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I am the happiest loner says famous novelist and 'Woh Khaas' star Agam Anand.

by Rachel Mukherjee 2 months ago in interview

Agam Anand is basking in the glory of his recent hit 'Woh Khaas'.

Agam is a famous novelist, actor and screenwriter.

In 2020, Agam formed Anaisha Motion Pictures along with his sister Richa Singh, an independent film production house to make Web films and Web series'. His maiden project 'Woh Khaas' is the 1st dual audio short film to be made in India which is streaming on 7 OTT Platforms including the likes of MX Player, Hungama Play, Vi movies & tv, and Pocket Films, it has created many records. 'Woh Khaas' got a special premiere in UK at the Paus Premieres Festival on 10th August, 2021. He also wrote the screenplay of a short film called 'Populess' which had its Premiere on MTV in July 2021.

Q. You are an author, screenwriter; stand up artist, professor and an actor, you also have looked after the whole production in Woh Khaas, what’s next? How do you manage to be so good in every field?

We all have just one life, so I try and do as many things I can. I know people who are so good in multiple things but they don’t do it resourcefully and consistently which is sad, that’s why I try to do everything professionally, some things click and some don’t.

Not so long ago I wrote film reviews, and anchored talk shows, did those things earnestly with full dedication but I found them less enjoyable, so left, I do what I enjoy doing, good, bad or ugly I don’t know, I know just one thing that I am competent enough to do anything. I am always eager to learn and curious to comprehend life through my work hence I do so many things, next is direction I guess.

I think I am meant to be a director, let’s see when it happens; right now I am keen on helping directors of the projects I am doing.

Q. Woh Khaas is getting love and praises from left, right and center, and when people love your performance how does it feel?

I am extremely grateful to the film team, the audience and the universe for it. Though I work to express not to impress, but when everyone loves the film, it means our conviction has worked, and the universe wants us to go further, try bigger and better things, we’ll try to express ourselves better next time, and we will really try harder that is my promise .

Q. What are your next projects?

I am working on my next novel ‘Yarn Conurbation’, I personally believe this one is my best yet, it is a philosophical fantasy adventure. I can’t express how much I am enjoying the process of creating the world for it. Then of course the most awaited one ‘Woh Khaas 2’, really excited to start it as soon as possible, the script is lying on my table since January 2019, it is an intense romance where I have to really work hard as an actor; and as a writer I have tried to give a perfect end to the lovely story that you all have witnessed in Woh Khaas.

Right now I am working with Sunil Sihag ‘Gora’ on the screen adaptation of his bestselling novel ‘Day Turns Dark’, which is going on the floors late October this year.

I’ll be producing a web series also, tentatively titled ‘Namak Swad Anusar’, I really like the premise, Ankit Bhardwaj is working on the screenplay right now, I can see his enthusiasm for the story and I am sure he is going to nail it.

Q. How would you define yourself?

I don’t know! People can’t sit with me; it is even tougher for them to talk to me. I just can’t talk meaningless stuff so usually I am considered a boring person but I feel I am the most entertaining person to myself, I enjoy my own company the most. You can call me, the happiest loner.

Q. You write romantic novels, make romantic films and yet you are single? Being in late 20s, don’t you feel you should start thinking of settling down?

I am totally committed to my work, okay that’s too diplomatic but trust me, these settling down and stuff are not meant for me. The way I see love is very different from what people generally think about it. For me love is sacred, and you have to have so much of devotion inside that you can build a temple, mosque or a church of love, for love, in love. And you need a perfect plot to build that temple, so that you can get the eternal peace.

Now here, devotion means, having so much of compassion, love, empathy in you that you want to share it with someone, plot is the right person and temple is the relationship. I know I deal in allegories, bear that.

A relationship should be sacred and when you have it, you feel liberated; it helps us in finding our true self. And getting a right plot for my temple to build is not easy, so better just create romantic films and novels.

Q. It is a crime not to ask ‘what love is’ to a romantic literature writer.

I believe love is felt energetically without any condition. It is spontaneous in experience; it does not have to have reasons to exist; only a spiritual connection is required. We can all relate to those special moments in our lives where we know we are being loved through the unconditional gifts from others. The real challenge is learning how to love ourselves and not be self obsessed or a narcissist, the line is very thin, and once we find that balance, the ‘true self love’ – others become attracted to the passionate energy we hold. We all are love tanks, we all have to shower it to the world. Well, I am not going to make it any more philosophical and complex, it’s enough I guess. (Chuckles)

His first novella, A Non-Entity was published in 2015, which is considered as Bihar's first homegrown contemporary English fiction. The Colossal Illusion, his second, within a day of its release the novel reached the top 100 best selling books on amazon.in and it is receiving positive response from readers and critics alike.

The Colossal Illusion has received three nominations in 3 different revered literary awards and won the best romantic novel title at the TCK Reader's Choice Awards 2019 in USA, later Anand won the Author of the year for the same at the NE8x Lit Fest 2019.

Q. Your favorite films?

Ohh, there are so many but I’ll name a few of them. The Truman Show is one such film which is very close to my heart, how nicely it talks about the quest of life, Taare Zameen Par is another, probably the most sensitive mainstream Hindi film made in years, Lagaan inspires me as an audience and as well as a filmmaker, Inception is another absolute favorite, and Rang De Basanti, Big Fish, Forrest Gump, Rangeela, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Tamasha. I can go on and on.

Anand's screen chemistry with Shambhavi in 'Woh Khaas' is the highlight of the film.

