Actor Saanand Verma, who is best known for his role of Saxena Ji in &TV’s ‘Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai’ will be soon seen in a film titled ‘Helmet’. The upcoming film stars Aparshakti Khurana in lead and will start premiering on ZEE5 from September 3.
Here’s an excerpt from Saanand Verma’s interview:
Tell us about your upcoming film ‘Helmet’.
It is a special film and based on a very unique subject. Nobody has made a film on the subject of contraceptives. I think the biggest problem in our country is the rising rate of population. It feels like the citizens of our country are most interested in making babies. There’s a taboo around contraceptives. And the most effective method of contraceptives is condoms. People are shy to speak the word ‘condom’, let alone buy it. They feel embarrassed to buy a condom in the chemist shop and end up buying anything except it. And that’s why they miss out on using the most effective contraceptive measure. So, the film ‘Helmet’ is made on the same subject in a humorous way. It is a brilliant storytelling.
You are seen playing the role of the chemist in the film. Tell us more about it.
I was very happy to be associated with this project because it is a fresh and beautiful story. I always desire to work on something new and this film has given me the opportunity.
I initially wanted to play another role in the film. But director Satram Ramani convinced me that the role of a chemist is a crucial one. It’s because the chemist sometimes gives a weird stare at a person who goes to his shop to buy a condom. He makes the customer uncomfortable just by his stare, without saying a word.
So, when the director convinced me for this role, I agreed. And honestly, I enjoyed a lot playing the character.
How was your experience working with Aparshakti Khurana?
Aparshakti Khurana is a gem of a person. I love him and he is a brilliant guy. I have never seen the kind of energy he has. He is very friendly with everyone on the sets. He loves me dearly. I have worked with him previously as well. I feel proud to be his friend and have gotten an opportunity to work with him in several films.
Helmet is his first film as a lead actor. Prior to this, he always played the hero’s friend in films. But finally, he has gotten a lead role and I wish him all the best.
The film is filled with entertainment and has a special message as well. We hope that the mentality of people will change after watching the film.
Do you think that when a taboo subject is shown in a humorous manner, it gets a better acceptance from the audience?
Yes, that is the whole idea of our film. If you give a serious message in a comical manner, it gets accepted by the audience and has a good impact on their minds. It’s an interesting way to make a change in society via creativity.
Helmet is based on contraceptives. Do you think that our education system has failed in creating enough awareness that the filmmakers have to do the job now?
Yes, in our country we don’t talk about these things openly. It is our culture. I am not saying that it is something to be proud of.
Our education system is not up to the mark. It needs a lot of correction. I hope people work on it. And when they do, and there would be a mental upliftment, all the good things about humanity would slowly become a part of our culture. Just like India has given the gift of Yoga to the world, there are many good things in western culture that should be welcomed in other cultures as well. For example, sex education. One should talk openly about it. But these things will take time. Things are changing. Our film is a small attempt in that direction.
The ads for condoms are being telecasted on national television and we watch them with our mothers and sisters. So, things are changing.
Do you think that the film could have created a better impact if it was released in theatres?
Yes, you are right. Theatres can never be compared to OTT. OTT has its own importance but theatres are the ultimate pleasure in the field of cinema. There’s no doubt that the film would have created a large impact if it was released in theatres. But due to the Covid-19, theatres are still shut in many parts of the country. So, it will take a lot of time before things get back to normal.
But it is unfortunate that our film is not releasing in theatres. But OTT has a wide viewership. Recently, ‘Shershaah’ was released on an OTT platform. It is a big-budget, commercial film. Even Salman Khan’s ‘Radhe was released online.
But with OTT, the fear of films clashing at the box office has ended. All the films are getting equal opportunities now.
Yes, the stardom has ended with OTT. Content and art of filmmaking are given more importance on OTT rather than the star cast. So, now, people are focusing on making good films.
Initially, they used to carry huge marketing campaigns and earn well in the first weekend. It was a business format where the quality of content was compromised. So, the OTT has given an opportunity to good actors and filmmakers and their work is getting a good viewership and acceptance from the audience.