MUMBAI — Angad Bedi straddles the world of cinema, television and now the web with a rare intensity. He hails from a sports background, being the son of cricket skipper Bishen Singh Bedi. He made his Hindi film debut in 2011 with “F.A.L.T.U.” and later his television debut with “Kaya Taran.”
Bedi also did a cooking show named “Cook Na Kaho,” hosted the first season of the reality television show “Emotional Atyachar” and was a contestant on Season 3 of “Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi.”
“I am extremely lucky that I am among the one percent people who get the opportunity to live their dreams,” he says. “And that one percent sets the precedent for the remaining 99! I always dreamed of becoming an actor, but to whom would I go and tell this? How many will take you seriously, especially when you are coming from a sports background?”
Acting, he says, has very good platforms today, but it is not a profession in which there is a regular salary. “There are days with a lot of work and days when you do not earn a penny,” he points out.
“It’s very difficult for someone outside the profession to understand this. Lawyers can understand someone wanting to become a lawyer, my father would have understood if I had wanted to be a cricketer, but to make someone believe that I want to be an actor and can train myself — and after that people for people to have faith in me, even if I feel I am good, was the challenging part.”
Angad trained with Vijay Kashyap, one of the best names in theater, and started honing his skills. “The more work you do, the better you get. My endeavor is to be better than my last project,” he says.
Bedi was in love with Amitabh Bachchan, and that was his trigger point for becoming an actor. “It was beautiful interacting with him in “Pink.” When (producer) Shoojit(Sircar)-da asked me, ‘Would you like to work with Bachchan?’ I told him, ‘There’s no need to ask any other question.’ That film transformed my career.”
Roles both positive and negative are interesting to Bedi as long as they are well-written. “That is why an Arvind Vashist (Bedi’s character in”Inside Edge” and “Inside Edge 2”) is one of my most favorite characters, as well as Bikramjeet Singh in “Soorma” and Rajveer Singh in “Pink.” These were the characters that gave me an audience and earned me recognition. I want to keep challenging myself and discover new avenues.”
Bedi adores Akshay Kumar and wants a career-graph like him. “I want to be a producer’s actor—they must cast me and want to be an actor who can command business, who can get returns. At the same time, he plays characters. The same is the case with Ayushmann Khurrana.”
What are the advantages of working with a setup like Excel Entertainment, the makes of “Inside Edge,” wherein a businessman (Ritesh Sidhwani) partners with a creative name like Farhan Akhtar? “I feel fortunate to have been associated with such pathbreakers. “Dil Chahta Hai” changed things in cinema. “Inside Edge” changed things on the web. Excel has done some exceptional work. It’s all about having that faith and that belief. Ritesh and Farhan have a great understanding of each other. It’s a great marriage of numbers and creativity.”
How much of what is depicted in “Inside Edge” is underplaying, realistic or or dramatized? “It is as close to reality as possible,” he replies. About resemblances to real people, he says, “There are no reference points and I can’t say if anyone is modeled on real characters. But if people want to find any resemblance, then fair enough. My DNA is my dad’s, who has taught me more about life than cricket, and I have put in a lot of that into my character.”
What does his dad think of the show? “Oh, he loves it!” says Angad. “He thinks it’s quite sensational with a great vibe. In fact, Sunil Gavaskar calls it a terrific series and he messaged me saying he cannot wait to watch the second season.”
But cricket has changed over decades, and the money that has come in has led the situations we see in “Inside Edge,” right?
Today’s cricket, agrees Bedi, is really different from his father’s times. “Uncovered tracks, no helmets, solid tearaway fast bowlers, phenomenal all-rounders from so many countries—that was 1970s cricket. Modern-day cricket is very different, a lot easier and favors the batsmen more. There are wickets that are covered, the inner circle rule and so on. Scoring 150 or 200 on the board would make my father confident that they will win. Today, even 600 in a test match is not enough. The game has become shorter—T20 and T10 too. A lot more changes are there as well. The man who really transformed cricket was Mark Mascarenhas. He brought in endorsements and changed the game for over. Also, today, cricketers are a lot fitter.”
There are two schools of opinions on the OTT platform: one, that it’s a revolutionary medium that is making TV outdated and raising the bar for cinema, and two, that it has very little connect pan-India, and might invite censorship due to its audiovisual excesses with respect to sex, expletives, violence and gore. What does Bedi think?
“See, I will tell you my thought process,” he says. “The arc of characters in a digital medium can be explored much more than in a film. As an actor, I have to appeal to the millennial generation between 15 and 25 years and thus get more longevity. I don’t think there is too much violence and gore or sexual depiction. I think that naturally some things come into such stories.”