Q. Your favorite actors and directors?

I learn from everyone but really admire Aamir Khan, he is probably the most passionate actor and filmmaker we have in India. Eva Green is another actor who is so extraordinary that she can light up any frame by her mere presence. Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Kamal Hassan, James McAvoy are my other favorites.

Satyajit Ray is my all time favorite Indian director, followed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Mansoor Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Rajkumar Hirani and Ayan Mukherji.

In Hollywood, from Steven Spielberg to James Cameron to Christopher Nolan to Baz Luhrmann to Martin Scorsese to Quentin Tarantino to Ridley Scott to Tim Burton to Woody Allen, and even Mira Nair I love them all.

Q. How it all began? And also how Anaisha Motion Pictures came into existence? Tell us about your bond with Richa Singh.

Films are an integral part of my life; I can’t think of living without cinema, so it was always in the back of my mind that someday I’ll make it. But practically it took me years to be prepared mentally and financially, also finding a committed team is not easy and to top it all selecting a perfect script to begin the journey is a pre-requisite for it.

It was after winning an award for ‘The Colossal Illusion’ in USA; I thought to tell stories not only through books but also through the most popular medium called cinema, and I had so many scripts written already, being a romantic literature writer I chose the idea of Woh Khaas to start everything. Polished the screenplay and dialogues, sent it to my sister Richa Singh who was very clear that she had to like the script to move ahead, and after a day she called me to say that she loved it. I was clear not to involve anyone from the industry for production, I wanted to change the work culture in Bihar, find right talents and make something for pan India or maybe for the world. So, Richa and I formed Anaisha Motion Pictures to make films the way we want to make them, then I pitched the idea to Pocket Films, they loved it, and the rest is history. I feel we are moving towards a new dawn, I am getting calls from people who want to bring professionalism, now they are ready to make their own films because of Woh Khaas, and it really means a lot, Woh Khaas has emerged as a game changer.

Universe conspired to give us the right cast and crew, and Richa convinced me to play Vihaan, I am thankful to her for believing in me as an actor so much so that once she said ‘I don’t know anyone who can play Vihaan better than you, if only we can manage SRK’. Richa and I are best friends, siblings and what not. We enjoy each other’s company the most, I just can’t think of making any project without her.

Agam Anand's performance as Vihaan in 'Woh Khaas' is getting critical acclaim.

Q. How was your experience of working with Shambhavi Singh?

Shambhavi is by far the most professional artist I have met, she is genuinely talented and dedicated towards her work, when it comes to work we are somewhat similar; we made notes for the characters we played in the film, discussed it at length, we are open to take advices, and on the sets we surrendered ourselves to Ankit, the captain of the ship. Off the sets, we really have good equation; she is an entertainer at heart beneath the veil of the very enchanting larger than life beauty. She is a pure soul, a thinker and a smart speaker, so we love talking on different topics and through that probably we connect really well. She is going to be 'big' in the times to come, she has that X-factor, actually not only X, she has all the factors from A to Z required to be in this business. (Smiles)

Q. What kind of director Ankit Bhardwaj is?

Ankit is a very nice human being, extremely talented; he adds feathers of glory to the creative material with his imagination. He only needs right guidance and no one can stop him from becoming an ace director. It was a real pleasure working with him in Woh Khaas especially on the sets he is a different person, very enthusiastic and always searching for better shots, it inspires his actors to push the envelope. He is young and learning everyday to be a complete filmmaker.

Q. How was it working with RJ Chokha, Avinash Mishra and rest of the team?

I formed the team, so I chose some real good people to work on this project. RJ Chokha is one hell of a personality, he works with passion and contributes in every department, and there is so much to learn from him. All my scenes with him were amazing to perform as an actor; he made everything so enjoyable on the sets.

And Avinash Mishra, we called him the magic wand of our sets, he made me feel safe as a filmmaker throughout the making of Woh Khaas, and he is very responsible and crazy for filmmaking. Sumit Ojha is one guy with whom I connected instantly, he thinks big and that is his specialty. Abhishek Raj really owned the film, sometimes even when Ankit was happy with dubbing takes he told us to go for one more time, he really like doing good work. Bhawana is an amazing help, very dedicated and so is Ujjawal, he was a perfect partner for Avinash in executing the production proceedings. Danish was always there to help, and everyone gave their best be it Vikash Kumar, Ady Manral, Aman, Arpit, Amrit, Prabhat, Romil, Sunny, Mashoom and the list goes on.

Also, I want to thank my Mother and my eldest sister Priya for being there and encouraging me to take risks not to forget my old friend Shawn Kahlon, his positivity inspires me to do what I do.

Q. Your message to your readers, fans, upcoming actors, filmmakers and viewers.

Do things because you actually want to do it not because others are doing, don’t turn to films for fame, it is a myth. Be curious, ask questions, know everything you can, watch films and read books like you eat food every day. You have to do hard work, nurture your talent, have patience, think big, broaden your vision, always be enthusiastic and be grateful. If possible, be a creator, don’t be a seeker, take risks, try to reinvent yourself always and above all try to be a good person because the majority lacks that goodness.

Agam Anand has received multiple nominations for his performance in the best actor category for 'Woh Khaas' at various national and international film festivals and he bagged nominations in the best screenplay and best writing categories too. The dual audio short 'Woh Khaas' has been seen by more than 315k people so far in 120 days.

interview

Rachel Mukherjee

Cinema, Art and Lifestyle correspondent.

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