Avi Agarwal has received resounding accolades for his comedic performances in films like “Cowboys” but in “Loose Ends” he delivers a serious performance with gravitas (for which he was awarded the BEST ACTOR MALE at the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival, CA. September 2016). “Loose Ends” literally portrays an experience that many of us have likely had inside our own minds. Almost everyone has that “tipping point” in life in which they see that they can either focus on something that will add positively to their life or negatively. It might be a relationship, a career choice, or simply a pattern of behavior that will lead to a peaceful or tumultuous existence. In the film “Loos Ends” Avi Agarwal becomes a proxy for the audience, considering the many decisions available and how they will manifest his future.
Agarwal is known for his physicality and intense discipline in approaching roles. The film’s cinematographer Rafael Nani notes, “It’s easy to see the talent of Avi in front and behind the camera. What most people can’t see is his tremendous dedication and passion for his job and his art. A serious hard worker who never gives up before getting the best, Avi is an example to the other professionals around him that greatness requires immense dedication. It was an honor work with him in ‘Loose Ends’ and it’s always a pleasure work to with him. Avi Agarwal is an artist who makes you want to do your best, and who you can always learn from.”
Avi’s physical dedication to the role came long before anyone arrived on set or began filming. In preparation for playing a college student, the actor’s training required a lean and in-shape build. Among his many means of training was an eighteen miles per week running requirement to sculpt the svelte appearance of a man this age. It’s a combination of mental, physical, and artistic purpose that drives Agarwal as he relates, “I show this intensity for every role I take. Sometimes I’m not able to get enough time but I work with whatever time frame I am given to make sure the results are visible. Every day, I used those voices in my mind of people demoralizing me saying ‘You can’t do it’ on the track to make sure I kept running. I basically used the negativity to my advantage and turned it into a positive. It really motivated me. Although I have nothing against the people who did not believe in me because I know they had the best interest at heart for me but, as an actor I used whatever I could find to become Sid. I take this approach since the change in my appearance definitely changes the way an audience see me in ‘reel’ life compared to me in my real life.”
“Loose Ends” was screened in December at the Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival in 2016 where it was recognized with the “SPECIAL FESTIVAL MENTION.” Agarwal appears as the main character, Sid, in the story that is a cautionary tale depicting one man exploring his potential for good and bad. Sid is an affable guy but a habitual partier and slacker. As a college student, he often ditches class due to hangovers or simple laziness. When he does attend, he is ill prepared and mocks those who are serious. His support system of friends enables this behavior and embraces him as their “always ready for a good time friend.” Sid begins to have visions of himself in the future leading the lives of others whom he feels likely lacked the focus and self-discipline that he does. Walking about in his everyday life he sees his own face in that of the alcoholic janitor, as a menacing felon on a wanted poster, and many less desirable life pursuits. In a course of “Rocky” determination, Sid begins applying himself, both figuratively and literally cleaning up his life.
The role and the schedule required Avi to access and convey such a wide variety of emotions that it was immensely taxing. So what’s the secret ingredient that allowed him to do all of this so effectively? For this actor it’s a combination of the Meisner and Chekhov techniques. He elucidates, “The role of Sid required different emotions such as, happy, sad, angry, lost, confused, uncomfortable, disturbed, hurt, frustrated, awkward, dismayed, ignorant, concerned and hopeful. There were times when I had to switch from different emotional states instantly in order to deliver the performance. I used the Meisner and Chekhov techniques in order to bounce off from one emotion to another. For example, I had just finished shooting a very emotionally challenging scene and right after that I had to shoot a happy party scene, I used Chekhov and started throwing my hands and legs at different places at fast pace, to loosen the nerves and let the heavy emotion drain from my body. I had discovered in Chekhov how the body movement and image has effect over our emotions. In my opinion, a technique is best implied when you use it but is not shown on screen. People who have studied Meisner sometimes know when on screen the actor has used it to make it look authentic on screen. I use Meisner and then combine it with other techniques such as Chekov to find the character. The difference being Chekov mainly focuses on attaining emotions through physicality of the character. However, Meisner mainly focuses on emotions so to find the characters posture I use Chekov. The combination of both has so far really helped me in making my characters more memorable ones.”
“Loose Ends” required a great deal from Agarwal and he confirms that he learned just as much from doing it. In what might be one of the most important lessons for this diverse, talented, and educated actor, his experience of intent that fell short revealed a truth to him. During the filming of a scene in which Sid sees himself as a down on his luck homeless man, the makeup artist was nowhere to be found. With the pressure of an extremely tight filming schedule, Avi improvised and grabbed a handful of actual mud from the street, smearing it on his face. To his surprise, his great overture of actual mud was not even visible on screen, yet his frustration shown through as the character. The moral; you never know what truly works until you see it onscreen.