'What are the odds?' star, Karanvir Malhotra talks about beating the odds as a digital-age actor

Priyanka Parmar
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Karanvir Malhotra

Our latest interaction with the talented actor of the digital age, Karanvir Malhotra, is anything but odd! Check out everything he had to say about being a part of the Netflix Original, 'What are the Odds?'

Ashwin, the charming head boy from Netflix India's Original, 'What are the Odds?' aka Karanvir Malhotra is truly an actor of the digital age. The talented and noteworthy actor was last seen in Amazon Prime Video's, The Forgotten Army and Netflix India's, Selection Day. Before getting his first break on Indian content platforms, the actor honed his craft by pursuing international theatre. Early on, his family moved from Delhi to Melbourne and this brought him the chance to join and work at the Indian Film Festival Melbourne and Mind Blowing Films. There are a lot more interesting things that we discovered about Karanvir Malhotra in our latest interaction with him. We spoke about his experience shooting for 'What are the Odds?', how he's handling the lockdown and lots more!

Check out excerpts from our interaction with Karanvir Malhotra here:

How are you dealing with the quarantine situation?

"We've been busy promoting the film for the last month. Now it's come out, so it's all about promoting it further and engaging with the audience. Creating such nice stuff in terms of artwork for the film. So many positive messages from everywhere, so it's good. Suddenly I've seen I'm working more than what I was working 2 months back."

How was the shooting experience?

"It was incredible. I'm not from Mumbai. I'm from Delhi. My family is from Melbourne. I had just self-taped my audition and sent it across to Megha and the team. So, they just flew me to Mumbai and I've been here for the past 2-3 years now. So, it's the first thing I started shooting professionally. It's been incredible. It has been my most favourite experience. Your first set and your first job are always special. On top of that, being a part of a project which is different and quirky, it was exciting. We had this feeling that we're creating something that people, especially in India, haven't seen before. The crew was amazing. Megha, Apurva, Sanjay, Pooja everyone! The entire team came together and everyone jelled along so well."

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So you shot for the movie before the web series?

"I shot most of it but what happened was because FilmKaravan also produced Delhi Crime. And that's the time when the Nirbhaya judgement had come out and they had to quickly shoot because they had a delivery date for the show to go Live. So, the film's shooting took a halt for a bit because the cinematographer and lot of the crew were the same. Once they shot that, they again came back to the film and had a pickup. After that, the film also had a festival scheduled where it went to IFFLA, then it went to Tribecca so there was a festival round. So, yaa, it took it's time to come out but I think it's the best time for it to come out right now because everyone's at home and they want to watch something light and something which is not heavy to their heads or hearts and I think we're really lucky that we can deliver a film that hopefully makes people feel happy for some time.

How is it working with Yashaswini? Was there anything you learned from each other or the director?

"I had watched Yashaswini in Dear Zindagi and Phobia and absolutely loved her as a performer and just the way she is. She's such a different personality and she's so fresh to watch on screen and otherwise. And when we met we bonded and clicked suddenly because there wasn't any pretension. We're young and have young ideologies and while shooting we had a lot of fun bc we were constantly together for 30-35  days of shoot and because of that we just became a character because we were just shooting, eating and taking time off the shoot. It was a wonderful experience and very dreamy. All my scenes were with her. So, I learned a lot from her. There was Megha who's really hard working. She makes sure she makes the actor rehearse the dialogues many times before going on the set. We had a lot of script reads. There are a lot of different scenes in the film like taking out bird noises and running around. We planned everything so when we were o set we could shoot quickly and make it look fun."

Also Read: Add these OTT shows with on-screen LGBTQ+ representation to your must-watch list RN!

 'What are the Odd?' is divided into several chapters. Which of the incidents happen with Ashwin is Karanveer more likely to experience in real life?

"There's a drinking scene. Ashwin is drinking for the first or second time. He's into studies and wants to go out to study. So, drinking on a parapet for him is not a usual day. So, I have had an experience where I was a little bit eccentric than how I am and they've taken me out to shady bars and I'm not a drinker, and all those experiences help in shooting to remove the uneasiness you have when you go to such places. So, I definitely picked up from these instances. I also have a friend from Melbourne who's very similar to Yashaswini's character. We used to just hang out and talk about ideas, the world, how we are as people. So, there are things like that and the relationships that I've lived that helped me relate to Ashwin."

What are the kind of genres in stories that draw your attention?

"I always wanted to play an Astronaut since childhood because of my fondness for astronomy and constellation. I used to have a mini telescope at home. So, I'd like to play an Astronaut someday. With the kind of genres I like to watch, I always give this analogy to people that for my films are like food, you know? it's like what do you feel like eating at that point in time? I feel like eating chaat so that's light and spicy, so, I'll watch a film that's light. And some days where I've worked the entire day, so then I want to watch something that makes my brain stimulated. So, I'll watch a thriller or sci-fi like Star Wars t Ozark. So, it depends on the mood I am in at that point in time but I love all genres."

