When Harman Baweja had made his acting debut in Love Story 2050 way back in 2008, despite being hailed for his killer dance moves and a resemblance to Hrithik Roshan, the film bombed at the box office. A string of forgettable films later, he vanished from the public eye for a few years. While all this was going on, the media was especially extremely critical about him. Everything was criticised from his weight, to his acting and fashion sense to his choice of projects and even his love life wasn’t spared. Now, Harman has made his acting comeback with Hansal Mehta’s web series Scoop. He plays the no nonsense JCP Harshvardhan Shroff in it. The Free Press Journal caught up with him for an exclusive tête-à-tête. Excerpts:
What took you so long to come back with a show like Scoop?
I guess so, the combination of director Hansal Mehta coming on board with the top most OTT platform globally and an exciting character, it all just adds up together. I am glad that it all worked out very well. I thank Hansal for seeing a picture of mine.
You have never played a cop before. What were your challenges?
I had a different approach towards my character. Firstly, being a cop is a profession my character was into. Secondly, it was important to understand what the character is all about, what are his challenges, his power dynamics with other characters in the show, whether it’s with his senior or his son. I got excited to bring those layers to my character up to whatever extent I can.
Harman Baweja in a still from Scoop |
Also, I did a show named Bhaukaal, so I interacted with cops in the last two to three years. I kind of got the hang of it, although it was from a writing-producing perspective but meanwhile, I also kind of saw it from the acting perspective. I like the ease with which they govern themselves. I played with that ease and complexity of my character in Scoop.
Do you feel Scoop is a game changer in your career?
When I made that statement about the media being unfair to me, it had more to do with the excessiveness of it. I do understand that people are entitled to their opinions. Being a producer’s son, I know how difficult it is to get your project out but if I don’t like anything, I voice it out. But genuinely, I am really thankful to everyone who considered me for Scoop. Now, I am happy so I don’t want to change anything in the past.
Harman Baweja in a still from Scoop | Hitesh Mulani
Your career had seen highs and lows. How do you see the change with OTT stepping in?
I feel, in today’s time the width of the creating content is much wider. We are a rich country with stories and cultures, but the mainstream films are meant to cater to a much bigger spectrum and savour the theatres but with the influx of OTT, the consumer pattern is changed. As we speak, I am the beneficiary of the same (laughs).
Also, being a producer, are lesser footfalls in theatres a scary situation for you?
I don’t think so. Twenty years ago, it was a similar transition with the satellite boom. Eventually, theatres are an experience. We all have kitchens at home but we all love to go out to the restaurants. Like nothing can beat a large screen experience, same way nothing can beat an intimate experience over our phones and small screens.