After making a mark on the telly with his roles in Geet, Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai, Hitler Didi and Badalte Rishton Ki Dastaan, Abhinav Shukla is all set for his Bollywood debut in Roar. He talks to SANGEETA YADAV about the film which deals with the sensitive issue of human fragmentation in tiger habitat and his experience shooting in the Sunderbans
How was your experience playing a commando in Roar?
Working in an action thriller shot extensively in the Sunderbans was a huge challenge. I had to look stressed and unhappy as I was on a mission to claim my brother’s body from the jungle. He had been mauled by a tiger. I had to undergo a one month workshop under shifu master Kanishka Sharma. We learnt hand signals as it was a silent mission. There was no room for error in this film. Being my debut film, I had to stand out among other actors. It was a challenging project but I think I have managed well.
Why is the movie not shot in India?
Getting permission in India to shoot inside reserve forest area is next to impossible. The procedure is very complicated. Even if, we would have got the permission from the Government, the human rights activists would have been up in arms against the film.
How was it working with Kamal Sadanah?
He has a very Western way of direction. He makes sure that everything has been penned down in a flow chart format. Right from taking permission from the Bangladesh tourism to UNESCO, everything was done much in advance.
What about shooting with the tigers?
We shot with a few tigers in Los Angeles after getting certificated from the American Welfare Board. A lot of VFX effects have been used in the film to make it look larger-than-life.
How was the team like?
The crew was very cooperative. There was no vanity van or washroom but everyone stayed on board with this project.
What is the morale of the story?
Tigers are misunderstood and there is a main reason for their extinction — fragmentation of their habitat which has pushed them to the outskirts of the forest. Only 3, 700 tigers are left in the world, it’s high time that we understand and respect their space. Not many filmmakers in India are keen to make a film on such a serious topic like tiger extinction and the life of poachers.
(The article was published in The Pioneer Newspaper- http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/backpack/not-many-films-on-wild-animals-made.html)