Sakshi Tanwar, Actor and Rensil D’silva, filmmaker join for an exclusive conversation with NewsX as part of the India A-list series. Sakshi Tanwar stars in the film Dial 100 which has been directed by Rensil D’Silva & is streaming on Zee5. They talked about their work in the digital film.

Explaining why she chose to act in Dial 100, which can be included in a genre that she does not usually associate with, Sakshi Tanwar said, “That is the biggest reason, that I had not done something like this. Another reason is Rensil sir. I have been wanting to work with him ever since I did 24 with him and I was waiting for the opportunity. This was a great opportunity in every way because there was a dream team. There was Manoj Bajpayee, Nina, Rensil sir, the story, the premise, the genre. Everything was a perfect mix of what I wanted. The fact that Rensil was doing the film and the cast was enough for me.”

Explaining about Dial 100 and what would entice audiences in it Rensil D’silva said, “A director’s heart lights up when you have actors like Sakshi Tanwar and Kareena Kapoor because there is certain credibility they bring to the role. When you are writing you know that some scenes are going to be very difficult to direct and you need actors of this calibre. They make things look easy but they are actually not.

He continued, “I have done thrillers but beyond that too. I have done Rang De Basanti and Student of the Year which are dramas but the industry kind of slots you. If I make thrillers I ensure that it is an emotional thriller. I am not just interested in car chases and twists and turns because you lose audiences with emotional quotient. This film I thought will have a lot of emotions. Each character, though it happens in one night, the emotional graph is low and high.”

When asked how it feels to have her film on a digital platform Tanwar said, “I think it is great because we are getting used to the new normal, we are accepting things they are and we are learning to make the most of it. It is great that people will get to see the film and they can watch it over and over again. We will get the feedback immediately, and although you are not sitting in the theatre and gauging their reactions, I think digital is a great way to connect with people. And for a film like this, it is wonderful, Zee 5 is a great platform. I have had two films earlier on Zee 5. But since this is my first digital film it makes it even more special.

Tracing the transition from TV to mini-series to the digital space she said, “Sometimes I feel God has been great to me. I was there when television was at its peak, the shows were doing so well and everybody was sort of glued to the small screen and we were going to everybody’s house on a daily basis. Fortunately, that was very popular. Then took a break and did another daily, fortunately, that was also received extremely well. Then I took a sabbatical and decided that I need to slow down. I am a mom now and I have a toddler at home. I wanted to slow down and luckily the web platform opened up for me. It was like, come we will do things at your pace. There I was experimenting with new roles, projects and it suited me very well because the commitment in terms of time was much less, one was able to explore more in lesser time so it fitted in perfectly for me. It is because of that I have the freedom to do what I want to do when I want to do

She continued, “The second part, ‘goodbye to television,’ I am too fond of the medium. I don’t know if I’ll be doing a daily again. But if there is something like 24, I’d love to do it.”

When asked if he imagined a day in which web series is as welcoming as when he did 24, Rensil D’silva said, “Well, it’s been 10 years and I don’t think any of us envisioned this. This has changed the entertainment landscape not just in India but in every part of the world. Since I was talking to Howard Gordon and Fox 21, I had a sense that in the west there would be an increasing appreciation where there is HBO, HP, Max and all these kinds of studios but I never imagined there will be this. A lot of people were telling me, that you are a feature film director, how can you do a limited series on TV. I was like, it doesn’t matter what screen you are on because actually, I am from a 30-second world of advertising. Actually what matters is who you are working with, what the idea is and what are you communicating. The screen doesn’t matter. Today I am happy to prove that.

Talking about her game-changer project Tanwar said, “I think Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki because before that I was not in the game. It sort of gave me everything that followed. Basically, I am ever so grateful for that project so it has to be that.”

On similar lines, D’silva spoke, “I think Rang De Basanti. I think that film took such a long time to sell because people used to get very confused with the script about the past and present. But I think what changed my life was The Wednesday. I started getting calls from people whom I had only heard about in the movies. I think that changed my life.”