By Abhigna Ghosh
Karan Jotwani is a name that needs no introduction. After dominating the TV industry for the last 7 years, he is now all set to take the digital world by storm again with his new mini-series Firsts Season 6.
On the other hand, Tara Alisha Berry has proved her sheer talent with movies like Teen Paheliya, Gun Pe Done, and A1 and conquered a million hearts. She will also be joining Dice Media’s Firsts Season 6.
However, this series talks about the very sensitive topic of unplanned pregnancy and the uncertainly that tags along with it. This is a story that every millennial couple will most certainly relate to.
In a candid chat with us, Tara Alisha Berry and Karan Jotwani shared their experience of working for Firsts Season 6, their take on OTT’s boom, and much more…
How did you prepare for the role of an expecting mother?
Tara Alisha: Well, I have played the role of a pregnant woman twice before. So I think my previous work along with the experience of taking care of my pets has taught me what exactly it feels like to be responsible for someone else’s life. Plus, the team was also very supportive and we did a lot of research to help me portray my character.
How was your experience shooting for Firsts Season 6, especially during the pandemic?
Tara Alisha: Dice Media took every precaution that they possibly could. Everyone on the set has had at least one dose of vaccination, there was regular sanitization and we were all wearing masks. Plus, I feel that the last year had been really challenging for us all and many people were out of work. So getting back to work is essential, all that we have to keep in mind is to be safe, take precautions, and get vaccinated.
Karan: As Alisha said, Dice Media took sufficient precautions to ensure the safety of everyone on board. Speaking of the experience, it was one of my most exciting journeys. Also, I was blessed to have an amazing team as well as a superb co-star like Alisha. I didn’t feel pressured at all and the entire shoot went as smooth as gliding on a wave.
Unplanned pregnancy and abortions go hand-in-hand. However, the latter is a highly debatable topic in India. What is your personal take on that?
Karan: My character actually wanted to keep the baby, it was only that Pakhi was unsure and I wanted to be supportive of her decision. My character feels that if two people love each other and they are almost settled, there is no problem in keeping a child even if it was not planned. That’s exactly how I feel about this issue personally. But I also understand women have a major role in carrying a pregnancy forward so ultimately it’s obviously their decision.
At What level did you connect to your on-screen character Pakhi?
Tara Alisha: Just like Pakhi I have been a huge planner and I liked keeping everything organized. And just how Pakhi has Ankur, in my real life, I have had friends who actually pulled me out of my strict organized routine to have fun once in a while.
Is there any fond memory from the sets of Firsts season 6 that you would like to share with us?
Tara Alisha: I would like to mention a very kind gesture by the 2nd AD Yash who made all our last day at the shoot special. He made handmade notes for everyone in every department and stuck them on the wall. Reading all the kind words he has written for us all is a memory that I will carry forward with me.
Karan: Just as Alisha said, whatever Yash did was fantastic. He wrote handwritten notes for everyone and got very emotional while reading them to us. Apart from that, I think the entire team, the writers, directors, production crew, and the marketing team, all did an amazing job and together made the whole experience memorable.
Karan, you did your bachelor’s in Economics and Commerce. So how did the transition from a completely academic background to acting happen?
Karan: My journey has been very different. I started my career as a digital marketing executive. But a while later when it turned monotonous, I decided to take a break. I had a few friends in this industry who asked me to accompany them to auditions and give acting a chance. One thing led to another and I built my portfolio, auditioned, and got my first role in a TV serial. I don’t know what my final destination is but I certainly look forward to doing some good work.
Tara Alisha, you have worked in four major languages Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, and Bengali. Did you face any issues while working in languages like Tamil and Telegu which you are not fluent in?
Tara Alisha: Initially when I started working. I was dealing with the whole process of acting in front of the camera which was very new to me. And the unknown language added to the pressure. But I had a very well-structured way of learning my lines. I was also lucky to have a very supportive team who helped me throughout. So now when I am working in a different language, I don’t feel that pressure anymore.
After working in TV serials for so many years, what difference do you find between working for web shows and on OTT? Was it a planned move or did you just go with the flow?
Karan: The biggest difference that I feel is TV is high on drama. The realism is missing there and certain scenes and emotions are exaggerated. But OTT has a very realistic approach. The kind of content they deliver and the issues they talk about are like pages taken from real life.
Our industry is very uncertain and there is no guaranteed flow of work. Owing to the pandemic, the OTT industry in India has been booming like never before. So I don’t have anything planned but wherever my heart takes me, I’ll follow.
You have played a mother before onscreen. Did you have any apprehension in playing characters like these at this stage of your career?
Tara Alisha: Not at all. I did my first proper acting course at the Chapman University of California and I don’t come from these schools of thought where actors have to play a certain type of role. All that matters to me is a good script, a good role, and for me and the director to be on the same page.
OTT has been booming in recent years and even mainstream actors are working on digital formats now. How do you think this will impact the career of the newcomers as well as the existing actors in the industry?
Karan: I think OTT provides equal opportunities to everyone and you get judged purely on the basis of your talent. There is also plenty of work for all and the content has also turned very realistic. It’s a great time to be an actor right now and even more directors, writers, and other creative departments associated with filmmaking.
Tara Alisha: I think the best thing about OTT is there is no expiry date to shows there. You can put as much content as you want out there and people will keep watching it even if it’s 3 or 6 years old. As Karan very rightly pointed out, this is a great time to be an actor because there is plenty of work out there for everyone.
Where can your fans expect to see you next?
Karan: There is nothing for me right now. I come from a TV background and working in OTT is like starting from scratch for me. So, I am just taking time to discover this whole thing.
Tara Alisha: I have already shot a film in Bhopal named Shutradosh which is expected to release soon. Apart from that I am also shooting for a web series but I cannot reveal the name right now but hopefully, there will be an announcement soon. And I am leaving for Ranchi very soon to shoot for another movie called Shubh Muhrat.