Tanuj Virwani, the son of veteran actor Rati Agnihotri, was off to a shaky begin in the leisure trade. His first three movies – Luv U Soniyo (2013), Purani Jeans (2014) and One Night Stand (2016) – bombed on the field workplace and he was labelled ‘unemployable’. However, he bounced again in an enormous means with the profitable Amazon Prime Video sequence Inside Edge, in which he performs hot-headed star cricketer Vayu Raghavan.
Calling performing an ‘extreme profession’, Tanuj says, “There was a time after I did three films when people were like, ‘Oh, you are unemployable. You are box office poison. No one is ever going to sign you again.’ Boom, I end up being a part of Inside Edge and the same people come and say, ‘Oh my God, you are such an amazing actor.’ It’s hypocrisy to another level. The same people who raise you, pull you down and raise you back again.” He provides that he has learnt to ‘detach’ and let neither the reward nor the brickbats get to him.
Despite coming from a movie household, Tanuj didn’t have issues handed to him on a platter. “My mother goes by her maiden surname (Agnihotri) and I go by Virwani, which is my father’s surname. A lot of the time, people take a while to even make the connection. Many don’t even know I am her son. I have had my fair share of struggles also. I didn’t have the best of starts in the business. I did three films, none of them worked. My mother had absolutely nothing to do with them. They were relatively small films and I got them on my own,” he says.
Tanuj does acknowledge that nepotism exists in the movie trade and typically, actors are chosen for tasks on the premise of private connections. “I know for a fact that nepotism does exist in our industry, favouritism does exist, camps exist, cliques exist. Sometimes you give an audition and you feel that this is going to work out but the next thing you know, you are nowhere in the running just because someone has an equation with someone. It happens. It is the nature of the business, there are no two ways about that,” he says.
However, Tanuj is glad that he made it on his personal, as an alternative of utilizing his household connections. “If you have everything laid out for you on a silver platter, you maybe don’t regard or respect it the way you should because it came to you easy. And you can’t enjoy your success in the same way because if you do well, they will be like, ‘He did well because of his famous parent.’ And if you don’t do well, they will say, ‘Despite having a famous parent, he couldn’t do well.’ For me, it is very important to be known by my first name, even if it is in a very small way, and not to be known by my mother,” he says, including that nepotism ‘can only take one so far’ and it’s the viewers who decides.
Many actors have talked about being dropped from tasks in favour of another person with stronger connections. While Tanuj has by no means been changed from a movie or present after being signed, there have been occasions when he has not made it previous the audition stage regardless of giving his greatest. “I know how it is. You go to certain casting directors and sometimes in your heart as an actor, you know when you have given a good audition, but you don’t even get a call back. Then, after a few months, you hear that so-and-so got the role. And you are like, ‘Oh, of course! They party together. They are friends. Why did I even waste my time?’ You feel bad. I don’t think everything over here functions solely on merit and that’s not nice. I’ll still be okay because at least I have done some work but what about newcomers who come from all over India, with absolutely zero backing, to make a name for themselves and they get treated in this way? There needs to be a permanent change in the way we go about picking talent,” he says.
Tanuj, who has been quarantining in Lonavala along with his household, just lately wrote, directed and produced a brief movie titled Anisht. “We decided to shift to Lonavala for the time being and I started writing the script keeping that in mind. I knew we would be taking the expressway so we can shoot some stuff here. I stopped at my friend’s place on the way and shot with him. Before leaving, I shot the first scene of the film in my building basement in Mumbai. I kind of structured the script around the shooting locations where I would be because you can’t travel anywhere you want,” he says.
When requested why he determined to shoot this movie beneath the lockdown restrictions, Tanuj says, “That’s exactly why I decided to do this because when we are working through the year, my main job is to be an actor and I don’t get a chance to dabble with things behind the camera. You have to find new ways to keep yourself entertained and at the same time productive because it has been more than four months since this started. It has been unbelievably long. For me, it is about staying creatively on point. I don’t want to be rusty or lose that edge.” Another purpose he wished to place the movie out now was for his followers who have been eagerly ready for his subsequent present.
Tanuj was additionally set to start taking pictures for 2 new internet sequence – seventh Sense and Line of Fire – in the UAE however has no replace on when that can occur. “It depends on getting permissions from the government. A lot of us need to get from here to there, close to 90 people, including the cast and crew. While we are awaiting permissions, the pre-production is on. It should happen soon. I would honestly feel a lot better and safer shooting there than in India right now,” he says.
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