Actor Shriyam Bhagnani shares interesting insights on her journey, the growth of OTT platforms and more!
The Indian film industry is full of young artists who pack a solid punch in terms of talent. One of these artists is Indian Actor and Writer Shriyam Bhagnani, who is known for her characters in movies like Baaghi 2 (2018) and Batti Gul Meter Chalu (2018). Transcending from one content format to the other, Shriyam has now bagged a meaty role in a web series to be directed by Nagesh Kukunoor for a major OTT platform. She is currently preparing for her character and is going through a physical transformation for the same.e
Shriyam received her training at the Barry John Acting Studio, but instead of making a bee-line to the front of a camera, she decided to learn the workings and different aspects of filmmaking first. She believes it has helped her hone her craft and have a holistic approach towards it. We recently spoke to her about her journey, her upcoming projects, the boom in the OTT space, etc. Her answers reflect her sharp and dynamic personality backed by her acting talent!
Below are some excerpts from our conversation with Shriyam Bhagnani:
How did your journey as an actor begin and what inspired you to become an actor?
“As a kid, I always wanted to become a Tennis player. However, as I evolved, my dreams took a different shape altogether. I got roped into a play in one of my college fests and that was a turning point in my life. It made me realize that I could literally live the lives of so many characters and still be me! This excited me the most and after all these years, I can see it work out in my favour. The butterfly effect is at play here.”
2. So, you’ve taken up many jobs related to cinema – from production to editing to assisting directors. How did that help you understand and develop your craft better?
“When I was learning to act at Barry John’s, I understood that an actor is the voice of the entire team behind the production. If I didn’t understand the process, I wouldn’t be able to satisfy the learning-oriented sponge that my brain is. I believe one should always be a jack of all trades and then try to master the one craft that resonates most with them, acting is that for me. Trying out various aspects of filmmaking helped me further understand my calling and the process involved to go through it, in intricate details. Now when I’m on a film set, my experience helps me to look at the scene from various perspectives – technical, artistic and financial.”
3. How has the lockdown been for you professionally? Have you been auditioning virtually or having readings on zoom etc?
“The lockdown has postponed my next OTT release, made me miss the set and definitely doesn’t allow me to chill in a cafe at Lokhandwala. However, let’s look at the silver lining, the Italian Renaissance came after the Bubonic Plague, I’m sure every creative person has spent this time in a productive way and we will start seeing the result slowly as we open up. Honestly, there is already so much more content getting made due to the advent of OTT, I have been quite busy with constant auditions and meetings, virtually.”
4. How else have you been keeping your lockdown productive?
“I have been painting a lot – it’s something I didn’t know I could do up until I started it recently. Currently, I’m reading a few scripts and preparing for my characters for my upcoming shoots.”
5. Can you tell us about your upcoming OTT web series that’s being directed by Nagesh Kukunoor?
“His set is a different energy altogether, it all works perfectly in synchronization. This time the story is even more gripping, however, I would be doing a great disservice to the fans of the last season by indulging in any more information dissemination.”
6. How do you think the OTT space is helping in the evolution of entertainment and cinema in India and on the global front?
“As a land of stories, we won’t run out of fresh and relatable content anytime soon and OTT space seems to be just starting to explode, there are 30+ platforms already and yet there are always newer ones coming in. It has given the audience access to good content with the press of a button in the absolute comfort of their pyjamas. What this means to the Indian audience is that the content can now reach the mobile screens of the audience, the connection is at a deeper level. For every artist, it’s a complete win-win situation because we are a country that worships the stars we see on Big screens, with OTT this love will only grow as artistes move from the big screen to the audience’s hands, and eventually to their hearts.”
She further added, “At a global level, the competition between the bigwigs is an on-going one which means better content. With things like experiments on pay-per-view pricing, will eventually crystallise the position of OTT in the exhibition value chain globally. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
7. Nepotism is a huge conversation in the industry right now. What’s your take on it and how has being associated with a Bollywood family impacted you?
“I have said this before, the debate has become very superficial. Let’s not simplify the problem, the main conversation should be pro-talent and not anti-nepotism. Ideally, it shouldn’t matter where the next Priyanka Chopra or Kareena Kapoor comes from. At the end of the day we have a beautiful amalgamation of art & commerce in this industry, talent will rule despite nepotism or the lack of it. I don’t really know how to answer the second part of the question because I’ve never really told anyone and no one has even asked me about my family before this. As I said, people only care about talent here.”