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Anshuman Jha on Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain, His Unique Choices and An Interesting Future Plan

In an interaction with Anshuman Jha talked at length about his upcoming film with Sanjay Mishra, balancing theater and career in film and his plan to focus all his energy into his future projects.

Sameeksha |

Updated:May 16, 2018, 11:16 AM IST
Anshuman Jha on Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain, His Unique Choices and An Interesting Future Plan
Image: A still from Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain
Starting his career with something as experimental and grim as Love Sex Aur Dhokha, Anshuman Jha has come a long way down the path of off-beat cinema. His unusual choices and a willingness to experiment not only with his roles but also with the content has made him a common name in the festival circuit. Now, after films like Chaurunga and Mona Darling, Jha is back with Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain, which unlike his previous films, is a love story of a 52-year-old man (Sanjay Mishra) and how he learns to come to terms with expressing his love for his wife.

Elaborating on his role in the film, Jha told, "I play Jugnoo in AMKH and like the name, my character is bright and colourful. He is an extremely positive guy who is honestly and innocently in love with his neighbour Preeti (Shivani Raghuvanshi). And has a very interesting graph in the film - from being in love to encouraging his father-in-law to show his love."

"It's probably the happiest role that I have portrayed since my debut in Love Sex Aur Dhoka and luckily I don't get killed here," he quips.

After Love Sex aur Dhokha, his choices of films can be best described as unique. On being asked if there's a particular reason for staying away from the 'mainstream limelight’, Jha answered, "Unique, selective, making the most of what’s on offer are different ways to describe the perception. But these are just perceptions. The truth is I left for London two months after LSD’s release to represent India at the World Theatre festival at Manchester with my play 'Dirty Talk'. After my return, the offers in the mainstream world didn't excite me. The ones which did (like Kismet, Luv, Paisa, Dilli) didn't fare well at the box office even though it was by a director who had previously made ‘Ek Challis Ki Last Local’ one of my favourite Hindi films. So I decided to only do films which stay true to the script and excite me as an actor. So Yeh Hai Bakrapur, Chauranga, X: Past is Present or Mona Darling are all unique concept-driven films and each character has excited me in a different way."

"It’s not the actor that makes the choice, it's the choice that makes the actor. And in my case, beggars can be choosers," he said.

The actor has been actively invested in his theater roles as he has been in films. Talking about balancing the life onstage and on-screen, he says, "Theatre is meditation for me, it's my riyaz as an actor. It keeps me disciplined & sharpens my craft. Whereas Cinema is euphoric and gives me a high like none else. My first play at Prithvi was when I was 15 years old so theatre has been a big part of my existence. And of course, it has given me an understanding of scripts which I believe every actor needs to have. I was trying my best to balance both but I realised I need to focus on films now, at least for a bit. "

The actor says that he has taken an intentional sabbatical from the stage for the past 18 months so as to focus more on feature films. "I regularly still do my routine exercises as an actor (body & speech) but honestly I am missing the stage and will soon do something new," he remarks.

Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain, in a way, challenges the idea of masculinity and patriarchy where both genders are expected to play a role. Jha elaborates, "I feel love and gentleness has the power to change any pre-set outlook. The idea of masculinity or a patriarchal society where we are conditioned that boys shouldn't cry or are expected to not be sensitive or that only women should run the kitchen - are all ideas that have been conditioned into us. But it's not the only way. And one needs to be neutral & feel the power of love to experience a life of fullness. A life of balance, a life of equal give and take. If anything, masculinity should be measured by how well a man treats his woman in terms of love and respect. How special can you make a woman feel? That's the conditioning I’d like to believe in."

Talking about his future plans, the actor says, "I’m most excited for the release of Angezi Mein Kehte Hain. Post that, I have my digital debut (the first web show I have chosen to do) called 'Babbar Ka Tabbar' and Season 1 will go on air this month end. Followed by Season 2 which we have already finished shooting. I also have Ashvin’s film and Midnight Delhi nearly complete. So they will be out later this year. And will begin shooting for a crazy love story RSVP with Tannishtha Chatterjee in July.”
| Edited by: Sameeksha
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