Actor Tanuj Virwani who was last seen in the hard-hitting web-series Inside Edge is using the lockdown period to learn new skills, including filmmaking.

Says Tanuj, “ Of course things have changed tremendously over the past 6-7 weeks ever since the lockdown came into effect. Shootings have come to a complete standstill. Hardly any new work is being discussed as there is uncertainty with regards to what the world may look like post the pandemic. But that does not mean my creativity is on hold. If you have an idea you can come up with some interesting content sitting at home. I shot an 8 min long short film about the effect this pandemic is having on our mental well being. It’s titled ‘Urban Incarceration’ . It was shot at home, on my iPhone with the help of my staff .”

Tanuj’s film has received a huge positive response. “Yeah, it’s received a pretty stellar response online and I’m very happy I could make something that a lot of people could identify with. I’m currently making a series of short animated films highlighting the problems in many of our mindsets when it comes to handling life in a pandemic. It is a humorous yet enlightening take and we are trying to raise money for covid19 patients as well as the warriors . Rithvik Dhanjani and Jitendra Joshi are my co-conspirators on that project. I also shoot a bunch of cricket videos to keep fans of Inside Edge entertained .”

Tanuj is maintaining a strict regime in quarantine. “I maintain a daily schedule which involves running up and down the building stairs, doing some lightweight I have at home, some freehand exercises, some cricket and of course yoga and stretching. At a time like that our physical and mental well being must be well looked after. I am not into body-building. So many of my actor friends are just piling it on at the gym, having protein shakes etc . I want be fit and keep my body elastic so I can change my look depending on the roles I play. That in itself is the joy of acting .”

He’s also watching a lot of films. “I am watching and in some cases rewatching a lot of content – be it local or international. It’s been a pretty busy past year and I missed out on a lot of really cool stuff So now seems like a good time to catch up on all of that. I just finished watching Better Call Saul , Homeland , Westworld , Asur , Special Ops and Paatal Lok . It’s inspiring as an artist to see so many different kinds of shows being made and made so well , also reading a lot of books especially by James Hadley Chase. It’s like an Äbbas Mustan film in a book.”

Tanuj is also getting to know himself better. “It is a time for introspection for sure. I’m getting to know myself better . Understanding who I am and how I can evolve as a person , as an artist . Sometimes in order to learn , one must unlearn and that is what I am aspiring to do . The past two months have given me a fair amount of clarity as well. It is a time of great uncertainty.”

Tanuj thinks some good may emerge from this crisis. “ There is a lot of fear and trepidation. While it is understandable we all need to accept that life is always evolving , always changing . In a way , Change is the only constant in life . Maybe there is a silver lining to all of this , maybe the world will be a better place once the dust settles and this entire situation is in the rearview mirror . We have to remain hopeful and positive and embrace whatever the universe has in store for us . The greater the suffering , the greater the peace . Take good care of the physical and mental well being of yourself and your loved ones . In the end that is all that matters.”

This lockdown has also turned Tanuj bit of a foodie. “ Most definitely. I have been eating a lot of food . The thing is we have this amazing live-in chef who makes the most amazing food for us so it’s difficult for a foodie like myself to resist . My father is also a very good cook .His Thai and Italian food are too much . I too am no mug in the kitchen either and I can whip up a decent enough meal . And if that’s not enough we have this Parsi neighbour who sends us the most delicious Berry Pulao once a week.”

Tanuj’s sleeping hours have not increased during lockdown. “I have not necessarily been sleeping more but I have been sleeping a lot more soundly without a care in the world. Living in Mumbai , life tends to be extremely fast-paced . We are either rushing to shoots , to events , to auditions or to meetings . Now all of a sudden there is nothing to rush to. So I feel my mind and body both have gotten a well-deserved break.”

He remembers the first few days of the lockdown as the toughest. “I was neck-deep in the middle of a project that I have been working on since last October . And all of a sudden we were all grounded. We couldn’t step out. We couldn’t meet friends. Couldn’t go to the mall . Couldn’t go to the cinemas . The restaurants . Nothing . It took me sometime to wrap my head around just how much life had changed in the blink of an eye . Add to that I live at Worli , an area in Mumbai that has become one of the hotspots . This naturally freaked me out . But as time went on I have slowly started making my peace with this new way of life . Having said that I hope things get back to how they were before . I have a daily schedule that I follow diligently . It involves cooking , reading , writing , playing cricket ,listening to music , watching interesting new content , spending time with my father , zoom calls with my mother who is currently stuck in Poland due to the lockdown , playing with my two dogs – Lebron and Shuri . Making short films , continue working on upcoming projects and planning ahead . I also do a lot of Instagram and Facebook live sessions as it is a nice way of keeping in touch with fans without whom we would not be here in the first place .”

In the coming months Tanuj has a lot to look forward to. “I have quite an interesting line up on the web in the coming year. Next up is an Amazon prime show called Kamathipura which is set in the infamous red light district of Mumbai . I play the antagonist for the first time in my career . Post that I have a cameo on this sweet little show titled ‘Masaba Masaba’ starring Neena Gupta and her daughter Masaba. This will be followed up with Inside Edge season 3 which will pick up right where we left off at the end of season 2 . Then I have Cartel for Alt/zee5 starring Jitendra Joshi, Rithvik Dhanjani, Supriya Pathak, Monica Dogra and a bevy I’d exciting talent . Really excited about that one. Then we should into the second season of Code M starring Jennifer Winget along with some new additions. I also have a couple of untitled projects which are in the works .”

Tanuj’s mom is stranded abroad. “But we speak every day. Thank god for technology.”