“My Film Graham Staines Ek Ankahi Sachai Will Make People Realise That Religious Tolerance Is Of Utmost Importance”

By Team Bollyy
New Update
“My Film Graham Staines Ek Ankahi Sachai Will Make People Realise That Religious Tolerance Is Of Utmost Importance”

SHARMAN JOSHI tells JYOTHI VENKATESH in this exclusive telephonic interview for bollyy.com and Mayapuri that as an actor he has become braver after the release of Baarish on the OTT platform ALT Balaji.

The Hindi version Graham Staines Ek Ankahi Sachai was dropped yesterday on the OTT ShemarooMe Box Office. Do you think when the English version Graham Staines- The Least of These was released, there was not much promotion and therefore the film did not get enough mileage?

Actually, the film had a good response globally. We did not shot it in the Hindi language. The dubbed version of it has not been done by us and it does not do justice to the storytelling. But overall it did well globally

What made you say yes to this film as it's different from the mainstream cinema in which we’ve seen you before?

Once in a while I like to do stories which have something to tell. At least if not about a change but a reminder that good can be done for us to have a better presence and for a better future for ourselves and our kids. With this film we are hoping that people realise religious tolerance is of utmost importance. It this particular incident happened in India, it means it could have happened anywhere. It happens in America also, like it did recently. I hope we give each other space, dignity, love and respect and go towards the almighty together.


Did you read about this incident when it happened?

Yes, long back. But I remember that a missionary was burnt alive. But when I went through the script I kind of saw all the details. As actors we cannot pass any judgements, whether he actually did what he did or what he believed that was required.

Is the journalist that you play in the film a fictitious role?

Yes, it is a fictitious role. This is not a real life character. At that point of time a lot of publications might have sent their journalists to dig out the story about Graham Staines and I presume the character was inspired from there.

What homework did you do for getting into the skin of the character?

My time in theatre has helped me a lot in understanding the human emotions. The time that I spend over there, is physically some kind of aspect that I need to work on the character, but I don’t really work on the emotions of the character. In the sense that the experience helps with the time that I’ve spent in the theatre and the script is always the guiding force, as the script portrays the character I follow. And of course, the vision of the director and how he sees it are equally important. As an actor I try to bring a layer here and there and make the scene a little more professional

How was Aneesh Daniel as a director?

Aneesh is a lovely man. He is very affable, emotional, compassionate kind of guy who gives his 100 percent to his work.

When you set out to act in an issue-based film like this, do you have to detach yourself as a commercial actor?

Not really. I am also a part of the audience and as an audience I go and watch a film. Tomorrow I can watch a Gunjan Saxena or an out and out commercial film whichever is going to come up, even if both are very different. As an audience I’m game to watch both the genres. As an actor too I am open to different kinds of material- some material is plainly there for your entertainment at the same time they are contributing to having an easy relaxing time and get your mind off the worries-these are the kind of commercial films, so to speak.

This is the first film of yours to get a direct release on OTT? What is the feasibility of OTT?

It is my first film dubbed in Hindi that is being streamed on an online OTT platform like ShemarooMe Box Office. I think some films which may not be subject to a cinema opening up to numbers. There are certain films which do not find their space in the cinema hall as virtue of nature. For those kinds of films, it’s wonderful that independent producers find the platform and OTT is a great space to do so. It is a great possibility in terms of audience and both commercial viability and visibility.

During a lockdown, even a film like Coolie No 1 is going to get an OTT release and off beat issue based films also release on OTT. Do you think it’s the future of cinema in India?

In terms of outing there is only that much. If you want to spend time with your family or even as a couple, you have dinner and then you can go and watch a movie. Cinema is an overall experience and is here to stay.

As an actor how do you keep yourself active, when working with people whom you have not worked with before? Like Prakash Belawadi and Aditi Chengappa. How do you tune yourself to their capacities?

I think as actors everyone has different capacities. Our responsibility is to play out the best we can to bring out the characters as competent actors. Alongside, as people if we connect, then it’s a bonus because then you know the process of the individual. But even if you don’t get along as people it is essential to give a film your best.

Now with Baarish, you have stepped into the web series also. Was that your first web series? And how was your experience vis- a- vis cinema and theatre?

Yes, it was my first web series. It was very exciting, for the first time I was delivering a mouthful of lines, after a long time. Theatre and cinema, of what I have done; they are all where there is time to express the emotion of the character/scene, economy of lines, communicating the content. On the OTT platform we have the luxury of having ample time and it allows you as an actor to play around.

How did you spend this period of lockdown to further hone your craft?

Well, I watched a lot of movies, which I love doing. I read a bit, I read general fiction and I have been reading the Bhagavad Geeta. That reflects in your work eventually. I utilise my time. I spend time with my family and that’s wonderful. We have come to realise how little it takes for us to be happy. It boils down to spending time with your nearest and dearest ones. Life can be quite great, you don’t need to be outside to seek happiness and personally for me it does not take much.

Do you think the theatre scene will also undergo reshuffling and there is going to be a radical change, where plays are streamed on OTT platforms as people cannot go out to a theatre and see a play?

These are nice experimental ways of trying to keep plays alive. But the magic of theatre will be only when you visit a theatre and see the actors performing live on stage, as that is irreplaceable and that is something that will have to come back. Theatre cannot go on like that. In my opinion if your suggestion is temporary, it is fine, but it cannot be permanent. It's like seeing a film and expect it to be shot better.


In what way have you grown as an actor?

I think I’ve become braver as an actor after the release of Baarish on the OTT platform. There were so many lines I had to deliver. I haven’t done that in front of the camera. You have to get into the state of mind of the character, and somewhere only rely on your memory. I'll take more chances now.

Which are your forthcoming projects/ awaiting release?

Aankh Micholi, which Umesh Shukla has directed. The other one, I'm going to start work in November which is a Netflix original film.

Finally, when you look back at your career, do you feel you are lacking in anything now, or are happy with what you have achieved?

I’m not much of a people’s person, still am not. I was not aware of this lacuna in me but I’ve learnt over the years how to make amends.

Latest Stories