Hitha plays a member of the special task force investigating Telgi in Vol 2 of the show, which is now available to stream on SonyLiv
It’s been a year since Hitha Chandrashekar has been seen onscreen. The Kannada film Shubhamangala was her last, although the actress kept herself busy with ad shoots and anchoring the Kannada segment for the Women’s Premiere League and the IPL, among others. As of today, Hitha has made baby steps in OTT with Scam 2003. The actress has a role in Tushar Hiranandani’s adaptation of Sanjay Singh's book Telgi Scam: Reporter's ki Diary about the stamp paper counterfeiting scandal, the second set of five episodes of which dropped on Sony LIV.
“My character is that of Karnataka State Police officer, who is a part of the special investigation team set up to look into the stamp paper case and appears episode 7 onward. The role came to me through a casting co-ordinator from Bengaluru. The requirement, I was told, was that they were looking for Kannadiga actors; more specifically, Kannada speaking artistes with a native look. When I auditioned, I had no idea that it was for Scam 2003. I just took a chance and did it. I had to send them a self-shot audition, which I did and then I did not hear back from them for a month or so. It was only when the co-ordinator called back to say that I got the part that I finally asked him what the show was about,” says Hitha.
The actress joined the set of the show a few months later and would up in February this year. “The show is all of 10 episodes split into two parts of five each, but the shoot took a lot of time because of the immense amount of material and the fact that a huge cast of nearly 200 actors were on board,” she says. Hitha watched the show at the drop of midnight on November 3 when it came out and tells us that a lot of what was shot has not made it to the final edit, because Volume 2 is a lot more fast-paced than Volume 1.
With so much happening, does she get enough screen space to make her presence felt in the show? “Scam 2003 is my first web series, and has been quite the experience. I got to share the screen with Mukesh Tiwari and Gagan Dev Riar (who plays Telgi on the show) and think it was a good opportunity for me to get into the OTT space. It’s a good title to add to my resume and I figured that whatever the role, you never know what this might lead to and the doors it opens in the future. Even if I am seen in a couple of scenes and I have performed well, which somebody notices and gives me work, it will be a win for me. This is the perfect start for me,” says Hitha.
Being on the show also meant that the actress got a deeper insight into the scam, which unfolded two decades ago when she was very young. “It was intriguing to understand the scam, because it involved a lot of officials. Before I got the role, I was aware of the scam and Telgi, but as soon as I was confirmed for the part, I watched a documentary on discovery+, in which one episode was about Abdul Kareem Telgi and featured police officials, including IPS officer D Roopa, who were involved in the investigation back then. It gave me a basic idea of what happened. During the shoot, it opened up a lot more, because the narrative was a lot more detailed. In fact, a lot of what transpired back then is still caught up in legal hurdles and the team was unable to finally bring it to the screen. The show that you see now has only just scratched the surface of the stamp paper counterfit scandal. Telgi was only a little fish in the big ocean that was the scam,” explains Hitha.
Meanwhile, on the work front, Hitha has finished shooting for a Kannada film that she can’t talk about yet. “It’s a big banner film in which I am the protagonist’s sister. It’s a good role, though. I am currently dubbing for it and hoping that I am allowed to speak about it soon. The team is looking at making formal announcement’s shortly,” she says, adding that she is spending more time in Bengaluru than Mumbai now.
“After my wedding to Kiran (Srinivas – actor, anchor), we had moved to Mumbai, where I got busy with television commercials. Right now, though, I have taken a step back from that space. I reached a saturation point and wanted to do more in-depth work. Becoming too familiar a face in ads can be detrimental. Over time, I also realized that I was getting pitched only for mother roles; I did a few of those and then got typecast. I wanted to change my trajectory, so I changed my look a little bit, with a new hair do and lost some weight too. I have not turned my back entirely on the ad space, but it has to be something different from what I have been doing. Also, ads were meant to be my side hustle; instead, it became my main work for two years. I want to focus on long format story-telling now, be it films or web shows,” says Hitha.