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Netflix is a great platform for the industry: Hinduja

CultureNetflix is a great platform for the industry: Hinduja

Following the success of Sacred Games, Netflix’s first Indian original series, the streaming giant came out with its new Indian original film, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe, on 3 August. It is worth mentioning that Yoodle Films, which has given us the critically acclaimed movies like Ajji and Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz, was originally aiming for a theatrical release for Brij Mohan Amar Rahe before Netflix acquired the film’s global rights. The film stars Sunny Hinduja in an antagonistic role of a goon with bipolar traits. Hailing from Indore, Hinduja embarked on a journey to become an actor at a very young age, which brought him to FTII where he enrolled for an
acting course.

Here, Hinduja, who recently finished shooting for a Pakistani film titled Once Upon a time in Dubai, talks about Brij Mohan Amar Rahe and the enigmatic character he plays in it. He also shares his thoughts on the benefits of releasing a small-budget film on a streaming platform like Netflix, as opposed to a theatrical release.

 Q. What is Brij Mohan Amar Rahe all about? How did you get associated with it? Also, tell us about your role in the movie.

A. The film is about a person who gets convicted for his own murder. You can expect loads of action and drama with twists abound. I got associated with the film through the casting director and actor Abhishek Bannerjee. It’s through his company, Casting Bay, that I met Nikhil Bhatt. It was a great meeting and I fell in love with his vision for the film. His team was fabulous and we just got on and discovered that we had a common interest of being associated with a good film. That was more than enough to do the film.

I am playing a big-time goon named Raghu, who is very unpredictable yet lovable and brutal too. You can’t take him for granted at all. If Raghu is good to you he can be your best friend but he can quickly turn into a cold-blooded murderer as well.

 Q. The film was initially slated for a theatrical release but now it is getting released as a Netflix original. What are your thoughts on this?

A. Well, since the film is releasing on Netflix as an Indian original, I think it is a big boon for us. First of all, its reach has widened by a huge margin. Secondly, Netflix is getting popular in India with each passing day, especially after the runaway success of Sacred Games and Lust Stories. I feel it is quite a good platform for us. I am very happy and excited about it.

Q. How do you see the short-term and long-term impact of streaming platforms like Netflix on the entertainment
industry in India?

A. I feel that Netflix is bound to have a long-term impact since it has a variety of films, series, standup shows, etc. It can cater to diverse tastes. It is difficult to remain unsatisfied with the content on Netflix: be it kids, adults or even film aficionados. It is a great platform and is very convenient for everyone which is the need of the hour at this stage in our lives. It’s a win-win for everyone.

 Q. This is not the first time you will be featuring in something that’s going to premiere on the web. You earlier starred in Bikas Mishra’s Guy in the Sky. How different was that experience?

A. Well, Guy in the Sky was a completely different experience. It was a “cineplay”, basically a concept where cinema meets theatre. I thought Bikas Mishra had made a brilliant adaptation of a Kannada play. It was a very well-written screenplay. I was lucky to have co-actors like Tannishtha Chatterjee and Maanvi Gagroo. It was great to perform long shots like a play that were ultimately shot like a film. It was a new experience for me and it became a successful experiment eventually.

Q. What role has the FTII played in your journey as an actor? Does it give you an edge over others as an actor if you have had some professional training?

A. I owe my acting talent to the FTII. I got exposed to great films at FTII that helped me understand the acting process better. Also, I got to act in my debut film, Cycle Kick. Because of the faculty’s support I was allowed to go for the shoot in between my course. Then I got a wonderful film, called Ballad of Rustom, directed by Ajita Suchitra Veera, also an FTII graduate. The film was also in the running for an Oscar.

During your training you go through a lot of drills, such as audition, and so it definitely gives you an edge as an actor. However, beyond that you are on your own. But, I must say that my colleagues and seniors have been instrumental to my growth as an actor.

 Q. As an FTII graduate where one gets exposed to the best of cinema, who are the actors and filmmakers that have influenced you the most?

A. The Indian filmmakers who have influenced me the most are Rajkumar Hirani, Dibakar Banerjee, Anand L. Rai and Imtiaz Ali. Among the international lot, I look up to the likes of Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg. The Indian actors who have inspired me the most are Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, Irrfan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Kangana Ranaut. Among international actors, I greatly admire Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Daniel Day-Lewis and Heath ledger. 

Q. Tell us about your upcoming projects apart from Brij Mohan Amar Rahe.

A. I recently shot for a Pakistani film called Once Upon a Time in Dubai. I am also doing a film called Jamun. You will be seeing me in Amazon’s upcoming web series The Family Man, alongside Manoj Bajpayee. I am also doing a couple of other web series: Home, for ALTBalaji with Habib Faisal; and Rasbhary, with Nikhil Bhatt for Applause Entertainment.

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