'I have been sensitive and responsible in portraying the role,' says Anshuman Jha who plays a homosexual in Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele
This film isn't just an usual story about a girl and a boy who meet and go on a trip together. “This is perhaps the first time that an Indian film has protagonists from the opposite sexes, but who are from the LGBTQ community,” says Anshuman Jha who plays the lead role in the newly released movie on Disney+ Hotstar, Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele. Zareen Khan plays the lead opposite Anshuman in this narrative that explores the friendship between Veer Pratap Randhawa, a gay man, and Mansi Dubey, a lesbian.
The duo strikes a friendship and go on an impromptu road trip. The story begins in Dehradun, then unfolds in cities like Chandigarh, Delhi and McLeodganj. “It is a tale about two individuals who meet accidentally, but discover unconditional love, comfort, security and friendship,” explains Anshuman. His characterisation of a gay person is quite nuanced and subtle, and the actor explains that instead of looking at it through the narrow view of just his sexuality, Anshuman approached it more with a humane point of view. “I had done reseach about the LGBTQ community, and it was a conscious attempt at regularising this character. We wanted to erase this divide of ‘us’ and ‘them’. We all are us, we all are human beings. I have been sensitive and responsible in portraying the role and did’t want it to be a caricature,” he offers.
The surprise element of the movie is Zareen’s casting who has in the past been seen in stereotypical Bollywood heroine roles. Although her character is flamboyant and outgoing, it’s been portrayed on-screen with discretion. “An actor is a sum total of the choices they make, and I think Zareen choosing to be part of this film reflects that. We were looking for certain qualities in the actress, she auditioned for it and fit the bill. It must have been fun and exciting for her too. It was a pleasant experience for me to work with her,” says Anshuman. Shot at some of the most stunning locations in India, the film is a visual delight to watch.
Even though the reviews are mixed, Anshuman hopes the movie initiates a dialogue among viewers. “I hope it starts a conversation and people will be less judge mental about the LGBTQ community, and will look at them with more empathy,” he says. Next, the actor will be seen as a serial killer in the indie film Midnight Delhi. He will also turn director with his first feature film Lord Curzon Ki Haveli, a black comedy.