Orhan ‘Orry’ Awatramani: I don't see any shame in calling the paps - Hindustan Times
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Orhan ‘Orry’ Awatramani: I don't see any shame in calling the paps, if I'm looking good, I want to be photographed

Dec 25, 2023 08:42 AM IST

Unapologetic, unabashed and unfiltered, Orry spills the beans about his life and adventures, and how 2023 made him a pap favourite and a social media sensation.

'I work on myself. I am a liver.' These two lines that Orhan Awatramani aka Orry said in his earlier interviews, became quite famous, maybe more than any movie dialogue. And they continue to define his personality. A social media sensation, a global fashion influencer and Bollywood's Gen-Z BFF, Orry just came, smiled, posed, got papped and became the most talked-about person on the internet. So, it won't be an exaggeration to say that 2023 saw him everywhere -- from parties, events and award shows to pap pages and all over Instagram.

Orhan Awatramani aka Orry in an exclusive chat with HT City
Orhan Awatramani aka Orry in an exclusive chat with HT City

As we meet Orry at a plush Delhi hotel during his recent visit to the city, he is rushing between the rooms trying to finalise his outfit for an event where he was receiving an award, and then catch a flight back to Mumbai. Gracious enough to squeeze time in for our long impending interview, we settle comfortably in the adjoining balcony of his suite, overlooking a private pool area, and enjoying the chilly afternoon, for a no-holds-barred conversation.

2023 - the year that was

I start by asking him to reflect on the year that has passed, and if he agrees that he got more than what he expected in terms of all the love and fandom he received on the internet. "I wouldn't say the year has been more than what I've expected. I wouldn't say less either. I had no expectations, actually. And when you expect nothing, then anything you get, is something. So, I didn't expect (anything) much at all. I didn't go out and give that 'Work on myself interview' thinking that, 'Oh, I've to say it and it'll go viral'. That was the first interview I've ever given. And then that ‘liver’ interview was all over. But that was just me being me and talking the way I talk," says the 24-year-old, adding that he has said 'I'm a liver' line for years now and all my friends know that.

Narrating the story behind it, he tells us, “My friend Shanaya Kapoor was once working on a film set, and I had called her but she cut the call. I was like, 'Pick up, I've to talk to you about something', and she was like, 'Orry, I am working. I'm on set. I can't pick up the phone'. And I said, 'Yeah baby, even I'm working, just pick up the call'. And she's was like, 'Orry, I'm watching your Insta stories. You aren't working, you are living'. And that's what I realised... Yes, she is on set, she is acting, she's an actor. I am living, I am a liver and that's when this ahaa moment happened.”

A pap favourite!

But even before his viral interviews, Orry had become a pap favourite, and was clicked at every possible outing. While many celebs these days tip off the paparazzi about their whereabouts, and then act surprised on spotting them at the airport or outside the gym, Orry feels there's nothing wrong in calling them. In fact, he admits he himself had done that so many times. “Firstly, I have a giant blue Mercedes G Wagon, which is really hard to miss. I don't need to call the paps if I'm at a restaurant, or if I'm pulling up. But I'm not going to lie. Have I called them before? Of course I have."

He continues, "Once I was at a dinner with Bhumi Pednekar and her sister Samiksha, and we've reached the dinner and there's media everywhere, like they're going crazy. I looked at them and said, 'Guys, which one of y'all have called the media?' And they were like me, not me. And then I laughed and said, 'It was me'. It's simple. I like my outfit, I'm looking great, I wanted to get pictured, so I'd call them. Also, whether you call them or not, at some point you're going to get clicked, so I don't see any shame at all in calling them. I'm very open about that. If I'm going for a party, I'd rather get photographed while entering when I'm looking lovely, rather than when I'm exiting sweaty, wasted, drunk like a troll walking out of the restaurant. What would you prefer? So, yes, I do want to get pictured. So, there's no shame in it, but at the same time, 99% of the time, I haven't called them."

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The curious case of phone cases

Not just Orry, his mobile covers demand more attention than him, and have been generating a lot of buzz. From the frog cover, banana case to sunny side up and the famous cockroach case, the quirky collection is hard to miss. He tells us how it all started: “I have a very good friend, who's also like my man Friday, my right hand in London. He once messaged me that 'your phone cases are falling apart, I'm picking you up some new ones'. I told him to send me some options. And I was like, ‘We need phone cases that will make headlines’. So, it started off as a joke. And over there, he has become the phone case stylist. The phone now has a manager, and a stylist. The phone is soon going to probably have an Instagram page. I'm sure someone will make it (laughs).

