Ankur Bhatia's upcoming web series, titled Taali, has garnered curiosity ever since the first look was unveiled. The Ravi Jadhav-directorial revolves around the journey of Shreegauri Sawant, a transgender activist from Mumbai. Sushmita Sen plays the lead role whereas Ankur is her best friend, Navin, who's gay.
In an exclusive interview with PeepingMoon.com, Ankur shed light on his character Navin, building the world of Taali carefully and representing the LGBTQIA+ in the best way possible. He further spoke about reuniting with Sushmita after Aarya 2.
Excerpts from the interview:
Taali is a difficult subject with complex characters. What was your approach towards your character and how did you go about it?
I play Navin in the series. My approach for playing Navin was to keep it simple and find a way to make myself as believable as possible. I got a detailed brief for him and his journey in the series, and I started from there. This character is very different from anything I have done in the past, so I tried to tone down several notches in my body language and voice, keeping a softer approach towards things.
Can you please tell us a little about your character?
Navin is Gauri's close friend and confidant. He runs an NGO and is completely devoted to fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights.
Playing gay on-screen comes with a huge responsibility. What measures were taken to make your character sensitive and not go wrong with the nuances and emotions?
Honestly, I didn’t take playing a gay character as pressure or taboo. I tried putting in the same effort and truthfulness as I would treat any other character. They have emotions, just like us they fall in love and just like us, they have their hearts broken! It’s high time we start treating them as just regular people, they are one of us. We were against making Navin caricaturish and making a mockery out of him. The director of Taali, Ravi Jadhav, made sure this approach was followed. I have friends who are gay and they're simply amazing and proud of their sexuality. I just remembered them and enjoyed representing so many of them through Navin's character.
The portrayal of the LGBTQIA+ community in Indian cinema has often led to controversies. Did the thought of this ever bother you while shooting for Taali?
No, that thought never crossed my mind. It’s a beautiful story and it has to be told. Taali is being brought to the audience by some of the most talented people in the industry.
The bond you share with Sushmita Sen is known to the world. How was it reuniting with her?
It’s amazing that we got this opportunity to get reunited on Taali. Working with her is fun, especially as I have already worked with her on the Aarya franchise. We have a beautiful relationship. When we are on camera, we understand each other's beat and make an effort to up our game. She is one fine actress, who's filled with so much intelligence and fire to do something different every time she is on screen. I am always thrilled to do a scene with her.
What’s the change you’ve seen in her from Aarya to Taali?
When I met her on the set of Taali, she was Gauri Sawant. It's inspiring how she devotes herself to the character she’s playing.
Sushmita Sen bounced back from a health scare. What was your first reaction after learning about her heart attack?
I was extremely shocked and worried. I am so happy that she has recovered well.
What can the audience expect from Taali?
Taali is a beautiful story and I feel like our director Ravi Jadhav has made it straight from the heart. It’s a story that everyone should see because a lot of people are just unaware of this side of life. It’s a story that can change the way people think about the LGBTQIA+ community and will help evolve towards a better world.