Arjun Mathur weigs in on OTT regulations, says 'it's every artiste's right to fight for art'
'Our work is to push the envelope, to entertain and engage an audience, to authentically reflect the reality of our time and society,' Arjun Mathur said of the new OTT regulations
Actor Arjun Mathur, best known for his roles in Ankur Arora Murder Case and series Made in Heaven, says he is aware of the new rules for OTT platforms but believes it's every artist's job to resist curtailment and fight for the art.
Following the controversy surrounding the Amazon Prime Video's Tandav, the streaming platforms seem to be treading cautiously. The government recently brought in a new set of guidelines for online news and OTT platforms, which were self-regulating earlier.
Asked whether the row over Tandav had led to a change in his approach towards selecting roles, Mathur said he did not believe in drawing a line as an actor.
"I am aware of all the curtailment and the new rules that we might have to abide by but it is the job of not only an actor but every artist to resist and to put their foot down and fight for art, to fight to be able to reflect our life, reality, and societies authentically. I think and hope that as artists, we continue to do that," he told PTI in an interview.
"As and when the curtailment happens we will deal with it then. I don’t think it will be right for anybody to become too scared and be like we are not going to shoot this or show this," he added.
Mathur, 39, said there are enough people and organisations above him to draw lines but as an artist, it's important to keep "putting out work that you think is important".
"Whether there is a backlash or people won’t like it or the lines will be drawn, our work is to push the envelope, to entertain and engage an audience, to authentically reflect the reality of our time and society. I don't think about the rest," he said.
Mathur has been around in the film industry since 2007, having acted in films like Luck By Chance, Bara Aana, My Name is Khan, among others but it's because of his work on OTT platform including Made in Heaven, The Gone Game that brought him the much-needed acclaim.
"OTT platforms have contributed a lot to where I am and I have always been thankful for them. I am not an actor who has chased box office success. I always wanted to do interesting work which is seen by a wide audience all over the world. As an actor, I like to serve audiences all over the world and not just the massy, single-screen audience," he said.
Entertainment as an industry, he said, attracts so much attention because it is one of the most powerful mediums and can help "change the society, affect people and the way they think".
"Every situation, every phase in life as humans only gives us more material, content, more things to write stories about. I am hoping there are writers writing content that is based around these very questions and I hope I get to be part of it," he said.
Most recently, the actor collaborated with his favourite star, Manoj Bajpayee on the ZEE5 project Silence... Can You Hear It? Bajpayee plays a cop while Mathur will be seen in the role of an MLA in the film that focuses on the mysterious disappearance of a woman.
The actor said he was 15 years old when he saw Satya and became Bajpayee's fan.
"He is my favourite actor. It was an opportunity for me to share some scenes with him. It was the biggest draw for me.
"It is very seldom that you see an actor of such immense talent and stature be so humble, down to earth, and unaffected. I have worked with very big actors and even though we have done the entire film, they don’t know your name. Manoj Bajpayee is the polar opposite of that."
He was also drawn to the film as it had a woman director at the helm in Aban Bharucha Deohans.
"I enjoy working with them (women directors) as they have a great understanding, sensitivity, and nuance. The character that I am playing in this film, is unlike what I have done before. He is a young MLA, it is a character that has several shades but it is not one-dimensional," he said.
Also featuring Prachi Desai, who is making her digital debut, Sahil Vaid, Vaquar, Barkha Singh, Shirish Sharma, Sohaila Kapoor, Amit Thakkar and Garima Yagnik, the film will premiere on March 26 on streaming platform ZEE5.
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