Interview: ‘I’ve Faced This All My Life’ – VJ Andy Opens Up About Losing The ‘Tags’ Given By Society

Arjun Varma

Arjun Varma

Arjun is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who, before stepping into the glamorous world of entertainment reporting, assisted acclaimed filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron and Christopher Nolan.
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Arjun Varma

untag voot

VJ Andy plays the ‘Bitch’ in Voot’s latest web series titled Untag – a light-hearted take on the various ‘tags’ people tend to get associated with in society. Gay, Fat, Coward, Maneater– these are some of the tags that the characters on the show deal with and try to overcome. (Check out our review of the series here)

During a recent chat with TubeScoop about Untag, Andy opened up about identifying with the show and his character, as he’s himself been a victim of such ‘tags’ in real life.

“I’ve faced this all my life. Let’s be honest. The tag that you get very, very quick…” said the VJ-turned-actor who’s been quite open about his sexual orientation.

So what does one do to combat such ‘tags’?

There’s nothing you can do about someone tagging you, I think. What you can do is prove them wrong with your actions.

For instance, as a Channel V VJ, I was out there– fashion-orientated, style, loud, crazy, outrageous. And then you see me on Bigg Boss which is the kind of show that allows people to see your personality because you can’t act after a certain point.

Andy in the Bigg Boss house (Bigg Boss Season 7)

They see the reality of you, and then, when you actually look back from Channel V to Bigg Boss, there’s a stark difference in what the perception of me was and the way I actually am. And that itself changes your tag.

So, I don’t think you have to go out there and demand a change. What you have to do is, be who you are, be strong in who you are and eventually when people see the truth, your tag will not change, it will disappear.

Tell us about your character and his storyline in the series.

Well, I play this homosexual character called Cyrus who starts off, in the beginning, quite out there– outspoken and a self-proclaimed bitch! The funny thing with Cyrus… it’s different because everybody else in the show, they have got ‘given’ tags. Tags that they perhaps won’t have given themselves. But Cyrus is someone who has given himself this tag. He is quite proud of being the gossip monger, he’s proud of knowing things about everyone else.

vj andy

And I think there are a lot of people in the gay community that are quite proud of being ‘the bitch.’ I mean, I have a lot of friends myself who come across very bitchy, very high-maintenance but actually they’re just very sweet people. So you know, I think sometimes the perception of someone is completely wrong and with Cyrus; his perception of himself I think is wrong. Because he doesn’t see himself from the human angle because perhaps he’s protecting himself.

And over the course of the show, that changes?

There are moments in the show, which bring out the human side of him.  What was really interesting for me as an actor was taking this character from the funny, quirky, fashion homosexual to this guy who’s actually quite serious about what he does and how he goes about getting what he wants.

You’ve been part of the Indian television industry for a long time now, what is your take on this whole new ‘web series’ explosion?

I’m absolutely with the web movement. The web I think is very important because you know, in our country today, there’s a lot of views that don’t get out there via television but can get out there on web.

Even the content of Untag – if we look at it, you know, I don’t think in mainstream television we’re going to have a story that has so many different angles, and so many different aspects of real life that exist in the metros.

In the future, I can see web content doing extremely well and doing so well that the web programming will start influencing what we program on television and eventually we will start seeing trends that we see in US or UK– those kinds of programs making their way on to Indian television eventually. And honestly, if we don’t see that, that means the web content will just grow and grow and grow. It’s a win-win situation.

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