Sharing an interesting anecdote, Orry recalls how his favourite cockroach case was once about to get confiscated at the airport. “I was on my way to London for a three-day holiday. I just had a handbag, my passport, my contacts in my cell phone and no suitcases. And when you have one bag, you shouldn't be stopped at the airport, but the security stopped me and said, 'There's something in your bag. I was like, ‘No, I guarantee you there is nothing’. But they insisted there's a spider and they took it out, and I told them it's my cockroach case. They fought with me and I wasn't going to give them the phone case, that's my favourite. I asked them to show me the rulebook or give me a video saying they were confiscating my case. I thought the security personnel knew it's a famous phone case and just wanted to take it. The cockroach case is a representation of being a survivor because I've gone to a party where the theme was 'future of the fashion'. What's the future looking like to you - a war, or nuclear bombs! What survives death? A cockroach. They are survivors. So, I looked at the security and said you can't take it because I'm a survivor like this cockroach and I'm going to survive this battle with you all. And they came with this giant, old, dusty rulebook on page 57 rule 109 and said, 'No replicas of reptiles or insects are allowed on flights'. They found the rule, and I had to follow. Luckily I sent out the case and my driver collected it somehow. And imagine, the security knew the rule,” he

I am living multiple lives in 24-hours

Nobody really knew or had seen Orry out in the public eye until a year ago, but now he gets papped as much as any other Bollywood actor, or even more. Does he really enjoy all this attention he gets? “What happens is I travel a lot. So every time the media attention or any attention goes up a little bit, I'm out, I've left, I've traveled. Right now I've been in Mumbai for a really long time, for a month or two. So, I think things picked up," Orry says, adding, “On top of that I did some interviews, and then Bigg Boss happened. I feel like I have way more hours in a day than anybody else.”

Referring to the day he had landed in Delhi, he says, “Just in this current 24 hours, I was at my friend Ananya Panday's movie premiere, from there I was at the airport and the flight was delayed two hours, I got more time within the airport, then I'm on the flight and it's delayed and how. Then I landed in Delhi, that bus took so long. I got to the hotel, slept at 7am, woke up at 12 because I was hosting a luncheon for my friends and my influencer friends. In all of that I did one interview i the morning and now I'm talking to you, and from here I'm headed to an award show, and from there I'm getting onto a flight which I hope doesn't get delayed. I'm landing in Mumbai and going to my friend Tara Sutaria's vintage Christmas themed party and then going to Suzanne Khan's party. And that's all in a 24-hour time span, so I'm living multiple lives. And hence I am a liver.”

Bigg Boss was not at all planned

Orry’s short stint on Bigg Boss 17 took everyone by surprise, and many assumed maybe that’s what all the hype and build up was for over the months that he’d actually end up on a reality show. He, however, strongly dismisses any such assumption. “Bigg Boss had offered me to be a contestant so many times, over the years. Actually, I have a videotape that I made for this show about eight years ago -- it’s a ‘Who is Orry video’ and I’ve made it and I’m talking it in. One day, I might just leak that video,” he laughs, but maintains that he’d never go there as a contestant. “I don’t have the time. So, when they approached me for this one episode, and wanted me to go there as a prank, I was like why the hell I wouldn't agree? They are offering me screen time, it's with Salman Khan, the host and one day on the biggest reality show, and they named the episode Orry and I didn't even know. To me, it was an honour and nothing was planned."

Orry reveals that he hadn't even told his parents he was going into Bigg Boss house. “I just sent everyone a message saying, 'Dear concerned friends, if you are receiving this message, know you are important to me, and I will be unavailable and unreachable from Thursday night to Saturday morning.' I didn't say I'm going into Bigg Boss, I just said I'm unreachable. And that message went out to everyone maybe a little over 24 hours before I went in. So, no, there was no hype created and nothing was planned,” he clears.

I love my Hindi, it's a part of me

Soon after that one episode with Salman Khan went viral, Orry’s Hindi became the talking point. While some called it a put-on accent, some even trolled him for not being fluent in the language. Not letting any of it affect him, Orry says he’s rather happy in his own world, and not obligated to please anyone. “I'll say what I want to say, and if you don't like me, that's okay. I'm not trying to sell you any products. I'm not trying to push my beliefs on you. Even if you didn't like me, what do I have to lose? I am not obliged to anyone," he asserts.

About his Hindi, he goes on, “I went all out. Yes, no one had heard me talk (before that episode on Bigg Boss), I don't speak much, and I don't speak live. But I was like, 'You know what, it's a challenge and I will speak live and I'll speak live in Hindi'. It's not my best language, but I did it to my best. No one was making fun of me, they were laughing in a very endearing, such a cute, comical way. I wasn't being hoity toity, 'Oh God, I can't speak Hindi'. So, I'm really proud of that and I'm very grateful for the opportunity.”

