In an exclusive conversation with International Business Times, Anshuman Jha has opened up about his role in the recently released erotica web series called Mastram, on shooting intimate scenes, his off-screen personality.
Tell us about your role in Mastram.
Well, I play the protagonist of Rajaram who writes under the pen name of Mastram. Its a, kind of, biopic on the cult writer from the 80's. Rajaram is a simple innocent Man. Mastram is a cult name of literature from that era. And my character is the conflict between these two identities. And of course his love story with Madhu (Tara Alisha Berry).
Were you comfortable with nudity and shooting intimate love making scenes.
Well, there is intimacy and sensuality in the show and as an actor I am trained to work on all kinds of scripts, as long as they challenge me. There is no frontal or back nuditity in the show, just to clarify. I did have my reservations with intimacy initially as I wanted it to be a smooth & respectful process. And the producers took care of my concerns by bringing an Internationally known Intimacy Director in Amanda Cutting from Canada who has previously worked on international shows like Magicians and Game Of Thrones.
Were there any inhibitions about how your role would be perceived by the audience before taking up a role in erotica web series.
No. I have been offered plenty of scripts which have been erotic in nature in the past and have not done them but this script and character was so layered yet entertaining that I had no reservations. Also, MastRam is part of the 80's pop culture. And millions have read his books. Infact, we have been the no.1 show since our release on IMDB and people are loving the love story of Rajaram. So there is a lot more to his life along with his books. I was confident of the Producer's Vision, the Director and Intimacy team on board.
How did your family and friends react after watching Mastram.
My family and friends are happy with the success the show is getting because this character is so far away from what I have done before and they know playing this was a challenge - 16year old to a 28year old. It's a very different charcater from any of my previous works (LSD, Bakrapur, Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain, etc) The love from the audiences has been over whelming as people are loving the show.
What's your take on nudity and uncensored content on web.
I haven't seen any content of that nature except Game Of thrones. My view is the same - in this digital world where anyone can access anything, it should be left to the viewer what he/she wishes to watch. Ofcourse there should be a clear demarcation like with Mastram where it is clearly publicised as 18+.
Are you content with whatever work you've done so far in your acting career.
I am very grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. All my work on stage over the last 17 years, all the ad campaigns. The film's - LSD, Bakrapur, Chauranga - three National Award Winning makers. Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain with Sanjai Mishra and Pankaj Tripathi. Some wonderful actresses - Nushrath in LSD to Zareen in my next Hum Bhi Akele, tum bhi.. I am content with the journey so far but I have a lot more to give and offer. So not done yet.
Tell us about your off screen personality.
I am a disciplined boy. Sleep on time, wake up on time. Don't drink or smoke or believe in parties - you will hardly see me outside. I love being at home and having game nights at home. I like to read and love to cook and exploring my cooking skills in this Quarintine. I like things simple.
Tell us about highs and lows in life. Do you regret any of your life decisions.
No. Because everything has given me a learning into becoming the person I am today. I don't get carried away by success nor do I take failure to heart so highs and lows are a part and parcel of living. And one should learn from them both!
Lastly, tell us about the pros and cons of being an actor. Were there any bad experiences while working with people in the industry.
I have been training to be an actor since I can remember and I continue to train hard and become better. Acting is my Dharma - what I am born to do and will continue to for as long as I live. It's a blessing to be an artist and to be living the dream since I was 15 when I did my first play at Prithvi. So I can't complain. If your intentions are honest and clean - and your riyaz is strong and constant - there are no cons to being an actor. If you want to be an actor just for the game and money - you are doing a disservice to yourself and the audience.