Arjan Bajwa: My inclination to play more protagonist roles has become a priority – Times of India

Arjan Bajwa is best known for his roles in ‘Fashion’, ‘Rustom’, ‘Guru’, ‘Kabir Singh’ and others. In an exclusive interview with ETimes, the actor opened up about the film that put him on the map, playing varied roles, and more. Excerpts…

Of all the actors that you have worked with so far, who has been an absolute dream to work with?
All the actors whom I have worked with have been absolutely amazing. Everybody has got their own sense and style. I cannot pinpoint just one. I have been fortunate enough to work with a lot of stalwarts–whether it is Manoj Bajpayee in ‘Lanka’, or Priyanka Chopra in ‘Fashion’, Abhishek Bachchan in ‘Guru’, or Akshay Kumar and Ileana D’Cruz in ‘Rustom’, or Shahid Kapoor in ‘Kabir Singh’. In ‘Tell Me O Khuda’, there was a stellar star cast which included Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, and Dharmendra. I was paired opposite Esha Deol in it. I had a great experience working with all of them.

Which is that one film that changed your career for good?
I don’t think that there has yet been a film that has changed my career for good. However, if there was a film that gave me a platform or allowed me to be an integral part of films, it was ‘Fashion’. The film put me on the map. I was paired opposite Priyanka Chopra, who was already a big star. It got a lot of eyeballs. People noticed me as another actor who is a part of the film business in the quintessential league or hero capacity.

There has been a drastic change as far as content is concerned, especially on OTT. How do you look at this change, as an actor?
The content on OTT platforms is very different. There are a lot of stories that you could not have made into films. They are being said in a more elaborative, episodic form, and long formats on OTT. But, as an actor, I feel there is no change as such. The format of the exhibition is different but the work process is the same. The drastic change I find is in the reach. Our Hindi films do not release all over the world. Certain places are unaware of Hindi cinema. With OTT, your film or series reaches far and wide. People sitting in another corner of the world can view your work. You have a far-reaching wider audience base.

You have played both the protagonist and antagonist in films. Which roles are you most attracted to and why?
Playing both the antagonist and protagonist is a part of your job. I have enjoyed playing both roles equally. I am an actor so the main point for me is to do justice to the role I play on screen. However, what I have learned over the years is that playing a protagonist drives your career forward and helps you move faster and higher. So my inclination to play more protagonist roles has become a priority.

With a possible lockdown looming large over our heads again, what will it mean for Bollywood that is just resuming work?
Bollywood doesn’t have to stop. We can always take a break when any such lockdown situation comes. We have learned in the last one-and-a-half years how to deal with it. In case there is any untoward scene again, a lockdown or another wave, we just have to follow the SOPs laid down by the government. Bollywood is not different from the society we live in. We are a part of the same ecosystem. If other fields stop their work, so will Bollywood. The spirit doesn’t die down. We start from where we had stopped. We pick up things again. That is a great thing about our industry. That is why it is said, no matter what happens, the show must go on.

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