Akshay Oberoi, rightfully called the 'permanent actor of OTT', is looking forward to the audience's reaction to his latest web show Flesh. Co-starring Swara Bhasker, Flesh is an eye-grabbing crime-thriller that will shed light on the rising numbers of human trafficking cases. Releasing on August 21, 2020 on Eros Now, the trailer has already set the ball rolling for this series. And the one who stole the limelight a little extra was Akshay Oberoi with his never-seen-before avatar.
In an exclusive chat with PeepingMoon, Akshay candidly talked about the fear of being typecast because of his typical 'Bandra boy looks', being called the 'Akshay Kumar of the web space' and not being roped in a few big-budget projects because of his relatively less stardom.
Excerpts from the interview:
Your look in Flesh surprised everyone!
That look is something we spent a lot of time designing. Danish Aslam (director) was very particular that he wanted to keep the look very different. Also, Danish is a very close friend of mine so we had a lot of discussions and trials. I actually got my ears pierced for it. We did a lot of look tests for it and I am so glad that finally, it's out. And there's a fine line like you don't want it to be over the top but you do want it to stand out so I am very happy with how it's turned out.
What was your reaction when you first heard the script?
When I first read the script, I wanted to do it so badly. In my career, I have always tried to be the best actor. I don't run after stardom and I have always wanted to do something really different. Be it a horror film like Pizza or Gurgaon or Kaalakaandi, I always want to do different projects. When I came to know that Danish is planning to direct this show, I wanted to really do it. It's one of those rare moments where an actor says, 'yaar kya kirdaar mila hai'. This character is terrible but I had so much fun playing it that I wish to play it again.
Flesh focuses on a very disturbing topic of human trafficking. Did playing such a part took a toll on you?
In every character, it does. When I was playing my role in Gurgaon, my wife would tell me that I would come home and behave differently. You are in your character for 12-13 hours every day and then you come home so it becomes a little difficult for me to break that zone. But now I have a kid, I am married so it should not affect my home life. So I am trying meditation and different things but it does take a toll on you. And I am a very positive person so I like to be happy and optimistic but such kind of things do shake you up.
What preparation did you do for the action scenes?
I have done a bit of action before in my life, I have just never been cast for it because action requires a bigger budget so my stardom has to rise more. So I have been doing action, I mean not like Vidyut Jammwal. So, I was really excited because I enjoy doing action. We used to practice a lot and we used to rehearse four times a day. We also practice on-set a night before and that's very rare.
How was shooting with Swara?
Swara and I have actually worked together before for a show called It's Not That Simple. We know each other quite well. In Flesh, we have lesser scenes together like face to face. But I love working with Swara and I want to do more work with her. I love her as a person. I always try to work with good actors because they make me work better like Pankaj Tripathi or Saif Ali Khan. I am always learning and taking something from them. I want to keep on learning new things.
How do you manage to leave an impact with each and every character of yours?
I know I have a specific look. Like people see me as a Bombay Bandra boy. I know that my look can be typecast easily and I have been aware of that from the start of my career and that's the last thing I would want. I always wanted to be known as a good actor. I tried everything in my power to do different things so that no one could say that I am doing the same thing. And I am not an entitled human being so I don't think like only I should get the biggest roles every time. Even if the role is of 5 minutes, I try to make it impactful.
2020 seems like your year. First Hum Tum and Them, then Illegal, now Flesh.
It's been great. Someone called me and told me that you are the Akshay Kumar of the web space and I started laughing and I was like 'sahi bol raha hai yaar'. In web, people who are talented they get cast and I would really like to thank the OTT platforms. The only silver lining for me of COVID is that OTT kind of jumped a few years ahead. People were expecting OTT will get this kind of acceptance 5-6 years later but thanks to this pandemic (laughs), it got faster. I am very blessed that I joined the OTT space years ago.