What a grand comeback it is for Arjun Rampal! The web series The Final Call on Zee5 features the understated, underrated actor as a pilot on a suicide mission. “It’s something I had never done before, someone I had never played before. The Final Call is my introduction to the web format, and I would have done this story in any format. It gives me a chance to play a character with so many shades, and all expressed as I sit in the cockpit of an aircraft,” says Arjun.
They shot parts of the series in the same cockpit set as the Oscar-winning Tom Hanks airborne thriller Sully, and Arjun is rightly proud of it. “There is no compromising on quality, no cutting down on costs just because the format lends itself to a more casual viewing. You can’t take home viewers for granted. We shot the series in Kashmir and London. We did everything required to ensure that full justice was done to the plot.”
Arjun says he is very happy with the end-result. “Apart from a plot that combines spiritualism with the thriller format for the first time, I get to play a clinically depressed character. We don’t really understand what depression is. It is not an issue that is addressed in our films. Also, I play an air force pilot. When you are up there in the sky it can get really really lonely. And you have flash decision that can destroy your faith. Our cinema only romanticizes the pilot’s life. This is where the web series comes in. It gives us the freedom to explore themes which would otherwise be ignored or neglected.”
In real life too Arjun has enough reason to be depressed. But he has sailed through the crisis. Says the actor softly, “I lost my mother. I went through a separation (with wife). It has been a difficult time. But now I am in a peaceful space.”
Arjun admits that the personal problems impinged on his work. “I can’t deny that it did affect my work. I’ve been too busy sorting out my personal problems to focus on my film projects. But now I am back on track. Acting is what I do. When I am in front of the camera I am the happiest. I love to be in front of the camera.”
Arjun now has two feature films lined up. “I am about to start shooting for a horror thriller which I can’t talk about until an official announcement is made. Before this year is over I am also doing an action-thriller. Feature films always be my first priority. But I can’t ignore the exciting new format. The Last Call is my first visit to the world of the web. And it has been a very satisfying experience.”