Actor Ayush Mehra on playing a Bollywood agent

Call My Agent: Bollywood is currently streaming on Netflix.

By Husain Rizvi

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Thu 30 Dec 2021, 12:08 PM

Long before Ayush Mehra charmed critics with his performance in Netflix’s Call My Agent: Bollywood, he was a heartthrob, in fact, still is, with his rom-com sketches on social media platforms.

Mehra, a Mumbai-born actor, has appeared as a suave college character in several web shows. His latest performance as “Mehershad” in the Indian adaptation of the Emmy-winning French show, Call My Agent: Bollywood, put him off to a flying start.

Helmed by Shaad Ali, who is famous for films like Saathiya, Bunty Aur Babli and OK Jaanu, Call My Agent: Bollywood focuses on the highs and lows of four casting agents in a race to stay relevant in a rapidly changing industry. It stars veteran actors Rajat Kapoor and Soni Razdan, and Aahana Kumra of Lipstick Under my Burkha alongside Mehra.

Working with the cast

And, Mehra was delighted to play alongside Kapoor, one of the many wishes he fulfilled as a “huge Rajat Kapoor fan”.

“It was surreal. In my first scene with Rajat sir, I helped him with his first line and that’s how we became friends,” Mehra recalls in a conversation with City Times. “Shooting with him has always been a dream because he has been such a wonderful performer. All of them are great actors, they were so easy and lovely to work with.”

Call My Agent: Bollywood marks Mehra’s debut on Netflix. It was perfect for Mehra whose role as Mehershad garnered a lot of praise. “It feels great. I could not have asked for a better debut. To be loved in your first project is something you can only hope for, and I’ve got so much love and appreciation for my role that I’m really happy,” he said.

Mehra is well-versed with his character Mehershad, a caring and loving agent as opposed to Amal, played by Kumra. Before Mehra joined an agency, he was his own agent who would negotiate and manage his career schedule. This is why he feels the role of Mehershad was “meant for him”.

“I used to manage myself. I was very good at it. And soon, I found myself negotiating for my friends and getting them good budgets,” Mehra said. “Getting this part felt like I have always been trained for this.”

However, Mehra did not watch the original French show before auditioning for the part. “I did not want to try and ape the original character, instead, I wanted to make my own,” said Mehra, who auditioned for the role on Zoom. Right after, Mehra decided to watch the show and was eager to be a part of the Bollywood adaptation.

Of course, levelling the benchmark set by the French version was a huge deal for the cast but Mehra did not lose focus, which was to make the best of everything that was given to him as an actor. “Never did it occur to us that we are under pressure. Because, you know, as actors, we just have to do what we are asked to do. We are supposed to play our characters in the best way and the rest is not up to us,” Mehra said.

Emergence of the OTT era

In a pandemic-struck world, Mehra believes the emergence of the OTT era was much-needed. “The OTT era is filled with so many opportunities. It has given people like me careers, and that’s what I’m really grateful for,” Mehra added, saying that OTT platforms should keep growing and become the largest industry.

Mehra visited Dubai for the first time earlier this year; from checking out Dubai Autodrome to riding jet skis, Mehra had a great time.A gearhead, he hopes to come back to try the Formula One car driving experience some day.

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