Shashank has made a name for himself in Tollywood. Having multiple films to his credit, he is also a well-known actor on the OTT platforms. His first venture with ZEE5 was a crime-thriller titled Ekkadiki Ee Parugu. The show saw two hit seasons, and now he is back with a bigger bang. Shashank plays a cricketer from the 1980s, named Wilson, in Abhilash Reddy’s Loser.
Watch the trailer of Loser here:
We chatted with him to know more about his journey as an actor in this sports-drama. Read the edited excerpts of his interview below.
Q. How is the lockdown going for you?
A. It’s a never-expected event. We always find good things even when there is something bad happening. It will definitely do harm, but we will learn immensely. I try to keep the negativity away. There’s a lot of bonding between the family. It’s not practical for the lockdown to go on, it is hampering us. But personally, I am enjoying it.
Q. Are you picking up any new skills?
A. I do a lot of things, but somehow I never went to the kitchen. The other day I wanted to eat chocolate cookies. So, that’s one thing I learned and made. And it turned out to be very nice.
Q. How was the experience of working for Loser?
A. Absolutely thrilling. I love the script and my role. All throughout the shooting and post it, I enjoyed everything.
Q. How did you bag the role?
A. Abhilash (Reddy) has worked with me earlier. First, we collaborated for a short film and then for Ekkadiki Ee Parugu. He always shares new ideas with me and I give my inputs. One day, he shared the story of a sports-drama. This is one genre that I always wanted to explore. And the best part is, it’s not only about the sport, but it is also about the emotions behind it. Moreover, it’s spread over three different decades, athletes, sports, their story and backstory. It was fascinating.
Q. Did playing a spinner require any special preparation?
A. Yes. We worked a lot. As my character is a fast-bowler, health, fitness and stamina are very important. And then the technique should be perfect. Otherwise, it looks fake and I didn’t want that. The story is so good that we have to make it look authentic. So, I practised for three months with a coach.
Q. How did you transform yourself physically?
A. Before the shoot, I had a personality which wasn’t suitable for either the younger Wilson or the older Wilson. We had to finish the younger part, first. I had put on some weight. So, I thought I could pile on more and finish the older part. For some reason, we couldn’t do that. So I lost weight and essayed the younger part. And then we had a break in the schedule for about two months. That’s when I put on weight and played the older part. Once we knew there were no more shots left, I started shedding the kilos again.
Q. And how did you manage the emotional aspect of your character?
A. When we’re young we have an ego and short temper. And for every small thing, the reaction is huge. We don’t think much. This was okay for me because we’ve been there and I could finish it off. The elderly part is something I have never experienced before. I was very anxious and worried about it because if something goes wrong, it will look artificial. But with the help of the whole team, I made sure it didn’t look fake.
We did some homework about how the younger and the older Wilson would react to something. It was all up to me on the location, and luckily, we pulled it off. In fact, I am very curious to know what audiences think about the older Wilson.
Q. How did you finalise on the look of older Wilson?
A. We thought about trying different things. But the moustache was the first thing that we tried and locked on it. We were wondering if we should get a beard or something. But once we did this, we stayed on it. A beard would look brash on him, we wanted something ‘classy’, with a good personality.
Q. Did you learn anything from your character or the show?
A. What I feel is that there are too many problems in our lives. But we shouldn’t react much, neither for the good nor the bad. Because if you react for good, you will do so for the bad things too. If you neutralise everything as normal, nothing will affect your life. That’s what happens to Wilson. When he was young, he reacted to everything. But when he grew old, even the bigger problems didn’t harm him as much as the smaller things did when he was young. That’s what I feel is important to follow so that we can live happily in life.
Q. How would you describe your journey as Wilson?
A. He is an aggressive and angry young man who is also very emotional and weak inside.
Q. How was it working with Abhilash Reddy again after Ekkadiki Ee Parugu?
A. It has been amazing working with Abhilash and team. Initially, when they came up to me for a short film, it was like I was helping them out. He has a core team, it’s not just about the director. I feel Loser is what it is all because of them. Rest of us are just support. The core team deserves everything.
At the same time, getting a platform like ZEE5 is a boon for aspiring and talented people who are trying to tell a story. Because they are approachable and supportive. With the help of ZEE5, basically, many people are laying a foundation.
Q. How do you think the show will affect viewers?
A. Right now, many people are depressed and anxious because we don’t know what our future would be. A lot of things are going through our minds. While there’s still a set of people who are happy and don’t think about it. But when you watch Loser, everybody – irrespective of their age – will learn that you only win when you get to lose.
And when you lose, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve something. It just means that you have to give it one more chance. What they can take away from Loser is – if it doesn’t work out the second time, then they must try again.
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