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Hina Khan. Image Credit:

Bollywood actress Hina Khan, who shot to fame with her hit television serials and made it on her own steam in Hindi cinema, claims she cannot afford to take her career lightly.

“For an actor like me, I have realised that for me to get noticed even for a second by the biggies of Bollywood, we have to do at least 10 to 15 films and projects. So we must take our career and work seriously. There’s no other option,” said Khan in an interview with Gulf News over the phone.

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The star, who is a pleasant antidote to the nepotism debate raging in Bollywood, believes that she’s aware that she will be forgotten if she slacks off or takes it easy for a bit.

“I have no godfather in this industry, so I have to make every effort so that I am not forgotten … When I take my career seriously, it helps me build my performance, my career graphs and add value to the projects I am doing.”

Perhaps, ‘Unlock: The Haunted App’ — the thriller currently streaming on Zee5 Global— is her way to remain relevant and fresh in the public’s collective consciousness.

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‘Unlock’ is described as a dark, twisted tale of Suhani (Khan) who enters the unsavoury world of web to attract her roommate’s boyfriend. The inappropriate crush spurs her to make some questionable choices. She signs up for an app where a mysterious voice tells her to commit a string of crimes. Khan’s role that has a generous smattering of grey excited her.

“Change is the only constant. As actors, whether big or small, television or films, we have to constantly change for the public. If you are monotonous in your roles, then they will get bored. So I want to keep reinventing myself,” said Khan.

Here’s her take on her new film and why she doesn’t take critics seriously …

‘Unlock’ streaming on Zee5 Premium:

“‘Unlock’ is a suspense thriller based on the dark web. It’s an original film and it’s a genre that has been attempted for the first time in an Indian streaming platform. What really excited me was its genre. I was thrilled about trying something new and viewers are now keen to watch series on technology and its dark side.”

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On her film releasing during COVID-19:

“Personally, I wait eagerly for psychological thrillers or horror films to release on any platform. These psychological films tend to keep you on the edge of your seat and you are glued to the screen. It’s a genre of films which help you leave any kind of tension behind and makes you focus on that film completely. ‘Unlock’ explores a subject that people will relate to right now. It takes you into the world of dark web, where certain apps unleash your dark side.”

On reviews and critics of her work:

“I have a bunch of strong critics at home who would honestly tell me if I have done a good job or not in a film or a show. Regarding reviews, I don’t take them seriously. Even if they say positive or negative things, I do not take them seriously because they have no sense about filming, photography or how a scene is shot. Reviewing has become a business nowadays where you just come on a YouTube channel and review a film. Reviews are just for their benefit … If they see it’s a big artist’s film, then they would perhaps use a wrong headline in order to get more traffic on their channel … So even if they say positive things about me or negative stuff, I do not take it seriously because I know they have no sense about it. So I go by my critics at home.”

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On the most challenging part of starring in ‘Unlock’:

“We were shooting in all kinds of real locations. So when you create a set, it’s a mess at first because it takes time and a lot of energy to build it. But once a set is created, everything is comfortable and taken care of for the actors. That’s not the scene in real locations. You just don’t have the same comfort that you have on set. There’s no parking for vanity vans and you have to adjust with so many other actors.

“This is done by every superstar in this country and I am not alone. But the plus point is that when you look at the real locations in a film, it is very different in terms of appearance and lends authenticity to a scene. Perhaps, that’s the reason why many filmmakers prefer realistic locations these days. But it wasn’t always comfortable. There were time restrictions. For instance, for ‘Unlock’ we shot at a home of an old Parsi couple in the middle of the town. We had six hours to shoot in their home and we had to finish a lot in those few hours. But overall, it was a lovely experience.”

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Actress Hina Khan at the premiere of the film 'Bacurau' at the 72nd international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Image Credit: AP

On streaming platforms giving better opportunities for actors:

“Considering the current situation because of the pandemic, we realise as actors that there won’t be any theatrical releases for a while. Be it a big film or a small film, it’s going to come only on a digital platform right now. And that’s a plus. As an actor, I love the fact that we have many platforms to showcase our talents. It is not just about television or films nowadays, there are many platforms even in the digital space where an actor can flourish,”

On a despicable thing she has done online in her own life:

“I am not a stalker. I would rather follow a person and keep checking their [Instagram] stories to know what’s happening in their lives. If I am not following someone on social media, then it means I am not interested in what’s happening in their lives… My screen time during lockdown has gone up considerably and I am always guilty of checking my phone.”

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In TV show 'Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai'.

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“I have been cooking, sketching and singing. I am doing everything possible to keep myself sane to be. It has been so many months and cases of domestic violence have gone up … People are not able to get out and fights tend to happen because we see the same faces everyday. So I try to keep myself very busy.”

Don’t miss it!

‘Unlock’ is streaming on Zee5 Global now.