A still from the series. Pic/Internet
Fate works in mysterious ways. In 2008, Harman Baweja, like any debutant, hoped for the audience's love and a promising career as he forayed into films with Love Story 2050. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Today, after almost nine years of having walked away from acting, he is the subject of wide praise. The actor shone bright in Hansal Mehta's latest series, Scoop. Like most good things in life, Baweja says the comeback was unplanned. "I've been writing and producing films. Hansal and I were collaborating on another project, when he said that he would like me to play JCP Shroff in Scoop. I told him I hadn't acted in years, but he told me to trust him. I then suggested that they take my audition," recounts the actor.
Led by Karishma Tanna, the Netflix series is inspired by Jigna Vora's book Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison, and follows the events after she was accused of being an accomplice in the 2011 murder of mid-day's then-crime and investigations editor Jyotirmoy Dey.
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Baweja, who has been appreciated for portraying a morally grey cop, says he internalised his character's shrewdness and conflict. "What I loved about him was the power dynamics he gets into. When he is talking to Jagruti Pathak [Tanna's character], he believes he is in control. But he later realises he was being played as well. His grey shades were fun to explore. There are no dialogues to suggest that he feels bad for Jagruti towards the end. Hansal and I decided to reflect that in my performance."
Baweja is evidently happy to return to acting. But he remembers the negativity that surrounded his first innings. Ahead of his debut film's release, he was constantly compared to Hrithik Roshan owing to their physical similarities, only to be written off when his movies didn't weave magic at the box office. After Dishkiyaoon (2014), Baweja quit acting. The decision hurt initially, but he says it was important for his family and him. "I feel that the media was absolutely unfair to me. When I had done my first few films, a barrage of harsh and mean things were written [about me]. It's part and parcel of the business, but it hurts when it gets too personal. There were times when I'd make sure that the papers didn't come home, or that my mom didn't see them. I quit because effectively, things didn't pan out the way they initially [appeared]. Today, the same family who avoided reading papers is now looking forward to the next article on me."