After starring in Bollywood films like Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year and Traffic (remade from the Malayalam film of the same name), up-and-coming actor Amol Parashar is happy to explore his talents in the digital space. The IIT-Delhi graduate was appreciated for his performance in the web series TVF Tripling, which was released in 2016 ran for six episodes. In his upcoming series, Home, Amol plays a young Indian boy who stands by his family during a major crisis. Produced by Ekta Kapoor’s ALTBalaji, Home is directed by Habib Faisal and also stars Annu Kapoor, Parikshit Sahni and Supriya Pilgaonkar.
Your first web-series, Tripling, told the story of three siblings on a road trip. It featured a young cast and a relatable storyline for digital consumers. Home, on the other hand, has the appeal of a cross-generational family drama. Do you think youngsters will connect as much with Home as they did with Tripling?
The central crisis in Home is very, very relatable. It is about a housing society facing eviction due to illegal construction. Any urban youngster will connect to the problem. The show focuses on the Shetty family, where Annu Kapoor is the father and Parikshit Sahni is the grandfather. I play one of the two kids in the family - a young, bratty, carefree guy named Vansh. He is just out of college and a bit of a slacker. We all have gone through that phase in life, where we fight with our families and think of breaking away.
Does the idea and significance of a ‘home’ differ among generations?
Yes, it does. For us youngsters, home is just a space to come and crash. In metro cities like Mumbai and New Delhi, you are constantly changing houses and living on rent. So it has a very transient significance in your lives. However, for our parents, home is of central importance. It symbolizes their lives’ worth and all their struggles. Family structures in India have changed due to urbanisation, but the emotions attached to ‘home’ are still the same. It takes an external problem to make us realise the importance of it.
The series is inspired by a real-life incident (The Campa Cola Compound case) where hundreds of families were ordered by the Supreme Court to evict a housing society in South Mumbai. The problem of housing, although universal, is extremely serious in Mumbai.
Yes, totally. When I came to Mumbai to make a career, my parents didn’t understand why I was playing such high rent for a small 2-BHK flat. Housing has become unaffordable for the middle-class in Mumbai. Every time I have a friend visiting from Gurgaon or Bangalore, they are shocked to hear the prices in Mumbai. The market is lopsided, but no one has a solution. We are presenting a fictionalised account of the case; the characters are fictional, but their problems are real. The housing issue is a systemised problem which includes builders, lawmakers, politicians and municipalities. It’s very hard to point out the real villain. Everyone says they are just doing their job.
In India, the digital space has posed a serious threat to theatrical exhibition. A lot of Bollywood actors -- including you -- have turned to stream platforms to showcase their talent...
Any actor loves freedom and appreciation. There’s a huge audience on the web that is discovering our work and giving us our due credit. Earlier, when young actors didn’t have films to do, they turned to television soaps just to pay their bills. But the content on TV was something many of us didn’t connect to.
Today, there’s both satisfaction and employment available on the digital space. What else could you want?
But don’t you think there’s more competition on the web? Audiences can choose to watch high-quality international shows instead of an Indian show…
International shows are backed by giant studios and platforms; they are in a different league. We have started out on a small-scale in India, but we are getting there. Sacred Games checked all the boxes of a world-class show. More shows of that scale across platforms are being produced. I can see a genuine interest for Indian stories across the globe. In terms of talent, we have amazing filmmakers, actors and technicians capable of making an International-level show.