Free Press Journal

Sunny Leone is not at all a ‘diva’, says Tanuj Virwani


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Tanuj Virwani tells Satish Sundaresan as he opens up about ‘hat-trick of flop films’, directing a finite series, Bollywood and more…

Tanuj Virwani is young, handsome and definitely raring to go. He makes no bones about calling a spade a spade. In a time and age when many ‘stars’ reach out to the mountain tops to brag about their films, here is a man who makes no bones about the fact that his films did not do well at the box-office. Even though he delivered ‘hat-trick’ of flop films after his debut, this man (who received acclaim for his portrayal of a cricketer in the web series Inside Edge) today is full of confidence and is surely here to stay. Over to Tanuj…

» Your Bollywood career started with films like Luv U Soniyo, Purani Jeans and One Night Stand. There has been no news about you on the film front. What happened?

I did a hat trick of films, but I got out on zero on all three occasions. So, I decided that it was time for me to reassess my career. It was around that time that stuff like web series started making its foray in the Indian market. I was offered Inside Edge which did very well. That’s when I realised that I have a different kind of shelf life in the digital space, which was something that I really enjoyed doing.

» Is it true that you sat at home for eight months after your second film Purani Jeans didn’t do well?

Yes. I was in ‘box office prison’ during that time. I think when you are a leading man in a film and you have back-to-back failures, it really becomes very difficult. The kind of offers which came my way was not really what I wanted to do and the kind of stuff that I wanted to do was not being really offered to me.

» You are the son of Rati Agnihotri, one of Bollywood’s most celebrated actresses. Was it easy to for you to live upto everyone’s expectations in the film industry?

Honestly speaking, a lot of people do not even make that connection, because both of us have different surnames. When in films, she goes with the surname of Agnihotri; while I have my father’s surname, that is, Virwani.

» You have worked with Sunny Leone in One Night Stand. How was it to work with a diva like her?

Let me clarify, she is not at all a ‘diva’.  She is an absolute sweetheart! Contrary to everybody’s preconceived notions, she is one of the extremely down to earth persons. It was a pleasure to work with her. And I hope to work with her in the future soon.

» Is it true that you used to call her Funny Leone, because of her sense of humour?

(Laughs) That’s true. She has an amazing sense of humour. She will say something really funny with a poker face. And her jokes are something that not many people will understand.

» One Night Stand did have its share of steamy scenes. Were you apprehensive about them?

I knew that when I am doing a film titled One Night Stand, it will definitely have its share of steamy scenes. I am absolutely fine with such stuff provided if it’s the pre-requisite of the script.

» You had mentioned about having one-night stands while in college. Is it true or was it for the film’s publicity?

It’s very much true, even though many people may tend to think that I had said for the sake of the film by that title. There’s nothing to shy away from. I had said that statement in a light-hearted manner, but it was blown out of proportion.

» Did the response to Inside Edge put you in a happy space?

The response to the show and especially my character was something that no one was expecting. It was simply phenomenal. I want to be known as a good actor, irrespective of the medium.

» These are the days of social media and you are slightly inactive on that platform. Is it a conscious decision or you don’t like it?

While I am more active on Instagram, you will not find me that active on Twitter. While Instagram is all about pictures, when you are on Twitter, you are expected to have a point of view, for which you may even be trolled. I am a bit of a private person that way.

» You have conceived and directed a finite series called Naash. Do we get to see you directing a film?

I would love to have a parallel career. That’s why I always look upto Farhan Akhtar, who is pretty amazing in whatever he does.

» Not many know that you are an ardent fan of action figures and that you have been collecting them for over 11 years now?

It’s almost like a disease man (smiles). It is something about which I have been truly passionate about. If you come to my home, you will find that I don’t even have my own room as I have converted that into a mini museum!

» You are also a captain of Box Cricket League team Kota Royals Rajasthan. Considering that you have so much on your plate right now, when do you get the time to practice?

I have always been an avid cricket buff. I love watching and playing cricket to the core. That’s why, when Inside Edge happened, I was over the moon because I was getting paid to play a cricketer!