Ashish Verma, who has been receiving rave reviews for his role in Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, will play a drug peddler who carries a specific type of drug that can make people see the future, in a British film titled Imperial Blue.
It is not the lead role but an important one.
“I am playing Sanjay, a drug peddler, who carries the drug, which makes one see the future. As far as playing the protagonist is concerned, every actor would love to play the protagonist and with changing time, you see a lot of films which no longer subscribe to the typical notion of a ‘hero’, Bhavesh Joshi ... being one of them,” Ashish said in an interview.
Indians are generally stereotyped in the West. How is his role in Imperial Blue going to break that?
“When you are a minority or are different from others, you are often seen in a specific way. This is applicable at a macro as well as a micro level and this leads to stereotyping,” he said.
“As far as my role is concerned, my character is an Indian, in India. Me and the director Dan (Moss) were on the same page as far as the pitching was concerned. It was to keep it as real as possible and not to cater to a perception or an ‘idea’ of an Indian,” added the actor, best known for featuring in the digital project InMates.
The casting of Imperial Blue happened in India.
“The Imperial Blue casting process was very interesting. During the audition, me and my co-actor played the scene in many languages...in English, the way it was written and in our native languages, mine being Hindi and his being Swedish,” he said.
Ashish has also worked as a casting director.
“Gurvinder Singh, the director of Anhey Ghore Da Daan and Chauthi Koot was a friend of mine as well as a senior from Film and Television Institute of India. He asked me to come on board for the films, and I am glad I did. I saw it as an opportunity to learn,” said the actor.
“We were mainly working with non-actors and a part of my job was to cast, as well as to make them act. Since the language was Punjabi it was quite challenging. So I started to pick up the language.”
He had never imagined that making non-actors act would be so enriching as at times, they “subconsciously bring out nuances which professional actors struggle to”.
He has also been writing dialogues for feature films.
“The Hungry is one of them. As far as producing is concerned, I limit myself to the creative end of the deal...like developing web shows for platforms,” said Ashish.