Afternoon Voice

“Media makes non-commercial actor look small”

Harsh Chhaya, who made his debut in the world of Cinema over two decades ago, is a prominent face of Hindi TV Serials and the film industry both even today. As Chhaya makes his directorial debut in Bollywood with ‘Khajoor Pe Atke’, which is also written by him, in a word with Afternoon Voice, he speaks about his upcoming film and willingness to seek into the other prospects of the Indian Cinema.

You are both a Bollywood and TV serial actor, other than acting what has inspired you towards writing?

I am professionally trained to be behind the camera and have worked for 4-5 years behind the camera when I was in Delhi after passing out from MCRC, Jamia Milia Islamia with an M.A. in Mass Communications. It’s just that the acting bug took the better of everything else back then and I postponed other things for later in life.

What has changed in the TV industry from 1990’s, when you acted in ‘Hasratein’ to the present day daily soaps?

‘Hasratein’ was a series on the extra marital affairs and it was very popular. The show had a four year run; I think it was essentially stopped because the main actors did not wish to continue later. The same producer made another serial on extra marital a couple of years back and it was shut down because it seemingly hurt the “audience sentiments.”

Tell us something about your upcoming film ‘Khajoor Pe Atke’?

‘Khajoor Pe Atke’ is a Black comedy, a comedy that revolves around Death.

What inspired you to make this film?

The thought that what would it be like to watch ourselves from the outside of the frame in certain extreme situations.

Isn’t this film on the similar lines with the Marathi film ‘Ventilator’?

Neither of the two is similar to each other. Rather both are from the similar space but the two are very different stories and films.

What are the challenges faced in making a clean comedy movie these days?

The only challenge is the will to do it.

The actors you chose are mainly from the TV industry and theatre, what difference did that make to the movie overall?

It is unfortunate how the press creates these distinctions and makes anyone who is not a commercial film star look small. They are all actors. ‘Bheja Fry’, ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’, ‘Vicky Donor’, ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’, ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi, ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ are few of the best films that all the actors of my film are associated with as lead characters or the main cast.

Which is your favourite character from this upcoming movie? Why?

All are my favourite characters as all of them are created by me and they all carry a part of my life in them.

What do you think is lacking in the commercial cinema these days?

Intent.

Being a Gujarati, any thought of making a Gujarati film?

Not only in Gujarati but Bengali and Marathi too! I even act in all theses languages. Just that a good script is a must.

What are the subjects you would like to explore in the future?

Thriller, Emotional, Action too.

How do you feel when your film trailer is making a mark as laugh riot on social media?

It certainly feels very good. But then it has raised expectations on both sides of trailer. Hope this film will fulfill both the audience’s and our expectations.

What would you prefer – Critical acclamation or box office success?

Both.