OTT has come as a boon for actors & the game is open: Annup Sonii

Annup Sonii is mostly known as the host/ anchor of ‘Crime Patrol’ on Sony Entertainment Television. He was associated with the show for 8 years, before deciding to move on to explore other avenues as an actor. He is now making a return to the show after a period of around 15 months. 

In the course of his career, Soni has worked on some mega serials in well-loved characters, namely, ‘Balika Vadhu’, ‘Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii’, along with ‘See Hawks’ and ‘Shanti’, among others. 

Sonii also made his way into the OTT space with two web series – playing a negative character in ZEE5’s ‘Bombers’, and ALTBalaji’s ‘The Test Case’. 

Adgully spoke to Annup Sonii to know more about his career as an actor, taking a break from ‘Crime Patrol’, working in the OTT space and more. 

What have you been doing ever since you left ‘Crime Patrol’ last year?
The reason I took a break from ‘Crime Patrol’ in 2018 was because I thought too much of my time was taken up by the series and I was not getting any time to do other acts. However, I used to do plays in between. During the break that I took from ‘Crime Patrol’, I did a lot of things – including an original film on Netflix, a web series on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video each, as well as two films – one is with Kunal Kohli and the another film which I have already shot with Sanjay Dutt. 

Could you tell us more about your decision to return as a sutradhar on ‘Crime Patrol’?
I think this break was very important for me to re-analyse and check myself and reinvent myself and tell people that yes, I can do other things too. When ‘Crime Patrol’ and I got together after around 18 months, we were very clear on what we brought to the table. We arrived at a common point that I needed a few days to take care of my other acting work and also decided that I will be working for only a limited numbers of days on ‘Crime Patrol’, while in the remaining days – around three weeks – I could complete my acting commitments. That was condition from my end and so we are prepared to work out this way. So, this time when I came back, it is a win-win situation for both of us, where I can do my other acting work as well. I am actor first and then an anchor. 

How will your role vary from your earlier stint with ‘Crime Patrol’?
The job profile is the same, there is not much change. My connectivity with the audience has always been appreciated, people have felt that whenever I talked to the audience, they feel comfortable, they don’t feel like someone is giving them so much as “gyaan”. They feel like somebody who is genuinely concerned about them is talking to them, like a family member. I will continue to maintain that connectivity. 

However, there is a certain change in the narrative style, which is very intriguing and gripping. The audience will be more cued in to the episodes. 

What is your reaction to the various memes on you on social media?
It’s an interesting situation. I have seen all those memes and jokes and everything on social media. I have seen lot of spoofs as well by stand up comedians and also on online platforms. I think they are brilliant and have enjoyed them. They are funny and interesting. 

Could you tell us about your experience working in the OTT space?
Overall, the experience has been quite good. OTT content is very different from your television soaps, because when you are planning a whole web series, at the outset you know that it will be a season of, say, 10 episodes. It takes a lot of time to build up with the next season, so at least for those 10 episodes you know your character pretty well. It’s like a movie, only the time duration is more. The feeling while shooting for a web series and different from that for a film. All in all, it is a very positive and good change. 

What kind of potential do OTT platforms offer to actors?
Between films and television, OTT has come as a boon for actors because they are not restricted by the choice of audience and the game is open. They are free to experiment with the content, explore the stories that they are doing and for actors, there are brilliant roles available. It is a good situation for both the makers as well as the actors. 

Will we see more of you on OTT or will prefer to continue to be on the television medium?
On television, I will only do ‘Crime Patrol’, while the rest of the time will be spent on honing my acting skills. Right now I have an original web series on Netfix and one film on Netflix which will be released in theatres. Next year, I have two of my web series line up – one each on Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar.


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