Women have to feel that there is no validation required for their strength
Actor Anant Joshi, who is presently enjoying his ride to success playing the role of Dev in Star Plus Dopahar show Kya Qusoor Hai Amala Ka?, comes across as a guy who is very expressive with regards to whatever he wants in life.
Playing a character who is a weak-minded male chauvinist, conservative and possessive in love does not come easy. And for Anant, it has been a big challenge in accepting such a character and living it to the fullest.
In a candid exclusive chat with Indianwikimedia.com, Anant goes on to talk about his role, his journey being part of this show, his thoughts on gender inequality, s*x abuse and much more…
How has the journey in Kya Qusoon Hai Amala Ka been for you?
It has been nice, but it has come with its own challenges. The challenge has been in terms of accepting the character, the process of which is still on the character Dev surprises me a lot in his behaviour. In this way, the character is far from what I am. It has been fun working with such a team. Our Director Nandita Mehra has amazingly visualized the character. She is a genius in her own job and has gone through the screenplays very well. She knows what she wants from every character, and how every character needs to breathe. An actor’s life becomes easy and enjoyable when working with such a director. Having said this, it takes a lot when you play such a different yet strong character in the show.
Lightness cannot be seen without darkness; in the same way, happiness cannot be seen without sadness.
Describe your character in the show…
Dev is a taxi driver who has been born and brought up in Dharamshala. There is a bit of relatability to the character as I too come from the hills. So I know vividly the geography of the place and how people from the hill stations think and react, and how villages and community can be so very small that everybody know everyone. In normal situations, men usually come across as strong, as men cannot be weak. However, this character of Dev is weak from inside and he cannot accept adversities very easily and cannot face challenges. Ironically, in our society, most of the men have masked their emotions with the pseudo strength that brings the robustness in men. Dev is a strong character, but eventually he is a very conventional, conservative with a narrow approach. He is dependent on somebody else when it comes to the way in which he needs to think and react. In the entire show, the most complex character is Dev. This character does not have a character sketch; he just reacts to situations in a very narrow-minded way. If he wants to say something, he will not say it as he knows that it will not be accepted by the society.
In simple words, this character is very versatile and does not really follow one line. Dev is a very confused guy who lives in a male chauvinistic society and feels that women have no rights to decide. He believes that women should be seen as a possession, and one who should be taught how to live. He has not explored world so much; he lives in his own cocoon where he has designed his own happiness. His dream is to live his life with the girl he loves so much that is Amala. He is not a visionary and cannot foresee things.
This is a totally female oriented plot. What made you to take up this role?
Yes, this is a completely woman oriented plot. But it is eventually the story and journey of a rape victim, Amala in a male dominated world. How in our society, the woman loses her own character and strength as she is taught to be dependent, and that her identity would be seen respectably through a man. It talks about all the men in her life, and how they mould and shape her life, and how she actually gets to a point of realization that it is her own life and nobody has the right to be in charge of it. There is so much that her life goes through and the kind of change she sees in herself. The show is about the entire realization that she goes through. Lightness cannot be seen without darkness; in the same way, happiness cannot be seen without sadness. The universal polarity is that a strong woman cannot be seen without a man. So the show is the journey of this girl who goes through all the challenges that men throw to her, to emerge into a powerful woman.
Pankhuri is a very entertaining girl, very chirpy and a person who talks a lot. She is like the ray of light in the otherwise dark show where we go through a lot of sombreness owing to the concept
Do you think you have a good character graph as the story moves?
My character graph is impeccable. All characters in the show go through an incredible topsy-turvy journey wherein their life changes by 360 degrees. From being the possessive lover, Dev turns into a heartbroken lover, and then goes on to become an vengeful man. Later will come in the realization of his own mistakes and the path where he is surrendering to them. Overall, I have an amazing graph and to perform such a character in this stage of my career is a true blessing. Even when I was researching and studying this character, I have felt that Dev is very human and natural in the way he thinks. He does not have a pre-conceived notion and the manner in which he reacts to circumstances will surprise him as well as the audience around him.
As I said, the character is shown as a very possessive lover whose only dream is to live with Amala in his house. And then everything changes for him after the incident. He later gets obsessed with other materialistic attractions, and gets lost in them. Ultimately, he goes on a path of repenting, but also realizes that he has taken a path wherein he cannot get back. The whole transformation from a very simple guy who wants a family, to this chaotic piece of mess, the entire graph is incredible.
