Art & Entertainment

‘The Freelancer’ Actor Sushant Singh On OTT Reviving Film Actors’ Careers: I Am Still Waiting To Get My Due

Sushant Singh got candid about his role in ‘The Freelancer’, working with the team and more. 

Sushant Singh in 'The Freelancer'

Disney+ Hotstar has announced a new original ‘The Freelancer’. It stars Mohit Raina and Anupam Kher, and is created by filmmaker Neeraj Pandey, who is known for films like 'A Wednesday', 'Special 26', 'Baby', 'M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story' and others. 

The series is based on the book - 'A Ticket to Syria' by Shirish Thorat, and is helmed by Bhav Dhulia. Apart from Raina and Kher, the thriller about an extraction mission also stars Sushant Singh, John Kokken, Gauri Balaji and Navneet Malik, Manjiri Faddnis, Sarah Jane Dias amongst others in pivotal roles.

Now Sushant Singh, who plays a former cop Inayat Khan on the show, in an exclusive chat with Outlook, talked about his role, working with the team and how the advent of OTT has got most actors their due. 

Excerpts from the interview:

Tell us about your role in ‘The Freelancer’, and how did you land the role?

Only Neeraj Pandey could tell us, but I think it is because of our previous associations. We had worked in ‘Baby’, and I got a call from his office and I had no problem in saying no. I was sure that if he was making something, it would be good. Coming to the role, it is pivotal, I can say, because it is due to my character that the audience is able to explore the character of The Freelancer. Me and Avinash (Mohit Raina’s characters) used to work together in the police, and they were known to bend everything for justice, and were ready to kill and get killed for each other. Such was their friendship. The story begins at a point when they are not in touch with each other, and how my character’s daughter Alia disappears after getting married. Despite making efforts, he is unable to fight the system and finally, he knows that only Avinash could do it. That’s the crux of the story.

The series is from showrunner Neeraj Pandey, and directed by Bhav Dhulia (Netflix’s “Khakee: The Bihar Chapter”). How was it to work with them?

It was very nice. Bhav Dhulia is a sorted director, and has the same calmness as Neeraj Pandey. He is very talented, knows what he wants. I was excited to work with him, and they both have great camaraderie. For Neeraj, I look up to him as a director since his first film, ‘A Wednesday’. His work is impressive, and he has a great hold in all his films.

What was the camaraderie of the cast on the sets, with Mohit Raina and Anupam Kher also being part of the show?

I had no scenes with Anupam sir. My scenes were mostly Mohit Raina. If the production house and the actors are great, the working conditions were smooth on the sets. I knew Mohit from before, so showing a bond of friendship was easier for me.

The project is a high-scale thriller series. You’ve been part of thrillers earlier. How is  ‘The Freelancer’ different?

The scale of ‘The Freelancer’, in terms of web series, is huge. We see that in films, but not mostly in web shows. Such scale before this was in fact in Neeraj Pandey’s ‘Special Ops’ itself. So, the ‘The Freelancer’ is no less, in terms of action and scale.

The show is based on Shirish Thorat’s book ‘A Ticket to Syria,’ did you have any apprehensions that the story has been explored or widely read before?

I have not read the book, but that doesn't matter and I had no apprehension as an actor. When a maker like Neeraj Pandey decides to make a web series out of a book, you do not need to worry as an actor.

Lastly, with the advent of OTT, several actors got their due. How has it been for you, considering you’ve done some great work in films before OTT projects?

Well, it has been great, and I have been offered several challenging roles and I have done them wonderfully. Many old actors have got their due, and several new actors are getting known. However, I am still waiting to get my due, to be very honest. Something meaty, pivotal and central, I am looking forward to something like that.

'The Freelancer' is set to release on September 1, on Disney+ Hotstar,