INTERVIEW: 'The project came to me like love comes organically in the show': Modern Love Hyderabad actor Rag Mayur on bagging a role in the series

Modern Love Hyderabad actor Rag Mayur tells us about his passion for acting, hunger for diverse roles and OTT’s potential

author_img Priyamvada Rana Published :  15th July 2022 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  15th July 2022 12:00 AM
Actor Rag Mayur

Actor Rag Mayur

The Amazon Prime show Modern Love Hyderabad has become the talk of the town since its release on July 8. It has garnered rave reviews for its heartening stories and memorable performances. Based on the American television series Modern Love, the show explores myriad definitions of love and human relationships, set against the multi-cultural milieu of Hyderabad, which makes it all the more special for Hyderabadis. Hyderabadi actor Rag Mayur, the breakout star of Telugu flick Cinema Bandi fame features in one of the episodes titled Finding Your Penguin alongside Telugu model and actress Komalee Prasad. The episode is replete with animal analogies and spoofs the human tendency to seek love the same way animals do with their partners by following a set pattern. As hilarious as the idea may sound, the episode does elicit barrels of laughs for its creative parody!

For Rag, working on the show was a great feat to achieve. Today, as he cements his feet in the world of OTT and cinema with credits like Modern Love Hyderabad, Cinema Bandi (2021), Mental Madhilo (2017) and Antahkaran (2015), the suave actor is ready to show his mettle with unique roles. As we sit for a fireside chat with him, he offers some golden words of wisdom, “One has to be at the right place, at the right time with the right people to get their Friday moment.”

A still from the show

Humble beginnings
Having come from a humble middle-class background, Rag was raised at RTC X Roads, an area that in older times has been the hub of theatres in Hyderabad and served as the main centre of business activity for Tollywood stars until the multiplexes dotted the city and stole its thunder. Being born amid the world of theatre, Rag inculcated a deep interest in films, dance, acting, skits, music and creative writing. He tells us about his modest upbringing and what instilled a passion for films, “I was born in those times when we were deprived of cable TV sets. We used to have cable TV only in the summer so we used to watch like we have no other day! We used to get up early on usual school days and go to sleep very late just to watch films.” During high school, the actor actively engaged in performance arts but creative passions soon took a backseat as he took up engineering.

Engineering to acting
He went on to do a Masters in engineering in the US and returned to India in 2010 as the American dreams did not work for him. “I wanted to be with my people and in touch with Indian culture and creative community so returning happened for the better. When I was working in Bengaluru, I joined Bangalore Little Theater and also started to direct some short films. It was at that time that I noticed that my acting and writing were getting more positive and critical reception.”

While the actor has his formal education in engineering, he was always into acting workshops to refine his craft. He went on to attend workshops in Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Art Research at Auroville, a place where filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap and Yash Raj sent their actors to polish their skills. Rubbing shoulders with them brought finesse to Rag’s craft too. As he was sharpening his acting chops, his Friday moment came with the superhit film Cinema Bandi where he played one of the lead characters. The 2021 rural comedy-drama launched him on Netflix alongside the likes of Ram Charan in the rustic character of a village barber Maridesh Babu who is unrefined, a tad boastful yet amusing. Soon Rag became popular with fans pouring in from India and abroad. The internet too was loaded with memes and stickers based on the ludicrous character of Maridesh. Such was the emotive capacity of the character!

Actor Rag Mayur

However, after Cinema Bandi, Rag was flooded with rural character roles. Averse to being typecast, he kept rejecting scripts until he landed the role of Tarun in Modern Love Hyderabad. Telling us about his role he says jestfully, “The project came to me like love comes organically to the lead character in the episode Finding Your Penguin! I chose the role of Tarun as it was poles apart from Maridesh Babu. If Maridesh was unsophisticated, rustic, ignorant and so full of himself, Tarun was poised, sensible and urbane.” Rag bears an uncanny association with his reel character of Tarun. Telling us about it he says, “Tarun is a well-read and academically inclined character like me. He has an MBBS degree from Osmania University while in reality, I am an engineering graduate from the same alma mater. Tarun is a tad reserved. Like him, I too take my time to socialise with a different crowd. That’s why I started indulging in networking for a better reach because this is a skill I have to pick up to thrive in this film world.”

Looking forward
To catch up with the nuances of character building, Rag along with other actors of the show went through a rigorous five-day workshop held by the director of the episode Venkatesh Maha. He also reveals his chemistry with director Venkatesh Maha. “Working with him was a very different experience because he wants everything in a certain fashion. His preciseness is god-level. He will just come to you suddenly and just move a strand of your hair to make you look more believable as that character.” The actor is now gearing up to play a lead role in an upcoming OTT sitcom and an antagonist in a feature film. While he explores feature films, he will continue to work in OTT for a wider audience reach and creative liberty.

Modern Love Hyderabad is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
priyamvada@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @RanaPriyamvada