'Fashion' actor Arjan Bajwa makes web debut

'Fashion' actor Arjan Bajwa makes web debut

He is currently seen in the web series titled 'State of Seige 26/11', based on the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks

Arjan Bajwa

Before he charmed the audience with his screen presence in the 2008 film ‘Fashion’, actor Arjan Bajwa was a successful model who walked the ramp for some of the biggest names in the fashion industry. He became a well-known face through television commercials with actors such as Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Preity Zinta, before Mani Ratnam’s ‘Guru’ changed his life. Arjan played the antagonist in the film. 

He is also a popular figure in the Telugu film industry. He starred in ‘King’ alongside Nagarjuna Akkineni and Trisha, and is continuing his stint in the industry. 

After a successful tenure in films, Arjan is now exploring the OTT platform and recently made his debut with Zee 5’s original series, ‘State of Seige 26/11’. In an interview with Metrolife, the actor talks about his role in the web series, the challenges involved and more.

'Fashion' created quite a fan base for you. Why don’t we see you in Bollywood movies more often?

'Fashion' was my big break for sure. It gave me the opportunity to work with Priyanka Chopra and National Award-winning director Madhur Bhandarkar. After that, I was part of three blockbuster films - ‘Son of Sardar’, ‘Rustam’ and ‘Kabir Singh’. My first Tamil film, ‘Bigil’ with Vijay sir and Nayantara, was also a big hit. But nevertheless, my fans, audience and supporters do tell me that they should see me more often. I think this question should be asked to all the film-makers who don’t cast me (laughs). I feel lucky that the audience wants to see me and that’s what I live for. You don’t want to just make movies for yourself; people should see and appreciate the work. 

You have a strong foothold in Telugu movies. How different is it from Bollywood?

Though it isn’t my mother tongue, the industry has embraced me with open arms. I have done 11 films so far and I feel happy and at home when I am in Hyderabad, working in a Telugu film. Having said that, it is not too different from Bollywood. Film-making as a whole is a universal language; the way you make films is the same everywhere and I am lucky to have been part of two big industries.

What is it about ‘Seige 26/11’ that made you pick the script?

Everything about it! To play the role of Col Sunil Sharon was exciting for me. He is a heroic figure who was the commanding officer of the NSG unit that led the entire operation of ‘Black Tornado’ during the siege of 26/11. He is now a Brigadier in the Indian Army. It was also exciting to work with Hollywood director Matthew Leutwyler, who is the director of our series and brought in a fresh perspective, and our director of photography, Richard Henkels, who made it look quite ‘international’. 

What were the challenges you faced?

To get into the shoes of Col Sunil Sharon, whom we have named Col Kunal Sahuta in the series, was not only difficult but is also a huge responsibility. To grasp his mannerisms and body language and to portray how brilliantly he carried out the entire operation was an experience in itself. These are brave heroes and super humans; but they are not fictional characters. I hope I have lived up to his reputation and honour.

Any experiences you would like to share?

I had many experiences during the shoot and not all of them were pleasant. For example, I was injured during the shooting of the climax scene. It is a 12-minute action sequence where I lead the commandos into the kitchen of Hotel Taj. During the shooting, two squibs, more like an electric charger, blasted right next to my ear. Even though you see that I react by turning away, in reality, I couldn’t hear for more than half a day. I had a whistle blowing in my ear. 

Was it easier to handle OTT since you have acted in movies?

I don’t think there was anything different; it is just a matter of how the exhibition is done. The making, for an actor or a technician, is still the same. I’m glad that I have started my OTT journey with such an amazing show and I hope the run continues.

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