All this while I had tried to stay away from web series because of the kind of content. It can go out of hand. Initially, the content wasn’t good and the money wasn’t good,” says Sayani Gupta, while promoting her upcoming digital series Kaushiki, in which she plays the title role. The series will be streaming from today, April 27, on OTT platform —Viu.
Kaushiki is her second web series after Amazon Prime’s Inside Edge. “When I was offered Inside Edge, I took it up because first, it was Amazon Prime original, and second, Excel Entertainment was producing it. When I was offered the show, I was told that mine is the most interesting character in the show,” Sayani says, adding, “Having said that, I have always been very choosy about my work.”
She adds that the web scene is becoming big because more money is being pumped in. “Also, a lot more big names are getting involved. It’s getting better and it’s a big market. It’s opening up opportunities for several people including actors and directors. The idea is to do good work,” says the actress who will be doing another web series for Amazon Prime, where she is also playing the protagonist. “Anu Menon, who has directed Waiting has directed this one. At the end of the day, as an actor you have to do a mix of everything. I do independent, experimental, commercial and short films, and it’s fun,” she quips.
Till a few years ago, mainstream Bollywood actors were judged if they worked in a different medium. Work or no work, they continued in the film industry. But today, no one judges actors for the medium they choose. “That’s true and that’s how it should work. Look at the West, you have a Kevin Spacey who does a television series House of Cards and at the same time he does films. In Kolkata too, an actor does everything. You shouldn’t be judged for the medium you choose. The project you are working in should be good. Besides, you put in the same amount of effort in every medium,” she says.
The actress, who has worked in films like Margarita with a Straw, Parched, Fan and others, says that working in different mediums is not easy. “You have to sacrifice something for the sake of the other. I have done some crazy stuff like I have refused five commercial films for an independent film. For the Amazon series, I have refused films including a Bengali film which I really wanted to do. Those are the choices I have made as an artist depending on what I was feeling at that point and how it could help me grow as an actor. I will be acting for the rest of my life so it has to be challenging and also I shouldn’t get complacent. The good thing now is that there is a choice,” she says.
Sayani adds that the real choice lies between theatre and films because she is dying to do a play. “I wanted to do a play right now which my friend is directing but I had to refuse it. That’s really tough because I have to give two months to a play or do a film,” says the actress who has started shooting for a film.
Talking about her upcoming web series, she says it’s an interesting concept about a group of people. “It’s about a group of friends. My character is the last one to join the group and soon realises that there are several dark and dirty secrets within the group,” she reveals.
The series also stars Ranvijay Singh, Omkar Kapoor, Namit Das, Manasi Scott, Rajeev Siddharta and Shruti Srivastava. Sayani says that it was fun shooting with them all. “I have known Namit for a long time. But it was equally exciting working with each and everyone including Suparn Verma, our director. He is such an energetic person and was the force behind the show. We shot 13 episodes in 20 days but it wasn’t hectic because everything was planned,” she signs off.