Post the release of his latest web outing ‘Scoop’, actor Tanmay Dhanania is grinning from ear to ear. Playing Pushkar Mohan, the resentful and envious colleague and political reporter to Karishma Tanna’s Jagruti Pathak on the show, the actor has delivered one of the most notable performances amongst a gigantic ensemble of actors. Speaking exclusively to The Free Press Journal, Tanmay talks about the love and acclaim he has received and how he is processing it.
“I don't think I'm getting a lot of love for Pushkar,” he jokes. “I was aware of what I was getting into. When Hansal (Mehta) approached me with the character, he said, listen, you are doing a service to the overall story in a certain way. There was some redemption to be had with it as well.”
Given that the show bears several references to existing publications and real people, Tanmay clarifies if Pushkar is based on a real person. “It’s an archetype. Hansal said, ‘Listen, I need you to do this particular thing. It's not based on anybody. You are just in some ways pissed at the mill. You are going to be somebody who people will not like, but it's going to take the story forward and set up the dynamics of the space.”
His 2016 film ‘Brahman Naman’ was one of India’s first original films to be showcased on a global OTT platform. As someone who has been associated with film and theatre for two decades, how does he view the critical and audience reception coming his way?
“When you have a show on Netflix or when you do an ad, these are the times when the extended family are texting your parents and your sisters. So, that's what's happening right now because all the independent films I’ve done are not family suitable mostly. Also, they aren't seen by a lot of people because they go the festival route and there's no wide-stream showing of them. So, this is one of those projects where my phone is going to keep ringing because I've got a huge extended family, all over India and the world. It's nice to get that validation from the family as well.”
In a still from 'Scoop'
Has the show helped him in understanding how journalists function in the general narrative? “Absolutely. I’ve had friends who are journalists and I’ve seen their lives from close proximity. It’s a stressful job and you face pressure from all sides. They helped me in bringing all the familiar traits to Pushkar’s character,” he shares.
Adding further he says, “When I was in London, I used to live with my flatmate, who worked for The Independent. She’d sleep for four or five hours and would barely eat. I had to have an intervention with her and make her understand. She became a weekly correspondent and was able to function and report better than chase page one and bylines. This page one culture is something I learnt about while doing Scoop. Seeing co-actors Tannishtha (Chatterjee) who plays Leena and Inayat (Sood) who plays Deepa chase these headlines made me realise how actors are a lot like journalists. You have to keep working on yourselves every day. I have great empathy for journalists,” he signs off.