Set in a modern dance academy, Campus Beats is the story of Netra (played by Shruti Sinha), a Gen Z girl who uncovers her hidden talent for dancing. In the process, she experiences the true meaning of friendship, love, freedom and justice despite the academy being sharply divided on the basis of socio-economic class. What’s more, Netra also has her own mystery to solve in this journey filled with high-drama situations and intense dance battles.
We spoke to cast members Shantanu Maheshwari as Ishaan, Shruti Sinha as Netra, Rohan Pal as Figo and Tanya Bhushan as Sulekha in this Amazon miniTV show.
Here’s what we learned about the new and final season of Campus Beats on Amazon miniTV.
What is happening at the start of Season 3 for your characters?
Sinha: Netra is figuring herself out this season. She is very angry with Ishaan but after he helps her, they decide to start fresh. She has also organised a dance camp by herself so there is a lot of pressure on her to get everything perfect because she had goofed up the street dance competition and has to make up for it. Amidst all this, she also reaches certain closures in her mystery so yes, Netra is going through a lot this season.
Bhushan: The season begins with a dance camp and the best thing is that I am dancing this season. It's incredibly thrilling as the character I play wins her first dance battle. She is super diligent and keeps hustling which led to her finally winning a solo competition against Sam (Dhanshree Yadav). It felt really good to dance on-screen after so-long as I was on rest due to an ACL and meniscus tear. However, I had recovered well enough by the time we shot this sequence and it was great.
What about your character resonates with you?
Maheshwari: Ishaan is very different from me personally. He is someone who sticks to the thought processes he has. However, there is one thing that Ishaan and I have in common—loyalty in friendship. It is one of the toughest characters that I have played to date because of how different Ishaan and I are personality-wise.
Sinha: Netra will go to any lengths for the people she loves and that is so me. She is ready to risk it all to find who killed her father, she even stood up for Malang (Harsh Dingwani) when nobody was there for him. She can move mountains for the people she loves which I admire about the character.
Pal: Figo’s love for dance and the passion is what I relate to the most. Figo is fearless when it comes to dancing and is confident and proud of what he represents. Personally, I have my own crew just the way Figo has his set of close friends in the show.
Bhushan: Sulekha and I share the same emotional level, especially when it comes to friendship. For instance, when she is friends with Netra and Kiran (Teriya Magar), she is very selfless and helpful which I have in common with her. So yes, Sulekha and I have this emotion in common that we feel about our friends.
What was the prep work like for you, since the show being a dance drama has multiple dance sequences?
Maheshwari: For me, it was very important to get into the skin of the character. I had a lot of back and forth and question answer rounds with the makers so that I understood the character better. When it comes to dancing, we shot every day for 12 hours so I mentally prepared myself for the hectic schedule.
Sinha: The preparation for me was about a lot of acting and dance workshops every day. I am not even a hip-hop dancer but in this show I am doing that while trying to match the 9 other brilliant hip-hop dancers. It was a task at first, but everybody helped me, all the choreographers kept me motivated throughout because they knew that I was struggling initially. In the acting workshops that we had, we did a lot of scene work. Those helped all of us so much in understanding our characters.
Pal: The preparation for the show was intense for me and also for everyone else. I had to put myself in the shoes of Figo and predict his personality so that I play the character well and not act like myself. The entire team had intense rehearsals and acting workshops to get everyone on the same page. It was handled beautifully by our mentors, director Aniruddha Rajdekar, creative producer and writer Palki Malhotra.
Bhushan: Talking about dance first, I did not get to dance a lot because of my injuries and the prep work was different for me keeping my physical limitations in mind. I made sure to use the right equipment and to warm up and do my stretches because I couldn't risk a slip or fall and make my injury worse. All this was physical prep; mentally, I would push myself and go all out with my energy whenever I was on the dance floor, even though I was scared to put a lot of pressure on my knees. But every time I was on the floor, Palki ma’am used to prompt me from behind the camera to take it easy and not use too much pressure. She said, “Josh me hosh nahi khona” which calmed me down a little.
What was your favorite scene to shoot and why?
Maheshwari: I felt the dance sequences were amazing—the nervous energy before the start of any of the dance routines is amazing. Group scenes are also always fun because there's a lot of camaraderie that comes into picture and you get to improvise depending on where the scene is going. The romantic scenes in the show were so uniquely written that those were fun too, like the ‘Gola drop’ or ‘Choose Love’ scenes. But it's very hard to pinpoint one particular scene.
Sinha: I can't pick one favourite scene because I loved all of them and I loved shooting, being on set and being Netra. But when I watched it as a viewer, my favourite was the ‘Gola’ scene—it came out so nicely. The scene with Ishaan where he is explaining a situationship to Netra while they are dancing was also great. I really loved these two scenes when I saw them but while shooting I loved every scene even when I was just standing in the background.
Pal: My favourite scene to shoot was probably the underground dance battle in season 2 where we were pinned against the Superiors. At that point of time, almost everyone was going through something physically—whether being tired, sleep deprived or having swollen feet. And we still pulled it off beautifully. Once we heard ‘pack up’, you could see it on everyone's face—we were dead, we were gone, and that passion was so beautiful to see.
Bhushan: There is this scene where the rival gang shuts me in the washroom. I was all scared locked up and anxious because there were no lights in there, when Netra ran out to get me some water. While sitting there, Netra and Sulekha have a conversation about Ishaan and how it is not easy to trust Ishaan. I really loved this scene, as a viewer and an actor too. The whole scene was shot in one go and it had a lot of dialogues. This scene has a myriad of emotions—there is an instance when Dharmesh Sir enters the scene and Sulekha blushes while being scared.
What’s on your miniTV watch list?
Maheshwari: I'm waiting for Sixer’s next season, if that's happening. I want to watch Hack Crimes Online and High School which is an English drama. Physicswallah has also been on my watch list for a very long time.
Sinha: Campus Beats for sure is in my Amazon miniTV watch list. But apart from that I want to watch Half Love, Half Arranged and Slum Golf.
Pal: The number one thing on my Amazon miniTV watch list would be Campus Beats Season 3. The second and third on my list are Half Love, Half Arranged and Crushed.
Bhushan: Campus Beats tops my watchlist. I think I have watched both the seasons atleast 12 or 13 times because I like to analyse it. But Slum Golf and Crushed are also on my list.
The season finale is now available to stream on Amazon miniTV.