Monday, April 15, 2024

‘True stories always bring emotions; It’s time we’re reminded of true emotions’

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Back with another project that proves his versatility, actor Varun Mitra is already making waves with Amazon Mini TV’s Rakshak: India’s Braves. In an exclusive chat with The Pioneer, he discusses preparing for the character, meeting Lt. Triveni Singh’s family, and more.

Tejal Sinha

Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it; it flies with the last breath of each soldier who martyred protecting it. As we have commemorated the 77th Independence Day, this year has been a little more special. Well, when we say ‘special’, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that this year has been special for Varun Mitra.

If you wondered why? Well, he’d always wanted to play the character of an Army officer, and here he is winning hearts playing Lieutenant Triveni Singh in Amazon Mini TV’s latest Rakshak: India’s Braves. Filled with intensity, emotions, love, and action, Rakshak chronicles the story of Lieutenant Triveni Singh, who killed two heavily armed militants at the Jammu railway station and saved the lives of 300 civilians before succumbing to his injuries and sacrificing his life in the process.

Being the adept actor that he is, Varun has gone on to portray different characters, making a mark and creating his own brand in the industry. Today, he is ranked among the actors who have been redefining heroism in Indian storytelling. And the Jalebi actor feels no less than lucky to be able to portray different characters.

“I am one of those people who believes that all the characters are already there inside us. It’s just how we choose to think, perceive, and use the body that sort of defines somebody differently. I feel lucky on one level, and on the other hand, I also think people see in me that I’m able to sort of bring a certain change to the body, voice, and approach, which is making them give me different kinds of roles as well,” says the Rakshak actor, who believes in putting in efforts that go into portraying a wholesome human being and creating someone who is not looking at life as one kind of filter, and that’s what is needed in working today.

Coming back to his portrayal of Lt. Triveni Singh, Varun has been lauded by the audience and critics. With this, even you all would agree with us that he has now continued to prove his acting prowess with realistic portrayals. He shares, “I’ve played the character of an Army officer for the first time, and I’m happy people are seeing me in an Army uniform. I was excited because, to be very honest, I’ve been wanting to play an Army character for a very long time, so I was excited about it. People are enjoying seeing me as an action hero, for lack of a better word. I was in fact most excited and looking forward to Lt. Triveni Singh’s family actually seeing the trailer and the film, and because one feels like it’s a certain responsibility to portray it in the right light.”

Getting into the skin of the character cannot be a cakewalk. An actor goes through a lot of transformations, not only physically but also emotionally. And in this case, he reveals that he is not going through any major transformation. He explains, “Triveni sir’s body type was quite similar to that of mine. He was also lean, so it was not like he was muscular and I had to put on muscles for it. However, emotionally, I had to understand the mindset that they are entering into in a situation like that and the discipline that it takes to sort of be almost cut off from the world. I just wanted to understand what happens when you enter a train station, where you are surrounded by terrorists and there’s gunfire and bombs exploding, and it’s one thing to train for it and a wholehearted thing to actually experience all of it.”

And so, he asked one of the Army personnel: “When he was in that final moment of his where he was sort of running towards the final terrorists and stopping them, what would he be thinking?” And the response that the colonel gave was really interesting. “At that moment, he is not going to think about his family, country, or patriotism; he said he’s only going to be thinking about and looking at the 300 people who were stuck in that room whose lives were at stake, and that sort of gives him energy to do what he did. The empathy level of someone like this is obviously very high, where he is going to put down his life for someone and for people that he doesn’t even know. It was important to understand this mindset of what would have actually gone down his mind,” he shares, going further revealing that the most challenging part for him to play the character was to play his simplicity.

He adds, “With Triveni ji, it was largely the fact that he was not so complex, like us. He was more simple, and he sort of experienced everything very simplistically, and his feelings towards things were also very defined and clear, which I think sort of gave him that stillness in his personal and professional life where he was able to keep his calm even in the chaos.”

As we went ahead with the interview, he even recalled how he sat down with his family and his sister told him how she could see that Varun was a little bit of a shy and hesitant person, and he recalled her words saying, “You think it was the producers or directors? It’s not true because it was he (Lt. Triveni Singh) who chose you and the team to work on the project. Even if you’d been sitting in Timbuktu, he would have found you to play the role.’ This really gave me goosebumps, and I’m never going to forget that moment.”

He went on to share some anecdotes during the shoot, and he shares, “It was actually his last moment, which is after getting shot and after killing the final terrorists before he sort of collapses, he meets his CO, his boss, so to speak, and he says to him, ‘Mission Accomplished, sir’. That entire situation hit me the next day, when I was sitting on a plane to go back home. When I was playing it out, I was so physically tired by the end of it because we had been shooting the action for the last three days. He was so dedicated, professional, and passionate about what he was doing, and even the last words that came out of his mouth were ‘Mission Accomplished, Sir’. There was not a moment of weakness in him, even though he was shot.”

So, with Rakshak, does he believe it’s going to bring a big break for him? Well, that’s what he hopes for, and this has been something that he has really enjoyed working on. And so, “I wouldn’t mind doing action roles. One is always greedy and hungry for more.”

Stories like these not only teach us about the unsung heroes but also that “A true story always brings emotions, and I feel like we are living in a time where we desperately need to be reminded what true emotions are. Whenever a true story comes out, people will read about what actually happened, and there is a connection and a wholesome feeling that comes with a true story.”

On the work front, he’s soon going to be seen playing a musician in Kangana Ranaut’s Tejas, and he’s super excited about it since, after Jalebi, it’s now that he’s being associated with Arijit Singh.

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