We get in touch with India’s millennial heartthrob the Digital Star Ayush Mehra over his latest web series ‘Operation MBBS‘ produced by Dice Media, the long-form storytelling channel of Pocket Aces. The series showcases a fresh take on the lives of 3 MBBS students.
There has been a dynamic change in entertainment formats today. How has this change impacted you as an actor?
As an actor, there are now more avenues for me to act in, and that’s refreshing and equally challenging. Initially, I used to work in ads only and I thought that growing into films is the natural option from ads; obviously there was TV in the middle but you always want to skip TV and directly move into films, that was the route. But, with the entrant of the web, the landscape has transformed phenomenally. You now see Bollywood actors and directors too, embracing this new medium and it has created multiple avenues for employment. In short, the web is now a medium for everyone and is becoming a household name for all. Like TV was at one point of time, Web, now is more accessible and also is very new in its approach; the stories are also very interesting, so there is no holding back here. So that’s why I feel, as an actor you can show more of your talent on web.
You have a wide range of portfolio already – from highly popular Filter Copy videos to shows like Minus One, Mom & Co, PFA and now this web-series! Tell us more about your journey and experiences.
By far it has been a really good journey; I wouldn’t say it’s been an easy one though. I used to do a lot of ads and from there I got an offer to do Filter Copy videos and I am so glad that its done so well for me. I remember, initially at Pocket Aces there were like 20-25 people and today there are a strength of more than 200 people; the company has grown so big!, It’s a very surreal and humbling feeling that these people who believed in me two years ago, continue to still believe in me and gave me the opportunity to be part of Dice Media’s Operation MBBS. The journey so far has really been interesting and I am really looking forward to working with many other platforms. Because, as an actor you have to keep expanding your horizons and you have to constantly keep pushing yourself to grow and I hope the bigger things also keep happening and the journey keeps getting bigger and more exciting from here on. I hope this web-series is a big hit!
It’s been a while since you graduated (in 2013). How was it shooting for Operation MBBS? Did you go down the memory lane, remembering your college days?
Of course I did! But, my college was not this hectic; I was in BMM and it’s the most chilled out course in the world with advertising, creative film making and other areas to dabble with. So, when I was shooting for Operation MBBS, it was a drastic change. Oh my God, the books – they were so heavy and huge to carry around and each had so many volumes. I used to just think how they remember all of this, it’s so difficult to become a doctor. I have this new found respect for doctors now as shooting Operation MBBS also was not easy. I had to look like a student, I’m 28 years old and I had to look like I was 20 years old. I also had to put up a UP accent for which I underwent training with our director’s brother. But, in the end, I was glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried this new dialect, for which I’m getting a lot of love from the audience. So, it’s something which I feel so happy to have attempted and to have had the faith that I can do it.. If I had to sum up my experience, shooting for Operation MBBS was so fulfilling!
What made you say yes to Operation MBBS? How do you think the audience will relate to this show?
The sole reason why I did it was because of the script! I have seen a lot of shows on engineering students, but very few on the medical profession. Like, the last one I saw was Sanjeevani or Dil Mil Gaye and that was a long time ago. I was like, nothing is made on medical and the international medical shows are so nice, so this was something I really didn’t want to miss. I really want to be part of one of the most real and authentic medical shows on YouTube. Like Kota Factory was for engineering, so I wanted Operation MBBS to be for MBBS students and doctors. Also apparently, when everyone has been reading the comments, a lot of doctors are saying it’s nostalgic, it’s something we had done long back, the medical fraternity is actually giving a lot of love to the show! It’s really nice to see my inbox which is really full with comments, like first year MBBS students saying that even I puked in the dissection hall! So, I’m really happy! Also, I’m a huge fan of the director Amrit, who has directed ‘Gullak’ and I always wanted to work with him and to get an opportunity to work with him and Dice Media along with a good show is a win-win. There was absolutely no reason for me to say no to this.
What was your experience working with Anshul and Sarah?
It was one of the very good experiences I have ever shared working with actors because I did not know them at all in the first go. So when you don’t know the actors, you don’t know what they are going to throw at you (in terms of acting). They are both such beautiful people inside out. They help you, they push you, and are such good actors that you always have to be on you’re A game. I remember we all used to go together to gym, come back together and even eat together. It was one of those things where we became friends during the course of the show. The first year of medical, was like the first year of our friendship and it just fell in place.
What are the other projects that you’re working on?
While there are many things in the pipeline, unfortunately I’m not allowed to say anything as of now. But there is something coming up pretty soon with Dice only, that is all I can say for now. The audience has been seeing me in romantic avatars all this while, and will continue to see me in those! There’s a romantic show coming up and I’m very excited about that.