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Spinning A Web

Stepping into the digital world with a hit show like Breathe, actor Amit Sadh talks to Bhakti Mehta about the intensity of his character, his co-stars and the response he has received for his performance

What was your instinctive reaction when you were offered a web series?

I have always been a fan of web shows. There is a serial killer in our show but I am a ‘series killer’. I have never had any apprehensions in life. I just concentrate on the story of whatever comes to me. If the story suits me, affects me, then that’s it. That is all I wait for. When they narrated the story to me, and this character of Kabir Sawant, I was, like, I just have to do this role.

What has the response been to Breathe and your character on the show?

People have been giving us so much love. The audience on the web falls in one of two categories. If they like you, they go mental and if they don’t, they make you mental. Thankfully, my character has been appreciated by the audience; it is overwhelming.

I still wake up to find messages on Twitter and Instagram where people are saying how much they liked the show and my part in it. Also, thanks to the web platform, it has released in 220 countries and the way it has been marketed has helped it reach so many people. To be honest, I didn’t know that it would turn out so well. We were just doing what we do, giving our best. The thing is, you cannot make greatness; greatness happens. And that has happened to us with Breathe, which is now a case study.

There are a lot of shades in your character even though he is essentially the good guy.

Both the characters have shades of grey. What makes Breathe connect with the audience is that it is not your typical good-guy-bad-guy story. I prefer to think that it has two protagonists instead of the classic one-hero and one-villain formula. The characters are much more human, complex and intense.

You said the role is intense. Does it take an emotional toll on you to bring out that intensity on the screen?

I had two options, which is something every actor has. One was to go on the set, switch on and switch off as demanded by the character. The other was to ‘become’ the character. It was a deliberate decision between me and director Mayank Sharma that I would have to become this guy. I had to dig in deep. I had to understand his guilt, his pain and his power. It was difficult to live with him 24x7 for 90 days. It was difficult and complex to first create him, then live with him and then come out of him.

I read a lot and stayed in my own, solitary zone for this. I didn’t meet anyone, didn’t socialise. I was in a very different psycho-sphere of life. I play a cop so I saw a lot of encounter specialists and obtained more information about that. Kabir is also an alcoholic, so I had to know how that affects him. I gathered information about how people who are alcoholics are lethargic, lazy and don’t take care of themselves, don’t eat, don’t get proper sleep, etc. That’s how I got into the skin of the character.

What was your association like with the director?

Mayank is a very talented director and he knows exactly what he wants. He is also genuine, which is something I like. He is a great writer. He is a purist. He is one of the most hardworking people I have met in the five years I have been in the film industry. One of his strengths is managing his actors. The understanding that he has as a person contributes to his craft.

And your co-actors, R Madhavan and Sapna Pabbi?

I have always been a fan of Maddy sir and have grown up watching his movies. Our characters were pitted against each other on the show but it is a great privilege to be on a show with him, to share the responsibility of Breathe with him. It was a great learning experience to watch him create his character on screen. He is a very genuine and warm person and we have an amazing brotherly relationship.

I also worked with Sapna in the series but she came on the sets when I was hurt or damaged or emotionally drained. So, this beautiful girl walks on the set and instead of being greeted nicely, she gets a co-star who does not speak properly and who is in his own zone. But I was so much into the character, I couldn’t help it. I apologised to her later and hope to work with her on a project which is light-hearted.

What can you tell us about your next film?

My next project is GOLD and I can’t say much about it except that the film is closest to me. I have worked hardest in this film. I even injured my back playing hockey. It releases on August 15 but I wish that day would come sooner!

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