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Unsung saga of Indian soldiers

Amazon Prime’s ‘The Forgotten Army’, which was released on January 24, is based on true events about men and women of the Indian National Army (INA) led by Subhash Chandra Bose.

Unsung saga of Indian soldiers

Based on true events, Amazon Original Series 'The Forgotten Army' traces the story of the brave soldiers from the Indian National Army (INA) who marched towards the capital, with the war cry 'Challo Dilli', to win back their country from the British. While talking to Millennium Post, the lead star cast of the series Sharvari Wagh and Sunny Kaushal shared their experience of working in this show.

Telling a story related to India's freedom struggle is quite a responsibility. What sort of pressure did you feel as actors?

Sharvari Wagh: It is a real story about real people who went through this event. Though our characters are fictional but the events are true. So there were lots of responsibilities towards handling these characters and the story. Besides that, Kabir sir didn't make us feel like we were pressured to do something. Infact we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunny Kaushal: It was an opportunity for us to be able to tell a story that not many people know about. So there was no question of having pressure because if we would have taken the pressure, we might not have portrayed the characters well.

Was the story fictionalised?

Sunny Kaushal: The story is fictionalised only to give it a cinematic form, that too because it is a very long incident involving many people. The challenge was to pick out important experiences of different people and explain the entire scenario within few episodes.

Tell me about your individual preparation for the webshow?

Sunny Kaushal: We did go through a boot camp for a week or two with soldiers and army officers where they taught us how to handle guns and rifles, at what angles to hold our shoulders while handling guns, how to throw a bomb and other regular army drills. This helped us understand a soldier's physicality.

Sharvari Wagh: We were learning the same thing that these guys were. We infact learnt this march-past which is like the passing of parade of the Rani Jhansi Regiment.

I have portrayed the character of a soldier who had been in the Rani Jhansi Regiment – an integral part of the Azad Hind Fauj. This was the first female combat regiment who went on the battle field alongside men.

How long was the training process and how much time did it take to get under the skin of your character?

Sharvari Wagh: The boot camp went on for two weeks or so and rest of the things came from the research. It was not a matter of few weeks because the training and learning went on till the last day of the shoot.

Sunny Kaushal: We also went through an important process to understand the psychic of the soldiers and what they go through. For three years, they were fighting to achieve one goal that too without even being in India.

How was the atmosphere on the sets of 'The forgotten army'?

Sunny Kaushal: Oh! the atmosphere was just a pure bliss and it happened only because of Kabir sir, he is such a pure person. He is so sorted in his head and very positive all the time. He doesn't get angry unnecessarily, doesn't shout at people. There were days when we used to work out together after shoot because he is such a fitness freak. So all of these kept us together and our bonding became so strong on and off set.

Sharvari Wagh: One thing that he taught us was 'At the end of the day this journey that you shoot matters the most because once the show is released, it is upto the people to like it or not. We might be disappointed or happy but that will vanish with time. What will stay with us is the memory of six months where we lived so happily as a family".

Where did the shooting happen?

Sharvari Wagh: We generally shot on outdoor location especially in Thailand and there were lots of rain in the series. We shot in rain for hours and weeks. We used to walk through rivers, run through the forests which became an adventurous part of the journey for us.

Sunny Kaushal: Besides Thailand, we shot the series in Bombay and Singapore.

Vicky Kaushal, your brother was appreciated for Uri – a movie based on Indian Army, and now you are making your digital debut with a similar plot. Do you fear any comparisons?

Sunny Kaushal: (Laughs) no of course not, because I did 'The Forgotten Army' before Vicky started shooting for Uri . So the next time you meet Vicky, just ask him why you are copying your brother (laughs).

A lot has been happening in India right now and many actors refrain from commenting on social media. Being an actor what is your take on it.

Sunny Kaushal: It is not necessary to talk on everything. You should talk on the topic where you feel connected to the situation. Nowadays it has become a necessity to say which side you are on, no matter if you have knowledge about it or not. For instance, I don't have any opinion on the recent topics because I don't have that much knowledge about it. So if I give any opinion without having proper knowledge it would be wrong.

Madhupriti Mitra

Madhupriti Mitra

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