Actor Tanuj Virwani is best known for the role of Vayu Raghavan in the Amazon original series Inside Edge, is now making waves for his stint in the web show The Tattoo Murders on Disney+ Hotstar.
The 34-year-old speaks about his evolution as an artist, courtesy of the OTT space, nepotism in showbiz, and more.
After making his debut in 2013 and appearing in only a handful of films, Tanuj, who remained missing in action since 2016, says that staying away from the silver screen wasn’t predetermined.
He says, “It was not a conscious choice of not to do any films since then. Unfortunately, in my case, the first three films that I did, tanked at the box office and I stand by them because no one's ever put me at gunpoint and said do this or do that. They were my choices alone and I take full responsibility for them not performing well.”
“When One Night Stand was released, I was offered Inside Edge - a project that really changed my life and the trajectory of my career. The OTT space blew up in a big way and I was also being offered some very interesting roles, so I decided to jump onto the bandwagon and make the most of it. The space is in such an interesting place to be for us actors given the characters, scripts and stories told, it's no longer just about a hero, heroine, villain. It has been a saviour and a boost for not just my career but many young up-and-coming actors. Having said that, don't rule out the possibility of me being back on the big screen, that is the endgame,” he adds.
Speaking about how OTT is constantly judged and assumed for a platform that propagates violence or nudity, Tanuj asserts that there needs to be a balance of elements in showing only what is necessary on creative terms.
He says, “It is a very liberating space, there's a lot more creative freedom even though there are certain limitations that the government is putting in place of late. But with great power comes great responsibility and it is up to each and every one of us to not show unnecessary nudity, violence, profanity. You want to make clean entertainment that people can watch with their entire family. However, there are certain shows that cannot be shown in a sanitized manner. But that being said, self-censorship is the order of the day.”
Asked which was the last web series he binge-watched; Virwani says that the standout one for him would be Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story.
“Right from Pratik Gandhi to the entire star cast has just been operating on another level altogether,” says Tanuj, adding “I was absolutely hooked onto that show, my jaw was literally on the floor.”
He further says, “It has truly taken the web series space to the next level. More power to such content being created in our country.”
For those unversed, Tanuj is the son of veteran actress Rati Agnihotri. Amid the ongoing debate around nepotism in showbiz, he maintains that there is a certain limit to where your lineage can take you.
“Your family can only take you that far, they can show you the right door to access within the industry but it is you who needs to know how to open it and how to take their legacy forward, or rather come out of their shadow and become your own person,” he says.
“My mom watches all my content, she is very receptive and she tells me what she likes and doesn’t, she's very blunt about it and I love the fact that I can consider her as a co-actor, a mother, a friend. She always tells me I don't want you to be known as Rati Agnihotri's son but I want to be known as Tanuj Virwani's mother. To even say this brings a lump to my throat. It is difficult in a way because there's a lot more pressure, expectations but I try to focus firmly on my process instead of focusing on the results,” adds Tanuj.