Today, whether you speak of movies or television space, much has changed as far as an actors’ job is concerned! It could be argued that an actors’ job isn’t simply in keeping audiences’ involved.
That’s understandable. That’s foremost. But that isn’t all
Besides ‘Entertaining’ fans;audiences who are smarter and quickly judgmental today than they ever were, opining instantly through buzzing touch-points such as social media; an actor’s job is that of being a journeyman.
To transport audiences- whether from the nonchalant comfort of their living space or from a space in life from where they crave for being story-told- into a space where new experiences are born, old concepts are discarded, emotions are stirred and, convictions are formed, that is the pure task of an actor.
The rest, it could be argued, is all hype, sensation
There are many out there, who with due regard, are delving in the space of excesses of dramatisations. Overdoing it. The task, therefore, of a true actor, it seems, is not even in being tight-lipped or depending solely on the script to unfurl everything. Rather, evoking a story, borne out of that body of motion called acting- seems the real task.
And it can be said, for certain, that in Anurag Sinha- current sensation of nail-biting thriller series Bandi Yuddh Ke (Prisoners of War), airing on Star Plus- that purity of acting is clearly coming through.
As Lt. Siddhant Thakur, the venerable Rajasthan Rifles soldier who returns to India as Pakistan-bred, anti-hero element, now creating furore, but with an agenda completely unbeknownst to his own people, Anurag’s craft is echoing pure acting.
A quick touchdown on about POW, Bandi Yuddh Ke
The moving story of men serving in Indian Armed Forces, captured in Pakistan, incarcerated as prisoners of war; tortured, tormented; returning to India, immersing once again in reestablishing their lives, re-orienting themselves from a broken space of familial, emotional and national identity amidst drastic changes and a climate besieged by of geopolitical uncertainty and sour, unpredictable neighbourly relationships.
Here’s what immediately strikes you about actor Anurag, certainly a man of few but well chosen words that are as deeply informing as his moving talent
Actors are charming creatures. But not everyone has a common style or craft. How could it be same for all when some prefer speaking less, interacting even less, exhibiting their art through crafty silence? And when there are also those who act using certain physicality?
Anurag is somewhere in-between
He compels you to travel with him on that journey that only a pure actor can create for his audiences.
It is great fortune to finally chance upon talents like Anurag in the maddening clutter of contemporary television space, who purely by might of talent, bring much sincerity and articulation, passion and restraint, at the same time that you can neither get enough of their act. Nor lodge complaints of not being entertained. He speaks with measured silence. He smiles with restless abandon. He is pained miserably. At all times, he is purely honest and sincere. And when his character is silent and unwilling to communicate, his eyes convey it all.
There is a haunting silence and an utterly captivating charm. That soft, handsome face dawned by deep, melancholic eyes tells stories you want to hear, tempts you to go places you didn’t know before.
In an exclusive interaction with the actor, we learnt of when he decided to become an actor, what moves him in life, what made him agree to such a complex character and his understanding of life. Respect for him stems from being glued, Mondays to Saturdays- Star Plus- 11 PM- in unraveling his enigma.
On When He decided To Become An actor
An eager learner, a dedicated student, Anurag studied at Delhi’s revered St. Stephens from where he pursued Chemistry Honours. It was post completing his graduation that the question stuck his mind about ‘what’s next’!
Moving to Film and Television Institute of India (FTII, Pune), Anurag would make inroads toward acting, landing an important role in Subhash Ghai’s Black and White. But for the ever- curious learner who confesses in being a student of life, it wasn’t an easy trip.
A testing phase ensued when an important film went unreleased. The period post his maiden venture’s release was trying. And one that taught him great lessons in life.
What he did in that ‘challenging phase’
The man you see today on Bandi Yuddh Ke, who seems to have truly arrived through a moving depiction of a man conflicted by reality, lies, truth- its unraveling in a path-breaking series underwent tremendous overhaul in life.
“I encountered a tough phase in life soon enough so as to quickly learn”.
One reckons it isn’t easy ever for an actor. Anurag shared, “What mattered most to me weren’t challenges or what I missed out during a lean phase”. “What really contributed to learning was the ability to learn from challenges and cultivate all life has to offer in present day opportunity, what I am glad to be doing in POW”.
I wanted to evoke a different feeling from fans through my POW character
Anurag added, “There is a space and feeling beyond a hero or villain”. (Speaking from the perspective of his current avatar- very admirable albeit passionate and having anti-hero elements)
“I wanted to evoke a certain feeling from fans that takes them beyond attachment, beyond liking and not liking a character”. When you see a particular character on screen, you either like someone or don’t or are, indifferent. When I got to know from Mr. Nikhil Advani (director, POW) about the many shades of the character, I learnt of a very special human element it possessed. And, I focused on that.
I strongly believe that it is very easy to ignore a layer beyond an immediate role and character that at times, never comes to surface. So I chose that role because I wanted people to deal with a conundrum, a dilemma that comes with not being able to immaculately predict what’s next with Siddhant’s character.”
On How He Was Helped in Preparing For The Role
One of the things that strikes instantly about Anurag’s personality is that he is extremely grateful and thankful to all who have helped in the changing vagaries of life.
Whether, in familial space or in helping him chose his current hotshot character in Prisoners of War.
He maintains high regard for his wonderful co-stars and his director, Nikhil Advani, who he confesses, “Never left me alone in any stage of the process of developing Siddhant and Sadiq’s character and gave total freedom to progress the character the way I had wanted it to shape”.
The words ‘very very grateful and thankful’ spring from Anurag with utter humility, speaking of how gentlemanly his conduct his, marking him as a man of devotion, earnestness and conscience, the latter missing in so many of today’s hassled actors.
On His Dream Role
“There is no dream role. I will be honest with you, I am here to break boundaries and expectations and barriers that often limit an actor or project him from a lens of limited purview”.
“Life is an inspiration. The fact that here I am, standing on my two feet with the august support of all those who have helped me considerably and shaped my consciousness and given me the guidance I needed crucially- family and directors, is what am most happy about.
So yeah, life, is my teacher. I left the concept of idolising a long time back. I am alive and living. Could it be more inspiring?”
What Aspect Of Life Excites Him the Most
“It’s the triumph of the human spirit. It stands above all. That, as long as you are absolutely honest to yourself and true to your abilities, the rest doesn’t matter, in life. Failures, setbacks or challenges will come. That’s life. But your belief and conviction in yourself will guide toward overcoming obstacles”.
What’s The Greatest Expectation He’s Had from POW?
“I honestly feel that if my character thus far, has essayed through human element, or perseverance, or encouragement has pushed someone to join the Indian Army, then I feel my job is done.”
Truth be told, Anurag’s job isn’t done!
Remember, words can be gentle, healing balm- comforting readers from the delight of living spaces.
See for yourselves, the magnanimous depths to which Anurag plunges on screen to extract the very best from him.
Through POW, Anurag has raised the bar for acting- lending to the craft, a tone of simplicity and such pious honesty that anything more or less wouldn’t do. He’s the challenger and the mighty. He’s the conqueror and the triumphant. In Anurag Sinha’s ebb, lies some marvel of a talent that seems aptly suited for it all- Poetic interludes, Shakespearean dramas, perfect espionage thrillers and, self-deprecatory dudes.