You are shown to be a lively guy in the show. How are you in real life?
Dev’s liveliness and spontaneity is quite close to what I am in real life. However, he has a weak side wherein he can be very easily influenced and fooled by people. In the small cities, people tend to live in a bubble by believing that they are the smartest. But they don’t realize that there are smarter people who could actually make them feel foolish if they are followed blindly. I don’t follow people blindly and have a rational thought process which is different from Dev. For Dev, love is all about possession. But for me, love is just love and is all about giving freedom to the woman. He’s a passionate guy and I too am one. However he is an extremist, and takes extreme decisions. I am more of a refined guy and know what I am doing.
What are your thoughts on the concept of the show?
The strongest part of the concept is its screenplay. This show being a copyright of a famous novel, its screenplay is the strength of the show. With the kind of reputation that our country has world-wide for rape, I think this show enables to show the reflection of the society. We never tend to give a rape victim the strength needed, if we give it is only the sympathy. The show reflects on these sensible issues and how to tackle them. We don’t really think what the person goes through when she is gang-raped. We lack all those sensibilities. It is not only a physical and mental loss, but it is a big loss for a girl. Society in today’s world fails to deliver in those lines, and our show traces the path which has to be taken when a girl meets with such an unfortunate incident. Above all a girl should not be held responsible for something unfortunate as rape.
Dev’s liveliness and spontaneity is quite close to what I am in real life. However, he has a weak side wherein he can be very easily influenced and fooled by people
Your take on sexual abuse and gender inequality…
At work, the question of gender inequality does not arise. If you see, our show’s Director and Producer are women. Our protagonist is a woman. We work in a world where we are recognized more on the basis of skills rather than gender. However this does happen in the society and we tend to see and read so many things. We have to come out of the thought of women being any lesser. I do not want to light that fire of inequality by getting into a debate or conversation. It is all about not talking but bringing up these values and changing the basic mindset that men are any different than men.
Sexual abuse, again we have heard lot of things. It is very unfortunate that such an evil prevails. I think sensibility lies in the fact that a woman needs to live life the way she wants. Nobody should impose or force anything on her; it is very suffocating and puts you in a position where you have no charge of your own life. Nobody can take charge of a woman’s life. Breaching of freedom of living is really bad.
How do you think the woman in our country can gain confidence to live life?
They have immense amount of confidence. I think as humans, we look for validations and support. I think it all starts from a family. Fortunately, I am from a family where my mother taught me to respect women. Being from a small town, we are God-believers. The basic essence is to respect women. I look up to my mother, and look up to all women and respect them. I think at this stage, women have to feel that there is no validation required for their strength. They are strong, somebody stronger than men in lot of ways. By using them positively and ignoring criticisms, it is time for them to come up and live life and do what is right for them. Awareness is what is going to bring clarity to women, especially those from small towns. Until they are not aware of their rights and how they are equally entitled to think and pursue what they want, they cannot be liberated.
Have you come across a girl like Amala in real life?
Since I come from the hills, I have seen girls like Amala who are very fragile, innocent, who aspire for a loving husband and a beautiful house and nothing else. I have known that side of Amala quite well. But I have not come across a rape victim in real life. However, while I was studying theatre in Delhi, I enacted a play about gang rape and domestic abuse. So I have very well studied the mental and psychological problems that girls who go through this face. So you can say that I have met them in my head somewhere and have tried to explore their side of pain and grief.
How is it working with Pankhuri Awasthy?
Pankhuri is a phenomenal actor. I met her for the first time for our mock test and the moment we performed our scene, we knew that we are going to share and learn a lot together during the course of the show. We help each other a lot while shooting. Our scenes are very much appreciated, and our chemistry on screen is being liked. I would give complete credit to her for this, as only if we have proper exchange of emotions the scenes tend to come out nicely.
Pankhuri is a very entertaining girl, very chirpy and a person who talks a lot. She is like the ray of light in the otherwise dark show where we go through a lot of sombreness owing to the concept. She is a laugh riot and we have gone on to become really close friends. Working with friends is always fun.