Makarand Deshpande on new-age patriotism in Bollywood: 'Defend yourself by attacking, not just taking it' – The Indian Express

Ace actor Makarand Deshpande says his upcoming web series Shoorveer shows “the new kind of patriotism” that has evolved over the years in India. “Today, the new way to defend yourself is by attacking and finishing it off, not by just taking it. A new aggressive society has come into being. In a cinema hall, right after the National Anthem, ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ comes. So patriotism is everywhere,” he told
Makarand plays the National Security Advisor in the Disney+ Hotstar show, that revolves around the Indian armed forces. “Post Covid, people needed something to hold on to their strength. And I feel love for nation binds everyone together,” he added.
Shoorveer revolves around an elite task force called Hawks, that undergoes specialised training to become the nation’s first responder team against national threats. It consists of the best officers from the three armed forces – Army, Navy and Air Force.
Calling the three forces coming together, “a new thought,” Makarand said despite being a fictional show, he got to live in moments that might not otherwise be possible in real life. “It was exciting to shoot scenes where the PM of the country is shown to be sitting with your character. How often you get such conversations to do in real life, meet the PM in reality?” he shared.
Created by Samar Khan, Shoorveer also stars Manish Chaudhari, Regina Cassandra, Armaan Ralhan, Aadil Khan, Abhishek Saha, Anjali Barot, Kuldeep Sareen, Arif Zakaria, Faisal Rashid, Sahil Mehta and Shivya Pathani.
Joking about how Samar came to him when he was far from how he looks in the show, Makarand recalled, “Samar Khan will come to me with a role when I have long hair, beard. He’ll say he wants the other Makarand that’s inside me. I jokingly told him the budget with shoot up if I cut my hair. He said he’ll buy the entire salon for me (laughs).”
Makarand was a part of Swades (2004) alongside Shah Rukh Khan, which released in around the time when Bollywood was fixated with chest-thumping patriotic films. Swades broke the trend for subtly evoking a different kind of responsibility towards the nation and what binds a common person with their roots. According to Makarand, “I’ve been part of subjects about love, but never about love for nation. I worked in Swades. But when you talk about patriotism, something to do with defence and action, this is my first project which shows how the national security defends when the nation comes under direct attack.”
Makarand Deshpande has over the past few years been happily exploring the OTT space. With web shows like Inside Edge, The Verdict – State vs Nanavati, Hundred and The Fame Game in his kitty, he explained why taking up digital projects is more exciting.
“Only OTT can give you that kind of a screen time, a journey, a back story. A feature film has a different kind of grammar to tell a story. It has its own plus points. Right now what OTT does is, it allows the writer to write the character more than the plot. Films are plot driven. OTT is not just plot driven. It can engage into some situation, still keeping the story connected with its characters. As actors, you are more excited about that. An OTT show can also have more seasons. So more can be written about your character, it can be expanded and things  can be shown deeply.”
Directed by Kanishk Varma, Shoorveer begins streaming on July 15.
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Mimansa ShekharMimansa Shekhar is a Copy Editor at Indian Express Online and has been… read more


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