Manish Chaudhari says he ‘never thought about being successful’ for 20 years: ‘Now my house has become pretty big’

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Manish Chaudhuri, who won accolades for donning grey shades in Aarya and Bombay Begums, will next be seen playing a a Special Forces Operative in Shoorveer on Disney+ Hotstar.Actor Manish Chaudhari is glad about getting to play characters with varied temperament. “Characters come across as heroes and villains. I’ve had the pleasure of playing both. I’ve never looked at a character and said he is a bad guy or a good guy. I always try to understand what conflict he’s dealing with,” Manish told indianexpress.com.

Manish won accolades for donning grey shades in Aarya and Bombay Begums in recent times. He said the fact that he looks at every character with a common man’s lens makes him non-judgmental. “In Aarya, Shekhawat had lost Rs 300 crore, and that’s a lot of money. He had an everyman problem, of waking up with the problem and dealing with it, that of looking for his money. I look at him as a common man.”

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The actor, however, says his turn as a a Special Forces Operative in his latest project Shoorveer gave him the chance to see how our security guards and first responders handle a national crisis.

Manish met NSG officers for another project which failed to roll. But his real-life interaction came in handy while portraying a special force officer in the Indian Army for the web series which premiered on July 15 Disney+ Hotstar. “I knew something about that, at least from a little less than too much distance. I was very clear that I don’t want to let them down, since it was a fictional representation of a real-life commando.”Shoorveer revolves around an elite task force called Hawks, that undergoes specialised training to become the nation’s first responder team against national threats. It consists of the best officers from the three armed forces – Army, Navy and Air Force.

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But themes like patriotism and national security seldom invite a backlash for its unauthentic depiction or white-washing a government machinery. Manish opined, “Anything on national security borders on the impossible. Stakes are very high. And with OTT coming in, a work of art is reaching out to so many people. So, there will be different kinds of reactions to it. If people are jolted in thinking about it, react to it, our job as entertainers is done. I always feel that if people react negatively, then it has obviously hit them hard somewhere. So, a reaction is the most important thing for an artiste.”

Manish started off in theatre, eventually progressing to films and now, the digital space. He’s been part of movies like Batla House, Satyameva Jayate, Bombay Velvet, Raaz 3, Band Baaja Baaraat and Rocket Singh, apart from TV shows POW, Everest and Powder. Calling his journey, “an artistic endeavour,” he said, “I always looked at myself as an artiste who’s coming to a new city and is looking at a medium that is really exciting to him, from theatre to films.”

He added that for 20 years, things were smooth and working out well for him, but “suddenly, I realised I’ve spent 20 years in a one room-kitchen scenario and now my house has become pretty big. I’m not used to so much space (laughs).”

He believes things took time as he never thought about being successful in a commercial sense. “I just wanted to act. OTT platforms gave an actor opportunities to do their job sincerely and bring their audience to them. I’m a very real example of that. I was just fitting about and things just changed.”

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