Tanuj Virwani is a one-star kid who is writing his own book in the entertainment industry and that too on his terms. His role as Vayu Raghavan in Emmy nominated television series “Inside Edge” gave him acclaim and fame. Hailing from a filmy background, the actor says that though it helped in preparing for the industry, the real challenge starts when you actually “dive in”.
When asked if being a son of veteran actress Rati Agnihotri helped him in any way in shaping his career, Tanuj told Opoyi, “To be honest, my mother took a very long sabbatical when she got married and it wasn’t until I was 16, when she made her comeback with her second foray in the film industry. So, I never really saw her at the peak of her stardom. I always saw her as a mother, a homemaker, a parent.”
“I have had a very normal, middle-class upbringing and not the typical filmy upbringing. Having said that, seeing all her films, seeing the way she conducts herself, having innumerable conversations with her, it has prepared me to an extent, for what to expect within the industry. But nothing can prepare you for the industry until you dive in,” he added.
The actor also says that the industry “looks very glamorous from the outside, but there is a lot of blood, sweat, tears and hard work that goes on behind the scenes and only once you are on the inside, you realise it's anything but a typical 9-5 job.”
And what about his recent interview where he stated that some things in the industry don’t work on merits?
“I don’t think I have ever said that the Industry doesn’t work on merits. My statement was - that there is a certain click that exists within our industry; some may call it nepotism while others call it having different camps. What I am trying to say is, that it’s not necessary that the best person for the job ends up getting the job,” said Tanuj.
“It does happen, sometimes though, there are a lot of people who succeeded on their own merit and are doing really well for themselves. I however feel that these old systems need to come crashing down, soon,” added the actor.
Tanuj, who started his Bollywood career with the 2013 released film ‘Luv U Soniyo’, later went on doing movies like ‘Purani Jeans’ and ‘One Night Stand’. His digital stint also included ‘Poison’ and ‘Code M’.
He is currently seen in Gemplex original series ‘Lips Don’t Lie’ also starring Ahana Kumra and directed by Madhur Agarwal.
“ It’s a four-part anthology released on Gemplex. Karan, my character, is this young man who brings a Mannequin home one day and starts treating it as his wife and locks her up too, just like you would lock your dog. The audience can only see this near the pre-climax, as that’s the suspense of the story,” he said.
Talking about how much the audience has matured in accepting bold films over the years especially after the resurgence of OTT platforms, he said, “I am not a fan of classifying content as bold.”
“I believe it all boils down to what the script demands,” said the actor.
“Having said that, OTT platforms, due to the whole self-censorship thing, get a lot of power, but with power comes responsibility! Hence, I hope that people don’t abuse this privilege. It's only a matter of time, if things slide off hands, soon OTT platforms would be censored similar to how the movies are. Sometimes we see a Hollywood film and it's so heavily edited in India, it is almost laughable. I just hope we don’t dig that grave for ourselves,” added Virmani.
With such clear views on the entertainment industry, what does he have to say on one of the recent episodes that happened in Bollywood. Did it reshape the industry?
To which, he answered that “It's too early to say if this change is going to be permanent or not because there are so many talks going on right now.”
“ Everyone is in love with the sounds of their own voice. Maybe 6-8 months from now, when the dust settles, the case is resolved, and only then will we understand what actually transpired things. It is then, when we can look back and retrospect and analyse whether there has been a seismic permanent change within the fraternity or this was just a passing dark cloud,” he said.
He also expresses his uncertainty if things have got better or worse.
“…but I hope and pray as a well wisher of the industry that things will get better, people who deserve the opportunities will get it, there will be more transparency amongst people, and I hope this brings us all closer together as an industry,” elucidates the actor.
But as a newcomer, are there any specific aspects that one needs to consider?
“There are certain qualities one must possess even off-screen, as it is important to network, be a people’s person, establish the right contacts. No, I am not saying one needs to lap up or kiss ass in the industry but one needs to know the right people from within the fraternity who can help provide you with the best opportunities available.
“You also need to analyse what are your strengths and weaknesses rather than following the crowd and learning to dance, horse ride, or build 6 packs. Those all also may be important, but personally, I’m not a big fan of all that,” he said.