Abhishek Banerjee on exploring his romantic side in Ankahi Kahaniya: ‘I knew it’s going to be very difficult’

screenmixSeptember 12, 2021

Actor Abhishek Banerjee says he got an opportunity to explore the romantic side of his personality in the upcoming Netflix anthology Ankahi Kahaniya, in which he plays a salesman named Pradeep who finds a companion in a mannequin.

Ankahi Kahaniya, directed by filmmakers Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Abhishek Chaubey, and Saket Chaudhary, traces three different unheard and untold tales of love.

The 36-year-old actor, best known for his performances in the horror comedy feature Stree and Amazon Prime Video web series Paatal Lok, said he was thrilled when the offer to play the lead in a film that revolves around the theme of love came his way.

“I wanted to tap that side of romance. I also knew that, it’s going to be very difficult because probably from whatever training I’ve got and whatever kind of work I have done in my theatre days and later the kind of movies I was doing, I was nowhere close to playing a romantic hero,” the actor told PTI in a zoom interview.

Banerjee, who features in Iyer Tiwari’s segment, said the anthology is his attempt to avoid being pigeonholed by producers.

“I knew this is quite something out of the comfort zone. (I thought) this is going to be very interesting because probably now, people are trying to set me in a particular image or trying to set me in a stereotype, even though I’ve done varied roles.

“So this gave me the opportunity to probably break that. That was what my aim,” the actor, well loved for his comic timing in films like Stree, Bala, and Dream Girl, said.

Banerjee said what also excited him about the film was the exploration of the idea of romance in a new way.

“I knew this is the opportunity where you can actually try and feel a different kind of romance. And it might be something, which is not borrowed from the films which we see.

“Whatever we are in our real life, we have an influence of a particular romantic structure in our mind, which is given to us by the society or whatever we see. But to not be that and be brutally honest with your romance is what I wanted to attain as that is what the film is all about.”

The actor, who is also a casting director, said he trusted the vision of director Iyer Tiwary who asked him not to treat the mannequin like an object.

“No training can actually prepare you for something like this, where you’re not going to get any reaction or feelings. But in this case, what she told me is don’t touch her like an object because it is easy to pick her up just like an object.

“But rather pick, touch and feel her like a woman, like, how probably you do with your lover and how respectfully you do it. Her not being human, gave me more freedom and transparency in my emotions towards her because I knew there’s not going to be any judgment,” he added.

Growing up, the Kharagpur-born actor said he felt a connection with films like Shekhar Kapur’s film Masoom and Gulzar’s Ijaazat that went beyond the cliched idea of love.

“For me, even Masoom becomes a love story. So the idea of love for me always holds more importance than a boy-girl romance. I used to connect with all such movies.”

Ankahi Kahaniya, produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Ashi Dua Sara, will release on September 17.