How Angad Bedi struck gold with Tiger Zinda Hai

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How Angad Bedi struck gold with Tiger Zinda Hai

Published: Tue 19 Dec 2017, 3:43 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 1:39 PM

"If you believe you are talented and hardworking no one is in a position to rob you of what you deserve," says Tiger Zinda Hai and Pink star Angad Bedi, referring to the 'hot' topic of nepotism in the Hindi film industry. City Times recently caught up with the former model and cricketer turned actor (he's the son of cricketing sensation Bishan Singh Bedi) who believes the right attitude and determination can help you achieve whatever you want and nothing, not even nepotism, can get in the way.
As someone who has been in the industry for a while (he made his Bollywood debut with F.A.L.T.U in 2011) does Angad truly believe everyone gets a fair chance?
"Of course you would! In every field, there is a heirarchy system. In every field, you have to prove yourself. When people say 'oh this (films) is a tough profession' - I say, but every profession is tough, whether it's cricket, any sport, the stock market, hospitality, law or anything else! I feel you have to make your mark, and sometimes you have to hold back and see where you're going. And here, for every role written there are twenty to thirty options available. So to understand all of that you have to be in a space where you have a lot of confidence in your ability, at the same time you have to be very patient with yourself, only then things work out for you. This is one of the toughest professions to be in, but also one of the most glorified. So if you want to be in it, you have to persevere. Nothing comes easy.
"Now things are a lot better - everyone is given an opportunity in Bollywood thanks to the professional system that has been put in place. There are casting directors now who you have to go through - they test you and if you fit the part they put you forward to the maker of the movie. And I feel that earlier this was not the case, so you could say people never got a look-in. Now everyone gets a chance because everyone is looking for new people to cast; for example, today a lot of people are getting cast just on the basis of what they post on Instagram - how they are in real life. You have social media artists who are big stars in the United States. And if that pattern is being followed, so be it!"

'I am also an outsider'
Angad believes there is no replacement for perseverance. "Every industry has some kind of favouritism. I am also an outsider but I am getting opportunities, whether they are big or small. I am getting what I deserve. Everyone gets what they deserve. What you really need to consider is, okay, if this situation is existing, how do I work harder?"
This outstanding work ethic of Angad's no doubt played a part in bagging him a plum role in the much hyped Salman Khan-Katrina starrer Tiger Zinda Hai (releasing this weekend in the UAE), a continuation of the franchise that kicked off with 2012's Ek Tha Tiger. He tells us what to expect from his role in the film.
"My character's name is Agent Namit Khanna - he's a very highly trained individual in body combat, gunfights, making explosives and he's the second in command in Tiger's team. Tiger comes back for a mission, which I am a part of, to save Indian nurses who are stuck in Iraq. It's a different zone altogether for Tiger, and a very emotional journey."

Pink: A career turning point
Angad, who played a negative role in the critically acclaimed Amitabh Bachchan starrer Pink, says his performance as Rajveer Singh in this hard-hitting film was a turning point in his Bollywood career.
"I've been in the industry for six years and been part of seven projects as an actor. I feel extremely blessed. Obviously there have been ups and downs but you take it in your stride. My turning point happened with a film called Pink. It made people stand up and really take notice as far as my performance is concerned. The industry gave me a lot of support after that film. I'm really grateful to people like Shoojit Sircar, Amitabh Bachchan and Ronnie Lahiri, producer of Pink. It's because of them that today I've been able to consolidate my position. And it's because of them Ali Abbas Zafar also came and saw Pink and that's how I got Tiger Zinda Hai. Every actor or even every individual has this one project that actually changes things for them. And Pink has been that project for me."
Apart from memorable performances, Pink has a powerful storyline that focuses on assault and how three women fight for justice. Does Angad believe it's important to act in films that promote a social message? "Obviously there's a lot of weight in films like that. I feel that if the roles are written very well and there are good performances, then there is a strong message that goes out not only for society but also for the actors themselves. It's a plus point to be part of such films."
Considering he belongs to such a famous cricketing background, did he face any obstacles in his journey to becoming an actor? "I was brought up in Delhi. And to be in a situation where you move cities, you change your profession. I played age group cricket, under 16 and under 19. they are concerned parents, everyone's parents are concerned parents, and obviously they felt I was very young when I made the decision to get into acting. But now after watching a few of my projects, there is a lot of self belief, especially from my father's side, that I am on the right track."
Angad had a special message for his UAE fans. "Please go watch this film! It's something that will touch you; you will really feel attached to it. It's a film with a great message - about brotherhood, about love, about togetherness. It doesn't matter which caste, creed or religion you're from - the only important thing is that a human should love a human. There's so much angst right now in the world, and this is a story of bringing people together. It's about time we loved and respected each other; eventually what gets left behind is the way you lived your life. That's one message I would like to put across to people."
'Abu Dhabi is a really beautiful city'
"Almost 80 to 90 per cent of Tiger Zinda Hai is shot in Abu Dhabi; the most important parts are shot there. Very few parts were shot in Istanbul and Austria. Abu Dhabi is a really beautiful city. I've been to Dubai quite a few times but it's been my first experience in Abu Dhabi - we went to Ferrari World, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Saadiyat Beach Club, which was a great experience. We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel, the hospitality was really nice. On the whole it's been really lovely!"
Bonding with Salman Khan
"I've known Salman for about eight years, on a social level, but to know the man behind the stardom of Salman Khan was something really special. He's been an extremely caring individual, especially towards me. Our parents and our families have known each other for a while - there's a lot of mutual respect. But just to be with him these 60-65 days that I'd been in Abu Dhabi over the 90-day schedule meant we bonded a lot. It was good to be able to understand how he thinks and functions. He is a very spontaneous actor - he flows like water - so with him, you have to be the same. Whatever the written text is on paper, he has the ability to uplift the scenes because of his experience. There's a great writer's gene in him, so you know, whatever is written, he has that beautiful art of taking it and making it something totally different and better. At the same time we played a lot of sport, we bonded over cricket. We trained hard too, we used to hit the gym twice a day. He's still into fitness. He's so strong himself - you give him any sport, he picks it up and plays it well. His mental alertness towards sport is really, really good. So we played cricket, volleyball, tennis, we used to run (and it was really hot, extreme weather conditions) but when you see him adjust so well, nobody else can complain. It's been real."
Two favourite co-stars
"Obviously there have been two iconic figures. One is Amitabh Bachchan and the other is Salman Khan."

Inside Edge & reaching out to a younger audience
Angad starred as a cricketer in the web series Inside Edge, based on a fictional T20 cricket team. He told us why it was an exciting development in his career. "It's a VOD; it's been very popular and a big hit with youngsters in India and overseas as well. There is a big section of audiences between the ages of 15-30 who are not going to theatres to watch films, they are sitting at home watching stuff on Netflix, Amazon Prime. How does one reach out to them? How do you become visible to them? After Pink, I realised that there's a niche audience, especially in urban centers, who saw this film on Netflix, and if I wanted to reach out to them and be part of their lives, Inside Edge was the best opportunity given to me. And it all worked out well! A second season will come out, so there's a lot to look forward to there."

By Enid Parker

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