plays Neha Sharma‘s love interest. We, at Bollywood Bubble, got in touch with Tanuj for a candid chat. We asked Tanuj Virwani about his experience working with Rashami Desai in Tandoor, and he was all praises for her. We also asked him about his views on OTT censorship, shooting amid the COVID pandemic, the possibility to take up TV shows and his Bollywood comeback. Over to him:

You started your acting career with Bollywood, but later shifted your focus to OTT platforms, was it a conscious decision? What’s keeping you away from the big screen? Are there any plans to make your comeback?

So, it’s true that I did start my journey as an actor with films. Well, unfortunately, the few films that I did, three to be precise, did not fare very well at the box office. Neither was the critical reception, something to write home about. And it just so happened completely by chance that Ott platforms, we’re gaining momentum in our country, and that’s when Inside Edge came to my audition for the part, I lucked out, I got the role and the rest as they say is history. So, I think that’s how the entire thing happened. None of this has been by design, of course, post the success of Inside Edge.

I’ve made a deliberate attempt to try and the part of most substantial content and because I feel for an actor in my position, the kind of rules being written on the webspace is better and more satiating. That’s why I kind of gravitate towards that a lot more

Yes, there will definitely be a comeback to the movies. I think it’s the pinnacle of any actor at the top of any actor’s wishes to be part of films and do to be on a silver screen so I’m no different and there are a couple of things in the works. I just don’t want to speak about it as yet because it’s still a while before we start filming, you know, given the current environment and situation in our country.

You’re soon going to be seen in the web series Tandoor…tell us something about your character? Also, how was it working with Rashami Desai, who plays the female lead in the web series?

I’m really excited and stoked about Tandoor. It’s been a project that I’ve been chasing for a while. In fact, Nivedita and I were supposed to work on it earlier, but then lockdown happened last year. So, it had to be postponed by a few months. But I’m so happy and consider myself very, very lucky to have gotten a chance to assay the character. It’s, definitely unlike anything I’ve done so far. First time in my career, so far, I’m playing a negative character and a real-life character. And I’m really curious to see how it shapes up. I’m really curious to see how the audience how you guys respond to it. And it’s based on the infamous Tandoor murder case that happened in Delhi in 1995.

 

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When it comes to Rashami Desai, it’s been fantastic working with her because she’s a sweetheart, she’s a wonderful co-star, and she’s really, really secured in her space. She understands the medium very well, she understands the certain scenes which require more gifts, certain scenes, which require more take and certain scenes, where it’s like a waltz, it’s like a dance, you know, so like, she’s not competing with her co-star, she’s just enhancing their performance by being so giving as an actor so I am very happy that I got the opportunity to work with her and I think as she starts a new phase of her career on the ott space, the sky’s limit and she is going to do some terrific things in the months and years to come.

Debates regarding the censorship of OTT platforms have been going on, what are your opinions on it? Do you think OTT shows should be censored?

Yes, well, we ourselves won the eye of the storm recently because I had a show on Hotstar called Kamathipura, then we had to change the name, we call it The Tattoo Murders. And, you know, what I feel is, with great power does come great responsibility, and I feel many shows makers have kind of not really paid heed to it, you know, they feel that just because there’s no censorship or rather than self-censorship that they can get away with a lot.

 

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I feel everything depends on what the script demands, if you need to use colorful language, if that’s the value of the show, if that adds authenticity to the show, sure, but don’t just put it in for the heck of it. If they need to be certain lovemaking scenes, or certain content on the show if it works in favor of the show. Cool, but don’t shoehorn it just because you think you might get more traction or attract more eyeballs. So, I feel all of us collectively need to come together and at the end of the day, we are here to entertain people and enlighten them at the same time.

We don’t want to put out content that is off-putting or whereas a family, you are cringing and watching it. And if you feel that certain adult content, which is a requirement or prerequisite of your show, then the rating should reflect that. I also feel in a lot of cases things tend to get blown out of proportion things also tend to get politicized. So, we must separate art and politics from each other.

You’ve explored OTT and Bollywood, is there any chance to see you on TV screens? Are you interested in doing daily soaps or reality shows on TV?

To be honest, I set out as a film actor, and now I’m on the Ott space. We never say never. But having said that, I just feel the kind of vibe that I have and the kind of acting that and the kind of web content that I would like to be a part of, I don’t think television is really making that these days. That’s a different kind of vibe going on.

So, I mean, I don’t really see myself in that space anytime soon. But you never know like, all our industries are constantly evolving. And if the kind of roles offered to me, well, suit me my personality and the kind of vibe that I attract to ensure but definitely nothing on the horizon or nothing that I have been actively thinking of at the moment.

Many actors have tested Covid positive recently, how are you managing to work in these situations? Are you paranoid?

Yes, it’s indeed extremely saddening and disheartening to see so many people from our fraternity testing positive, not only from our fraternity but our country and all over the world. Things are just getting from bad to worse. And, of course, there’s a certain amount of trepidation doubt and, it’s very easy to lose perspective and lose faith, but I feel these are dark days, and I feel change is only constant in life. So, this is not going to be the situation forever. The good times will prevail. Eventually, we just need to somehow get through this phase and just be responsible. So here’s hoping for the best.

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