Actor Chandan K Anand has over twelve years of experience in theatre. He has also worked in television shows like The Adventures of Hatim, Anurag Basu’s Stories by Rabindranath Tagore and also been part of various films. He now awaits the release of his latest feature film Parched directed by Leena Yadav. Parched has been earning accolades all over film festivals in India and abroad. We caught up with Chandan to know more about the film and his acting journey so far.

Chandan Anand (Photo Credit - Subodh Sathe Photography)

Chandan Anand (Photo Credit – Subodh Sathe Photography)

To begin with, tell us a little about your background. When did you realize that acting was your calling?

I believe that acting starts the day you are born and it was the same for me as well. I turned my passion into my profession after completing my graduation from Delhi university. Drawn to theater, I started working with two of the most prolific theater companies in New Delhi – ‘Asmita’ and ‘Act One’. The two directors that I had a chance to work with – Arvind Gaur and N.K. Sharma honed my skills as I essayed prominent roles in well known Hindi plays like ‘Court Martial’, ‘Tara’, ‘Final Solutions’, ‘Romeo Juliet’ and ‘Warren Hastings ka Saand’.

Have you formally trained in the field?

As a student of theatre, my exploration of the craft of acting started when I met my real guru and mentor N.K Sharma. He trains you not just for a play, his training is for life and for cinema. I am blessed to have a guru like him. There are many big names like Imtiaz Ali, Piyush Mishra, Anurag Kashyap, Manoj Bajpayee, Shoojit Sircar, Gajraj Rao, Ashish Vidhyarthi, Anurag Basu, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Huma Quereshi among others who have either worked with him or have been inspired by him. So though I don’t have a degree in acting, I would like to say that I am more than formally trained.


With your strong background as a theatre actor, when and how did your foray into films happen? Do you still pursue theatre?

Kaafila was my debut film. It was followed by roles in films like Aloo Chaat, Budget Trip, Le Le Meri Jaan etc. but my forthcoming film Parched can actually be called my real debut and best work in films so far. It is a dream come true to work with Leena Yadav, Aseem Bajaj and Ajay Devgn as producers and an international crew with two Oscar winning cinematographers and Kevin Kent, the editor of Nebraska.

Yes, I keep doing theater on and off. In 2010, I did an English production called ‘Bernard Shaw’s Pillars of Community’ directed by Neeraj Kabi and also did Mahesh Dattani’s ‘Final Solutions’ directed by Siddhartha Mishra last year. The best thing about doing theater is that it fills your heart with instant responses from your audience and that’s the best part of doing live performances. You feel like a rockstar on stage. Those who haven’t tasted the joy of performing or even watching it should go and watch good theatre.

How would you describe your journey so far?

If you look at my previous work – I have thoroughly enjoyed doing all the roles. It is my job to make a particular role challenging for myself. I have played a negative character (Omi Bhaiyya in Yeh Pyar Naa Hoga Kam on Colors) but people loved me in that role as well. I did The Adventures of Hatim, which was a fantastic experience because I have always enjoyed watching such films and characters like Loki from Thor. The other role that I really enjoyed doing was in Shasti (Punishment), a part of Anurag Basu’s adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s short stories.

Along with films and several television shows I have acted in more than 200 commercial ad films for the likes of Pepsi, Coke, Mountain Dew, Electrolux, MRF etc. So far the journey has been beautiful and I have been growing as an actor.


Chandan Anand (Photo Credit - Subodh Sathe Photography)

Chandan Anand (Photo Credit – Subodh Sathe Photography)

Your film Parched is earning critical acclaim across the festival circuits. Tell us more about the film and your character in it?

Directed by Leena A. Yadav, Parched is my breakthrough film in international cinema. I feel that the film came to me as a blessing. I love to give my all to a project, therefore I look to work with teams who are very passionate and enthusiastic about their projects. This was one such rare team. Everybody on the team was putting in their 100% in the combined creative achievement. A team is only as good as its leader therefore full credit goes to the director, Leena (Yadav) ma’am and the producers Aseem Bajaj Sir and Ajay Devgn.

I thoroughly enjoyed playing Raju because there are shades of grey in him. He is a complex character. He is a pimp but has not lost the human qualities of compassion and love. So, when he falls in love with Bijli, who is a prostitute, he accepts her as she is but he can’t fathom that it was not the woman’s choice to be there in the first place.  The conflict emerges because Bijli has her own aspirations. She wants to be out of this demeaning profession while Raju has to keep her there.


How was the experience of working with Director Leena Yadav? What is the feedback that you’ve been getting for your role?

I would wish to work with her again and again. Leena ma’am is a beautiful soul. It’s always a treat to work with directors who respect you for being an artist and they know that tenderness and love is what will help bring out the best out of an artist. It is a dream project and my wishes to the entire team for great success.

For me, Parched is like a milestone in my career. Working with an amazing mix of creative talent, I felt challenged to give my best in a very supportive environment. What else does an actor need? In fact, an actor like me lives for the days like the ones that I spent on the sets of Parched because there was wonderful synchronization in every individual’s effort towards the project. When there is that kind of sync, you get into a creative zone and the effort is not felt at all. Everything becomes poetic, musical and that is how I felt while working on Parched.

You are currently also part of a TV show on Zindagi channel. How different is the approach and working of TV and Films? And how do you balance the two mediums?

I am really happy to be working in Bhaage Re Mann for Zindagi channel. The show is unique in its content and treatment. It is a finite series, so a character’s graph moves along with the story’s graph because it’s a journey of an individual in a story. That’s the basic difference in the format of films and serials. In a film we show the growth within two hours but in TV serials we don’t know when the growth will happen as it also depends on the TRPs. As an actor I love performing, it doesn’t matter whether it’s TV, films or an ad film.

And talking about TV, the format of content is changing and the last shows that I worked in were finite series. Dharamkshetra for Epic was a 26-episode series, Adventures of Hatim was 100 episodes and now Bhaage Re Mann is 150 episodes. With all these shows the makers have tried to bring a difference in TV. The treatment of Bhaage… is amazingly different. In shows of this kind, where there are no trolleys, no zooming, panning and no loud music to fill the performances, good actors are needed and I am glad that I have the best bunch of co-actors.

With independent films like Parched gaining global recognition, how do you see the future of cinema and acting in the country?

The future of Indian cinema is undoubtedly bright and people in international cinema, the directors’ abroad, have also been realizing it. It is good for Indian actors and technicians as well since the gap is bridging. The world knows that we have incredible talent hidden just because we don’t have the financial resources to execute our vision but time is changing and we are moving in the right direction. Cinema is changing and all thanks goes to visionary directors like Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Basu, Anurag Kashyap, Shoojit Sircar, Hansal Mehta and new talented directors like Bejoy Nambiar, Vinil Mathew, Abhishek Sharma, Kanu Behl and others, who have changed cinema in recent years. There are many more talented filmmakers whom I know and would love to work with on a film.


What do you have lined up after Parched?

Post completing my show in April, I am doing a film with director Puneet Prakash called Dilphire. So far everything that I have got has been better than my expectations. So it is going great and am enjoying and cherishing the exciting work coming in my way.

-Sharzeel Zafaryab