'Once we do that, we will be able to change the conditioning which has been prevalent in society for so many years.'
Among OTT's many rising stars is Mrinal Dutt.
The actor has been a part of several Web series like His Storyy, Khwabon Ke Parindey, Hello Mini and the forthcoming Cartel.
Mrinal has especially got a lot of love for playing a homosexual man in His Storyy, and he tells Rediff.com Contributor Prateek Sur, "I was already aware of the LGBTQ community, but yes, playing a character and understanding what really goes on in their minds, and how a person living the life of denial and not getting acceptance can be really difficult for them."
You are a part of quite a few Web shows.
There are platforms and people whom I really want to work with.
But yes, I have been lucky in that sense, as the projects that I've worked in released one after the other in the first half of the year and they have been loved by people.
I'm definitely looking forward to doing films, but television is something that I was never really keen to work in.
How has the response to Khwabon Ke Parindey been?
It's really good. I don't think it has reached out to as many people compared to His Storyy.
But with the kind of reach that it has gathered, it's being loved by people because it is refreshing and unique.
It's a visual treat for the eyes and it's a very beautiful love story.
You have shot it entirely in Australia. How difficult was the shoot amidst the pandemic?
Not really different. Australia is one of the most surreal places in the world, especially the outskirts.
Once you are out of the cities and you reach these places, it's phenomenal and youthful. There are fewer people, and really scenic.
Also, we didn't shoot this during the pandemic. It was shot before.
Your character is someone who has never spoken up about his wish to become a singer.
There are families, who have nurtured and identified what their child really wants to do.
This has helped those children open up and become confident and aware.
I come from a family which has always motivated me and pushed me to do what I wanted.
I also got a certain push from my school because I was a very shy child.
Some people don't tend to express what they want to do or what they want to pursue in life or what their passion is.
This is where the family, the school, or the elders play an important part in helping the child realise his/her true potential and giving them space to fly and be themselves.
His Storyy is among the most popular romantic shows of the year. Did you expect such massive popularity after the show?
I did not expect to get so much love.
It feels amazing that something which you have made with a pure heart has been received so well and people are liking it.
You played a gay character. Were you awkward with the kissing scenes?
No, and I'll tell you why. I was not thinking as Mrinal in that situation.
I was in my character and my mind was processing the thoughts of that character.
So I didn't let Mrinal think and make it difficult for the character.
Also, knowing the actor opposite me made me really comfortable.
It was pretty simple. We didn't make a fuss about it.
Did Satyadeep Mishra and you have a good rapport from before?
Yes, fortunately, Satyadeep and I share a very good rapport and we knew each other very well.
So it was not difficult and there was no breaking of ice needed.
Being professional actors, we knew what we were doing and were playing our parts.
I'm glad I got to work with Satyadeep, knowing him for a long time helped me bring out the best in terms of my character.
There is less acceptance of the LGBTQ community even in today's society, despite the decriminalisation of Article 377. What changes do you think should be brought so that people's mindset changes towards the community?
It is changing, but we are still very far away.
It's changing at a very small level, that's why I am glad to be a part of a show like His Storyy, which reaches out to a lot of homes and families.
The families watch it together, the parents watch it with their kids.
It is important for these LGBTQ stories to come into the mainstream.
Once we do that, we will be able to change the conditioning which has been prevalent in society for so many years.
It is still taboo. Gay people and the LGBTQ community are still looked down upon, which is really shameful and backward.
Did playing a homosexual character make you more aware of the problems the LGBTQ community?
I was already aware of the LGBTQ community, but yes, playing a character and understanding what really goes on in their minds, and how a person living the life of denial and not getting acceptance can be really difficult for them.
So yes, in that sense it made me aware and more empathetic towards how such people feel and what they experience in their daily lives.
Do you fear getting typecast?
No. It's inevitable for any actor.
It's up to you to choose the kind of roles you want to take up.
Fortunately, I am not getting offered similar kinds of roles.
Is shooting difficult in this new normal?
Yes, it was. It was a bit hectic with masks and bio bubbles and it gets scary also, to be honest.
But this is something we have to adapt to and get on with.
In this new normal, do you think actors would be more conscious whether or not to pick up roles which necessarily have romantic or intimate scenes?
I don't think that will be a criterion.
For me, intimate scenes should be required in the story.
The story should demand it.
But yes, everybody on the set is tested; they follow the protocols and take all the precautions.
Will we be seeing a second season for Khawabon Ke Parindey or His Storyy?
I don't know. I really hope they get a second season.
Both of them have done well enough for the makers and the platform.