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Actor Arbaaz Khan: ‘Taanav’ addresses the Kashmir issue realistically and without bias

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The actor talks about his upcoming show ‘Tanaav,’ the representation of Kashmir in Indian cinema, and why he likes to play men in uniform

The actor talks about his upcoming show ‘Tanaav,’ the representation of Kashmir in Indian cinema, and why he likes to play men in uniform

For Arbaaz Khan, who has donned a uniform in quite a number of roles in his 25 years in cinema, playing a Special Task Force chief in Tanaav may not look like much of a challenge at the offset. Arbaaz, however, says otherwise. “Can you believe, I have never auditioned for any role in my entire career, but I had to do it for Tanaav?” he asks, incredulously.

“They sent me a couple of lines, and I had to send a short video. I took it up as a challenge because I was intrigued by the role. I had binged the original show during the lockdown, and when I got the call-back, I was excited about being cast for such an interesting show,” he says, with his excitement resonating on the call.

Tanaav is the Indian adaption of the Israeli show Fauda. If Fauda focused on the Israeli-Palestine issue, Tanaav deals with an internal issue in the backdrop of Kashmir. Set in 2017, the socio-political drama revolves around a Special Unit, their bravery, and courage, interspersed with complex ideologies and emotions. Arbaaz is tasked with playing the role of the Special Task Force chief Vikrant, who is responsible for a covert mission.

A still from the series

The phone conversation steers toward the unwavering representation of Kashmir in Indian cinema. He says that filmmakers are predisposed because Kashmir has been a part of politics for the longest time. “The unrest is so ingrained in every Indian’s mind that filmmakers pick up the issue and add a new perspective to it.”

Many films, shows, and characters have been tried, tested, and played in the backdrop of Kashmir. Arbaaz says there are so many great stories to be told about the place and every new story about Kashmir evinces a new-found interest. “ Tanaav, for instance, shows one of the many faces of Kashmir, through a fictional story told realistically. Of course, we have tried to be neutral and unbiased, and we have addressed both sides, in the interest of being fair,” he adds.

“Roles like Vikrant may have been played before, but many factors like his age, his attitude, the situation he is in, and his motive set him apart. Vikrant sports a moustache and speaks in a dialect. That should also drive up the personality change,” he asserts.

Arbaaz Khan in a still from the series

Arbaaz Khan in a still from the series

Arbaaz believes that he is right for a role like Vikrant because of the body of work he has done over the years. “I believe actors don’t have to try to be so kaleidoscopic all the time, and I think it’s okay to be sorted. Instead of trying to do a different role that may not go with your personality, you can always add a new shade to a role you have done before,” he quips.

With Tanaav, Arbaaz also hopes to strike an emotional chord with people. “Kashmir is a sensitive issue, and I hope we have done justice to it,” he says.

Tanaav will stream on SonyLIV from November 11



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