It’s been a big year for Amey Wagh. For starters, his Faster Fene gave Marathi cinema a legit superhit to celebrate. The 30-year-old actor’s pitch perfect portrayal of a sharp-gazed, quick-witted boy detective only fuelled the popularity he’s been garnering through his work on various mediums. Amey became a household name with Zee Marathi’s immensely popular Dil Dosti Duniyadaari, a clutter-breaking TV series that brought six boys and girls under one roof, Friends-style. Earlier this year, Muramba, Varun Narvekar’s commercially and critically appreciated directorial debut, cast him as a laid-back, young lover, a far cry from his turn as a wannabe actor-host in the irreverent web show Casting Couch with Amey and Nipun. Here he tells us about how he transformed into these diverse characters, his theatre roots, and more.
Your character in Faster Fene was taken from BR Bhagwat’s famous detective series. Tell us how you worked on developing Banesh Fene.
My friends often tease me that the time I take to walk from the make-up room to the set after the shot is announced is equivalent to one shift for other actors. I’m a slow, laid back person. So it took effort to acquire the body language of Banesh Fene. When the director (Aditya Sarpotdar) approached me for this film, Dil Dosti Duniyadaari was coming to an end. Like any actor, I was thrilled with the idea of being in a film that was franchise material. Also it was being supported by Riteish Deshmukh and Zee Studios, which are big names. I wasn’t exactly overweight but Faster Fene would require me to be fitter and capable of doing action. I lost 10 kgs and then the shoot got postponed by a few months! In the meanwhile I had to complete Muramba, where I play a 27-year-old. So I put on some kilos again and lost it all for Faster Fene.
We wanted the audience to identify with Banesh’s character from BR Bhagwat’s book, even though the film is based in today’s time. I worked on a very specific brief from the director. He would often call out ‘Chest Out, Legs Straight!’ before the shot. I usually develop my own way of doing a scene, but here I needed to keep it precise. I just did what the director told me. Theatre has taught me to surrender myself to the director.
It's interesting to note that many of the current crop of young actors like you, Alok Rajwade (Kaasav) and Nipun Dharmadhikari (director of Baapjanma) have come up from Pune's experimental theatre scene and continue to be active on stage while working on different mediums.
It is a remarkable thing. We actually formed our theatre group because we were friends, so it wasn’t work that brought us together. We are around the same age, we did theatre together and we still collaborate. The idea of the web show Casting Couch actually came from our friendship – we thought why not be ourselves and have some fun online. Though we work on different platforms, we don’t see theatre as the stepping stone to something. We are all still very true to our roots. That doesn’t mean we don’t want glamour. I, for one, would never shy away from Bollywood or any other language film. The world has truly opened up – I’ve watched OK Kanmani five times on Netflix!
Your sensibility as an actor seems to have been shaped a lot by the bold experiments you did on stage. Is that why you didn’t hesitate to do a pre-marital sex scene for Muramba, which primarily catered to a family audience?
Absolutely. Theatre made us shed our inhibitions and taught us to not take ourselves too seriously. There’s no ‘image’ we have to maintain as actors. Also I think a large number of today’s audience is being nurtured by TV soaps, which are all about morality and values. They don’t mind watching pre-marital sex in Hindi films but when it comes to Marathi films, it becomes taboo. It’s unfortunate. It’s the responsibility of actors and filmmakers to try and speak about it. Taboos are meant to be broken, anyway.
You’re collaborating with Nipun once again for the play Amar Photo Studio…
Amar Photo Studio is currently on and there are many shows lined up. We will soon do a Maharashtra tour. Other than that, I have nothing on my plate right now. It was a conscious decision to just concentrate on these two films this year as both of them demanded entirely different looks.
Watch the trailer of Faster Fene here: