INTERVIEW| ‘I am so glad I was able to give back to my fans!’: Modern Love Hyderabad actor Abijeet Duddala on his latest release
The actor talks about his on-screen role in the series and why he is selective about the projects he takes up
Actor Abijeet Duddala is having a taste of success with the release of his latest show Modern Love Hyderabad. He plays the lead role of Ashwin, a focussed and creative television producer who is expanding his vistas in his career and love life in the episode titled What Clown Wrote This Script! Abijeet is an internet rage with a million followers on Instagram. Since the show’s release, he has been sharing interesting BTS and buzzworthy videos.
The star who rose to fame with the film Life Is Beautiful and Big Boss 4 Telugu chooses his projects wisely which explains why he takes his time to come on-screen. Now as he gets into the groove of showbiz with Modern Love Hyderabad, and several future projects, we caught up with him over a fireside chat!
How did you get the role of Ashwin?
Director Uday Gurrala had called me and told me about this project, Modern Love, which I had already watched in 2020. He mentioned that we are doing the project now with a unique touch by choosing Hyderabad as the setting. So all thanks to him for believing in me and making me a part of such a fantastic project.
What do you like about the show and specifically your episode?
I like that the approach to the stories in the show is very realistic. The show depicts the acceptance of various kinds of love in contemporary times. I connected with it on a humanistic level as it portrays true-to-life scenarios and phases like hardships posed by social constraints, dilemmas, conflicts of interest, the joy of love, passion and friendship. Coming to my episode, I deeply relate to the lead characters, Ashwin and Vinnie, as they both work in the entertainment space and are devoted to their craft. Ashwin is a producer who is calm, solution-driven, experimentative and is trying to bring new content for his TV audience. Like him, I am exploring production as well as acting to bring refreshing content. I certainly share some traits with Ashwin for instance, like him, my approach to a problem is very rational. I believe if there is a solution, you work towards that without freaking out.
The show portrays a typical image of the ‘Telugu man’. How much of it is true?
It's not right to generalise. Being a Telugu boy myself, I believe there are a couple of things that I can relate to the portrayal of Telugu man and some things that I can't relate to. For instance, I do have a small idol of Lord Ganpati in my room just like Ashwin does in the episode, however, I'm not into eating mountains of rice and rivers of sambar like portrayed in the show (laughs)! My diet is that of grilled chicken and sautéed vegetables plus fruits.
One stereotype you want to change about the OTT space?
There is a misconception that the digital space is not as large as the theatre experience and I think that comes due to the way it is consumed via tiny phone screens or other devices. But if you actually want a larger-than-life experience with OTT, you can get that by setting up a home theatre system that will amp the visual and sound capacity. Then you will realise that everything about digital content production is far more bigger in terms of production value and there's a lot of effort that goes into making it. So this perception of OTT being a smaller space is, I think, going to change over time.
How was your chemistry with the director and actors on the sets?
I feel whenever you are working on a project with someone on the sets, it is always good to strike a bond with them first. That makes for a good working relationship. I had a great rapport with director Uday and my co-star Malvika Nair. It didn't feel like we were just working. We had a lot of fun.
In your journey, what’s that one vision you believed in that others didn't and in the end you proved them wrong?
I have always been selective about the work that I want to do. I have taken my time to choose my scripts and stories very carefully. All my friends, family and acquaintances initially wondered why it took me such a long time to come back on-screen but now they have understood that if I come to the screen it will be only with quality content. After they saw my episode they were really happy. So I always had that conviction that I will feature only in projects that speak of grade. It will take some time to fetch them but when the right moment comes, the wait is worth it!
What’s the potential of OTT space?
It empowers the creative community of filmmakers and actors to be fearless! It makes them feel more at peace and not worry a lot by thinking about all those Friday opening reviews. There is scope for a lot of experimentation in filmmaking now with OTT space, the audience is accepting various new forms of entertainment. This gives a scope to try a new niche genre and strike a chord with a different audience. Moreover, the digital space gives the opportunity to tap the untapped audience and widens the reach of content.
How do you keep yourself focused and calm in such a demanding and dramatic profession?
There are certain variables that are not in your control, so let them be! Stay patient and be committed to your passion. I am very appreciative of all the love and admiration that I have received from my fans. Everything I do is for them. I am at a point, where beyond my love for cinema, I would like to work on projects in which my fans want to see me. With Modern Love Hyderabad, I am so glad I was able to give back to my fans!
Modern Love Hyderabad is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video