After the great success of TVF ‘Aspirants’, Naveen Kasturia's image in the OTT arena has gained popularity among the audiences. Starting with TVF ‘Pitchers’, Naveen is set to be seen in the second season of the show after a long wait. In an interview with Outlook, Naveen opens up about him becoming an actor, his shows, censorship and much more. Excerpts from the interview:
TVF is among those few who took on OTT when the medium was still setting up its audience, you have worked with them on Pitchers and then Aspirants, how has OTT evolved in time and what challenges it levies on an actor?
With time there are a lot of changes in terms of volume of work and opportunities for the actors. At the very beginning no one was very sure about bagging the respect and popularity from the web but now the scenario is totally different. We used to get inspiration from the movies back then, today international shows like ‘Game Of Thrones’ and others are a source too, the budget of the web shows thus has significantly increased. Despite all this, the major challenge for an actor is choosing the right script to work on. That’s all what makes a difference.
As known, you had no goals to work as an actor, tell us your story and how this happened?To be honest, deep inside I would think of becoming an actor, back in 2003 I also did a theatre workshop in Mumbai. I also did a play with Chandan Roy Sanyal back then. Though I wanted to become a director first and then act in my own films. But people around me know of it and while working on ‘LSD’, I met Amit Masurkar and we became good friends. Both of us were pitching our scripts to people when he came up with this idea of making a film about two writers and casting actual writers in the movie. He took me and Mayank Tiwari for the roles. After the release of the film. people came to know about me as an actor, TVF happened at the same time and I was also doing Ads for the sake of money. So it was a gradual journey and my interest in acting conveyed to the audience through my work. Amit and Arunabh have huge roles in me being an actor.
OTT content now seems more realistic in terms of storyline and its characters, do you think this is the reason why flicks like Aspirants get so popular?
I think this has always been the case, stories look real and the audience feel them and get engaged with them. Even Pitchers was very realistic, if the stories seem real, the audience tends to correlate with it. I’m glad that Aspirants worked but realistic story is not the only thing that defines the popularity of the show, I’m sure content with over the top storylines get popular as we have a huge audience base here in India. If the story is engaging, people do make it popular.
‘Aspirants’ bagged all its audience's approbation, can we count it as a ring to the second season?
I’m hoping that too but this is something that only makers can answer, currently I don’t hold a position to answer it. I feel, ideally it should happen as the show has done so well and also the audience are left with questions about Abhilash’s selection in UPSC and how he made it through. They would be expecting to see LBSNAA and the mains interview as well.
From ‘Aspirants’ Abhilash to Runaway Lugai, both the characters are poles apart, what’s your secret mantra for this transition?
(Chuckles)...Every actor wants different roles, I’m also devising my ways to be as convincing as possible. If I like a part I go for it, at that time I don’t know how I will do it but working on it with time, one gets comfortable. There’s no serious mantra but if you stick to the script and listen to your director, it helps a lot for sure. I too fail occasionally thus it’s just experimenting and delivering.
Tell us about your experience working with Arunabh and what kind of chemistry you two share?
We have known each other for a long time now, our relationship is more like friends. He has played an integral part in my career, I share with him the projects I work on so he’s more like an elder brother to me rather than professionalism. Unfortunately we didn’t work together after Pitchers, but Aspirants happened and it strengthened the bond between us. Finding friends in the industry is really hard and I’m glad to have someone like Arunabh Kumar in my life.
Censorship in OTT is among the hot topics which pop out every now and then, what are your views on it?
To me censorship is not a good idea, either for OTT or films, people can’t be forced to watch or restrained from watching certain things. And by the end people will watch what they want to, as everything’s available on the internet. Makers too have to self censor themselves and good stories getting suffered from censorship shouldn’t happen. There could be a certification for the content but censorship is like judging your own people’s maturity. I’m against it.