Orry further reveals that just sometime back his mum told him to take Hindi classes, but he turned down the idea. “I said, 'No, I've lived my whole life with this Hindi, and I'm not looking to get into movies, so I don't need to speak shudh Hindi'. My friends understand, and if I can communicate what I'm saying, why change a part? Because my Hindi is a part of me. I live, at the end of the day, in India, I do speak Hindi to some extent every single day, so it is a part of me.”

20-30 lakh a night just to take selfies?

Perhaps one of the biggest and most interesting revelations Orry made on national television was when he said that he makes around 20-30 lakhs a night just to take selfies with people at a party or a wedding he is invited for. We asked him how it works and he points to a legit card machine attached to his phone. “You see, in case people try to horde me for selfies, I can just bill you on the spot,” he quips.

On a serious note, he elaborates, "I can charge up between 20 to 30 lakhs a night as the cover fee to come to your event. People call me to their farmhouses and say, 'My father, mother and my in-laws will all put 5 lakh each, my wife and I will put 2.5 lakh, so that's 25 lakh total, please come to our party'. The difference is that when a celebrity comes for such events, they’ll come, do their performance and bounce off. That’s not what you’re buying from me. The ‘Orry presence’ is very different. I’ll come for your party, stay for the whole party, or till whenever I decide to leave and meet everyone as if I’m your friend and take pictures with all your guests. Basically, you’re not getting a touch of celebrity, or a celebrity dancer. You’re getting a celebrity at the party, which means Orry has come as a friend. So, it’s not 20 lakhs for those selfies, it’s for that night. You bought into the concept of Orry being at your party.

There was an article that said, 'Don't have 20 lakhs for a selfie with Orry, there's a snapchat filter and you can get a picture'. Orry had shared it on his Insta stories and wrote, 'If this was America, I will sue you'. Was he really serious, we ask? He replies, “No, I have no intention to sue anyone. It was just a funny quote from the movie A Wild Child where Emma Roberts is complaining and says, 'If this was America, I'll sue you'. See, it was only a matter of time till someone made such a snapchat filter. It's so cute, I loved it. I just posted that article, so more people would use it. It generates curiosity, and you are going to watch this video or article about what he is talking about.”

'Trolls don't get to me, but I bajao anyone who crosses the line'

It's largely known by now that Orry is quite a sport and loves to repost and reshare all kinds of content about him on his Insta stories, and even comment on posts featuring him. And then there are days when even he gets subjected to trolling, but he clearly is not perturbed. Instead, he gets his way with them "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. On Instagram sometimes, if I see a comment that's derogatory or rude, I'll bajao the person and it will make headlines. But I'm not calling it out because I was offended by your comment, but I'm calling you out because your comment is making it okay for other people to continue doing that. So, trolls don't get to me," says Orry, who has often been spotted lauding youngsters who make funny content on series on him.

"It's hilarious. I love it. Sometimes I meet those guys out in public and they'll come and say, 'Orry we love you, we made this funny video'. And I tell them, 'I'm with you, I've reposted your video, I've commented or I'm supporting it.' I love the creativity they use. You need to understand when you make a public profile, you make yourself a personality, you have given up the right to privacy, you cannot then complain saying people are making fun of me or the way I wave at the media. If you can't handle this, then go sit in your house. Once you're out there, you're out and you've agreed. This comes with the territory. Or else, put yourself in the bubble world and let whatever happens on the outside happen, and ignore it, and if you can't, that's your problem. I love the videos. I support them. They message me and ask for pictures, and I meet them.

The infamous, signature ‘Orry pose’

Orry's signature pose with his Bollywood actors and his friends has become quite a rage on social media. And we see everyone trying to copy it while getting taking pictures. But Orry isn't amused as he says, “This has been my pose since forever. You will notice if you ever come out with me, if we are taking a picture, the pose happens so naturally, and you will feel a touch of love in the pose. There's nothing weird about it, nothing like commercially thought in that pose. It's just the pose, you can't help it, it's natural.”

And the question remains - What does Orry do?

Orry seems to be loving the mystery around him in the sense that nobody really knows what does he do for a living or the school or college he attended. At least, he himself hasn’t spoken about in public. We try to pop the question and ask him his profession, and he maintains what he has always said, “I am a liver, a breather. I’ve studied everywhere -- in Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, New York, London. My education is from the school of life and my experience has been my education."

Asserting that he strongly believes in what he says, Orry explains, “I don't think I've ever used anything I've learned in school or college. That';s not defined the crux of my life. Life has been great because I've lived through New York, so when you've been able to tackle a city like New York, even if you fail, you can survive a city like London, possibly excel a city like Mumbai. I'm not saying Bombay is any less, but NY is just a bigger city, there's just way more going on, way more opportunity, but also a lot more competition. So that's what I mean, when I say my education, my experience has been my education.”

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