Abhishek Banerjee: Good stories and screenplays are rare these days – Exclusive

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Abhishek Banerjee works at his own pace, not rushing or becoming greedy for projects, but ensuring that there is quality acting and good stories in the projects he chooses for himself. As he recently turned 37, the actor opened up during an exclusive chat with ETimes, reflecting on his journey so far and the kind of projects and movies he wants to work in. Excerpts:

Looking back at the age of 37, do you think you accomplished what you needed to do now?

Well, I didn’t give myself enough time for that thought. But yeah, now that you ask, I thought my acting phase would start at 40. I am very happy that she started much earlier. And I’m in a better space than I was years ago. So yeah, I’m really grateful.

Like in my 20s, I wanted to try acting and I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing, and also the kind of roles I was offered. So it didn’t really work out for me in my twenties, then in my thirties I decided to start my casting company “Casting Bay” and started taking on entrepreneurial roles. And then finally the game happened, and you know the best part? I play characters much younger than me. What could be better than being able to live your youth on the screen, it’s a great feeling.

What have been your biggest takeaways on this journey so far?
Hard work will always be rewarded, that’s my understanding. The next thing I figured out is if you’re good at your craft, if you’re a born actor, then nothing can stop you, you’ll always find your footing here. That’s what I saw around me. The diligent, naturally born actors are the ones who have just skyrocketed in the last three or four years. They are all trained actors. And even if they are not formed, they are natural. So times have changed and that’s a good sign because I always told everyone that what we lack in India is the value of skilled and trained actors.

‘Paatal Lok’ will finish 2 years. Good memories ?
I think the earliest memory is that the trailer came out on my birthday. And everything about this show, I think it’s going to be the memories, that you’re gonna die with, you know, like, everything from the first day of filming when I was nervous, the last day of filming when I was exhausted.

Even now I still say it was one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with – the vision they had, the passion they had, everyone knew we were going to do something special. We had no idea it was going to blow up and become such a viral show or such a popular show. We just wanted to do a good job, we didn’t know whether the audience would support us or not, because we didn’t have the stars and stuff on our show. So now when everything is settled you start to believe that you don’t really need anyone’s support, you can just do it on your own if you have the right ability.

You’ll be seen playing a romantic starring role in “Munnes’ Big Wedding.” So whether it’s playing dark characters or becoming a romantic hero, are you eager to explore those emotions?

I mean, the point is, I wasn’t offered a role like Hathora Tyagi or a romantic hero for that matter. I’ve always wanted to do things that aren’t repetitive. I like to experiment with myself. So I’m really excited to get the responses from fans, viewers, and critics. I grew up in the 90s. So obviously romance was a big part in the 90s along with comedy. I’m so happy that a story like “The Big Munnes Wedding” came to me because I had a great time doing those romantic scenes, the drama with the comedy.

OTT or Bollywood — which medium would you prefer more?
As an actor of a director, well, I would say script… I mean, any good story, whether that story is in the form of a short film, or whether that story is in the form of cinema, film or whatever… whatever has a good story. I think that’s what you’re ready to expect. This is what I realize day after day. Good stories and screenplays are rare to find today. I am happy doing what I do. But I’m always on the lookout for good stories and scripts, stuff that lets you explore the unknown as an actor.

How do you see the evolution of OTT? Is it going in the right direction?
Honestly, we had no idea there would be so many stories and actors, and so many talented faces to come. I’m glad there’s work for everyone today. Previously, it was a medium, which was despised. In the beginning, people called it YouTube show, YouTube series or YouTube actors. I remember that I had rejected an offer from a similar platform, because they would broadcast the show on YouTube. But now I’m so glad I took that leap of faith and entered the digital space.

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