Actor Zoya Afroz, who made her Bollywood debut as a child actor in Hum Saath Saath Hain, is now making news because of her role in Matsya Kaand. The actress is all geared up for Miss India International 2021. In an exclusive conversation with OTTplay, she also spoke about how the OTT bloom has helped actors and technicians get work. Excerpts:
How did you become a part of the series? When did things finalize?
It's been almost a year since the journey. It was delayed because of COVID-19 restrictions. I was almost the last one to get on board but had ample time to prepare for my character. Urvashi's transformation was very interesting. I just heard one line for my character - "A magician who cons people." Usually, there are men and there's one female character who is docile. Urvashi isn't docile. She is someone who can take on everybody by herself. It was so refreshing to see that. Usually, in the middle of such characters, there is a woman who needs saving. However, she is someone who makes life hell for everyone. I thought it was a powerful character. She wants to earn a lot of money in life. She has her own journey and transition from jhalli ladki to what she becomes. I relate to her in matters of the heart. A woman can relate to her in that sense. When we are placed in a world where the rules and regulations are made for men, how does Urvashi not only tackle and battle people without a flinch but also rises through that, is something worth watching. It is why I agreed to do this.
We have seen this character in Dhoom 2 or Babli from Bunty Aur Babli. The character is not new per say but this is in a series. Was that the reason you got attracted towards the role?
We actually have seen so much. Cinema itself has completed over 100 years. So, of course, it's not completely novel. However, this has a new perspective. Urvashi is a con girl but she is different from what you have seen before.
This is your first web series. It is also something you have never explored before. What was your initial reaction to the project and how did it change, if it did, while working on the series?
I wish I could share some insights. The script actually blew me away. I could relate to her as a woman. You being a female journalist in the middle of so many male journalists, how you pave your way through it, is how you will be able to relate to Matsya Kaand. Her defense system is so strong that instead of going into the shell, she has broken barriers and come out. I liked that because I am that kind of a person. I'm not submissive. It is why I had the passion to work in the series. Also, who wouldn't want to play a con girl who is ditching the cops as well? I started feeling like I'll end up playing the character and I did.
Do we also see you in various getups? If yes, what was that experience like?
My disguises are more stylish because Urvashi is the distraction. People are so mesmerized seeing her and that is what Urvashi uses to her advantage. It was fun playing the character and I'm sure you will enjoy it while watching too. It's fun, stylish and intellectual.
People have compared Matsya Kaand to Money Heist, mainly because of the Professor angle. What were your views when you saw that comparison?
It's just something people do. As a human being, we have an ability to relate to things. Like I mentioned even previously - we have seen so many stories. So it's not possible to get a very novel concept. I wouldn't compare the two shows because Money Heist is completely different. We definitely aren't robbing a bank, at least not in the first season. We are conning people.
From a child actor in Hum Saath Saath Hai to now playing a conwoman in Matsya Kaand, how would you say your journey in Bollywood has been like?
Wow! Who would have thought the little girl would grow into a conwoman? The journey has been amazing. The little girl who sat on late Reema Lagoo ji's lap and asked for chocolates, now steals them without anyone knowing about it (laughs).
With the bloom of OTT, do you believe that the actors have much more opportunity to show their talent? Since actors who couldn't find work in films are also getting work and being lauded on OTT.
Absolutely. Only a handful of movies can be released but there are so many actors and technicians. Many people are talented but not everyone can work in a movie. Thanks to OTT, everyone can work on many projects. Everyone is employed and there are amazing stories on OTT so it is a very pleasant sight. OTT has been a revolution. I'm so glad it came in my era and time.
Whether it comes to gory scenes or use of abusive language, OTT has tried to be as real as possible. However, there were discussions about censorship on OTT. What is your stand on that?
It is required. You can't show everything that happens in the real world. You cannot kill people for realism. It depends on the writer and camera person. There is no answer here since one rule doesn't apply to all. It is very difficult to regulate the internet so some other kind of regulation is important.
Your upcoming projects?
I have many projects in the making. I'm also working on Miss India International 2021. There's a lot of responsibility to represent my country on the international stage.