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How do you think OTT platforms have changed the way audience views cinema and how has it helped actors such as yourself?  

"Immensely. I think I started off with theatre and acting because I love to do that. But the thing is that being an outsider, being in the movies is a very far fetched dream. The entire idea of making a film career in Bollywood is far fetched. And I always looked at it from the length that only the privileged can be a part of it. People who have a connection, people who live in Mumbai. I think OTT platforms have allowed a lot of influx for actors from the outside. Even an actor like me, you know? I don't have a big surname or I don't come from that background. But luckily I'm a part of the leading platforms that are there in the country right now which is Netflix and Amazon.

In fact, when I was shooting for these shows, I didn't know about them (OTT platforms) because this boom had happened in the past 2-3 years. So, while I was shooting for these projects, even, The Forgotten Army, Amazon wasn't that big. Family Man hadn't come out and even jack Ryam I think wasn't out then. So, I wasn't aware only how big these platforms are. For me, it was getting an opportunity to work with Kabir Khan and with Anil Kapoor productions. And then later it happened to be so that these digital platforms have become what they are now. In a lockdown, we're sitting and bingeing."
Are any of your other projects in the pipeline right now?

"I haven't signed anything right now. They were on the verge of being locked down but then this lockdown happened. I think I got lucky with What are the Odds? coming out now and getting a lot of visibility and being on a top watch list and being second after Malang. We never expected things like these to happen. I'm hoping once this lockdown is over, I'll jump down to something exciting. But I haven't signed up for anything yet."

We also played a round of 'What are the Odds?' and asked Karanvir Malhotra things he was most likely to do. Here's how it went:

What are the odds of you sleeping on a movie set?

"Zero. I can never fall asleep on the set. I'm so energetic on the set. I don't even sit in the vanity van. I'm talking to someone or the other."

What are the odds of you joining a cult?

"TBH, if you see the poster of Dark, the jacket is very similar to what Yashaswani wears and the hair as well. So, I was joking with Megha and Yashaswini that we've created a cult. I think I've already joined a mini-cult in my head which is called What are the odds. So, I'll go for 10 there."

What are the odds of you singing in public?

"I sang a song in this film. It's called T for Two. It's not much but I do sing. Professionally, I'm an actor first and then if for a particular character I need to sing, I will. But you can go for an 8 because I am quite unashamed, I can do whatever, so, yea, I can sing in public."

What are the odds of you becoming a Master Chef during the lockdown?

"My ratings are so extreme. I can't cook. It's zero. You know honestly, I just survive on black coffee. I luckily got this coffee maker. I put coffee and water and it boils and then I drink it. Even if there's no food I'll be able to survive. I've got Nutella, cereals and stuff so I just kind of eat that. But, no, I can't cook. I'll cook later when it's calm because it requires preparation and concentration. For now, I'll just be like okay, let't not eat."

What are the odds of you someone finding you Insta-stalking your favourite artist?

"Me Insta-stalking my favourite artists?... I think an 8. I do stalk people, especially in the last few months where you get all these suggestions to follow people and see what they have posted. So, I check out all of those."

What are the odds of you searching your own name on Google?

"Oh, yes, I did that also. So, 9. I did that yesterday because of all these articles coming in. Before you used to get all those Orkut and Facebook links and now you're part of all these articles so it's exciting."

What are the odds of you killing your pet fish/plant (as shown in the movie)?

"No, the odds of that are very less. I won't end up killing a pet. I had a dog once and I was protective of him. I used to make him sleep with me on the bed. If I had a pet nobody could harm them, not even me."

What are the odds of you punching a rockstar?

The odds are very less. Especially with Abhay Deol in the film. If the rockstar is anything like Abhay Deol I'll just go and give him a big hug.

What are the odds of you getting a dolphin or a butterfly tattoo?"
"No yaa, I'm so scared of tattoos and needles and stuff like that. I don't have a thing for tattoos. Like I admire people who do it but if I see anything pricking something, I have a reflex and I just can't. I am sensitive like that."
What are the odds of you drunk texting an Ex?

"I've done it in the past but not now because there are so many other things keeping me busy right now. Plus, I was never a heavy drinker but now I've gone off alcohol completely. So, the chances are really less."

 What are the Odds? is now streaming on Netflix!

actor abhay deol Amazon Prime Video ott shows Yashaswini Dayama The Forgotten Army theatre netflix original Karanvir Malhotra Melbourne Selection Day What are the odds?