Abijeet, the Life is Beautiful find, justifies why he’s being picky, discusses his travails with the OTT space ahead of Miss Perfect’s digital premiere in a conversation with Srivathsan Nadadhur
Abijeet, who stars in Disney+ Hotstar’s Miss Perfect, is no longer the lanky youngster bursting with nervous enthusiasm in Life is Beautiful. Yet, he believes he has the spirit of a newcomer and says ‘learning is a continual process’, as cliched as it may sound. Having been in the industry for over a decade, he has only acted in a handful of projects and makes no bones about being picky.
“Mediocrity is commonplace in this industry. It’s easy to be a part of something banal. I’m quite conscious of what I can do and can’t. I only take up a character if I can imagine myself in it. It’s easy to be the butt of all ridicule when a part doesn’t go your way and I’m wary. You need to have conviction in what you take up and can’t get away with a half-decent product,” the actor remarks.
Life is Beautiful was a learning ground for the actor without any prior experience in films and it took time for him to understand how the industry won’t be as kind as a Sekhar Kammula set. “Even before my debut, I was approached by multiple filmmakers, whom I had no clue about and I didn’t take the plunge until I was selected for Life is Beautiful. It explains better that I’ve been choosy all along.”
The Pelli Gola actor was not particularly happy about the films he signed after Life is Beautiful and opines that carving one’s niche as an actor is a gradual process. “As a team, your ideas sometimes don’t align with that of the writers’. We discuss, come up with changes and it takes months for a script to be revised. The destiny of a project is decided by a divine blessing. You can’t control it.”
In Miss Perfect’s director Vishvak Khanderao, Abijeet found a kindred spirit. “When I watched Skylab a couple of years ago, I felt this is the kind of sensibility I relate to. Miss Perfect is more in the slice-of-life space and has a sit-com flavour. The writing was refreshing and it made my job easier. We shot the show in scorching heat last May.”
He was enthusiastic about the collaboration with Lavanya Tripathi, the actor has always looked up to her. “Though I and she started our careers at the same time, I consider her my senior, purely by the wealth of her experience. When I informed my dad about being paired with her, he was also excited and joked that I had no reason to say no to this.”
The actor plays a laidback man with no sense of hygiene and tidiness, while Lavanya’s character is obsessed with cleanliness. “My character represents an average youngster of our times. He’s like many of us whom we come across in our circles – stuck with jobs that make no sense to them and want to break free from the safety net to follow their passion.”
Working with a budding actor like Abhignya Vuthaluru reminded him of his early days in the industry. “It’s fabulous how the digital age has unearthed talents from unknown corners. I am glad that actors like her have a wide variety of avenues to showcase their mettle, which wasn’t case the during Life is Beautiful. You needn’t be restricted to films in case you want to be an actor.”
Even in the OTT space, he believes his web show Pelli Gola was ahead of the curve. “The show would’ve found a greater resonance if it was out today. Had the streamer behind Pelli Gola (Viu) trusted the Indian market more, it would’ve probably got its due.” In the case of Modern Love Hyderabad, Abijeet was also aware that they were getting into a niche territory for Telugu viewers.
“One can guess that these ideas may not be palatable for the average viewer. Yet, you say yes to shows like Pelli Gola and Modern Love Hyderabad because of the people you associate with, the creative process on set more than the feedback. There was great joy teaming up with the likes of Uday Gurrala, Mallik Ram and Siva Sai Vardhan.”
Being in the digital space has given storytellers a license to discuss topics that may be deemed taboo for mainstream cinema, he believes. “Perhaps, you can speak freely and express yourself without barriers. I don’t mean it the other way round (laughs). You need to exercise the liberty responsibly.”
On the work front, he’s occupied with two projects. “I prefer to keep mum about my upcoming projects, just like how many had no clue about my presence in Miss Perfect till a while ago. Beyond work, my life is an open book. Perhaps the fact that I’m seen in fewer projects makes people feel that I’m a private person,” he grins.