NEW DELHI: A gay man and a lesbian woman take a road trip from Delhi to McLeodganj and figure out the real meaning of friendship and love. This is the plot of Anshuman Jha’s latest release, Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele, co-starring Zareen Khan. Jha, who has also turned producer with the film, speaks about how he prepared for his role as Veer and what the message of this film is.
Q: What attracted you towards the story of Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele?
A: Its humane quality. Compassion is at the core of the story. It is about loving without conditions. And it is a journey of discovering love in friendship. That the two protagonists were from the LGBTQ+ community made it that much more complex as a narrative, and therefore attractive. Also, Veer is a vulnerable character, not a heroic one. I like such characters.
Q: How did you prepare as an actor for this film?
A: It began with understanding the inner conflicts of the character, followed by lots of research by meeting a lot of people from the community, trying to understand the psychophysical aspects of being a gay man. I workshopped with Vinod Rawat which helped a lot. I made little changes to my daily existential practices. For instance, Anshuman wears the watch on the left, Veer on the right hand. A combination of all these things helped build towards the shoot. And then instinct took over. I am happiest if people remember me through my characters — I am more excited in you remembering Veer, my character, than you remembering Anshuman. Because Anshuman will die one day but Veer will live forever. So I intended to put every effort I could put in creating him honestly.
Q: What was it like to don the producer’s hat for this film?
A: Challenging. Producing is a thankless job. But I am grateful to be making movies that have a voice. Also, producing means having an eye on the endgame – just making the film well isn’t enough, making sure it goes out in the right manner, on the right platform, is more important.