Tell us about ‘Ek Thi Begum 2’ …
Those who have seen the first season, know that it is the continuation of it. People who have seen the trailer can get an idea of how she (Anuja Sathe) is changing the name again and following the same thing. She was behind Maqsood in the first season. This time it is more difficult for her with more chances on the way, but she overcomes all difficulties. It is wonderful that this time different actors and characters have appeared; it is bigger and better safe.
Your character was not part of Season 1. Tell us about your role.
Three or four characters have been added to the show in the second season. My character is very important in the series, and I had a great time being a part of it. I’ve done a variety of different negative characters, but this one has different nuances. The writing was that people should be afraid of Nari Khan. I’ve tried to maintain that aura throughout the show; in real life I’m a completely different person, but sometimes you have to do what the character demands. My makeup was different, I was presented differently and the way the photos were taken was different too.
I have had a great time working with all the actors: Anuja, Shahab, Rajan ji, Vijay ji and the people with whom I have shared the screen. It was incredible! It was a wonderful experience. I’m sure the first season is seen and loved by everyone, and they would be ready for the second season.
How excited are you about the show?
I am very excited because I have been part of the shoot since January and it is already nine or ten months. I had a great time and really wanted to shoot. On the first day of shooting, I had a scene with Shahab and I think that was the last scene for me from the series I shot on the first day. It was a scene of eating chicken; I had to eat eight plates of biryani for that! We had a great time, especially in Manali; It was amazing to be part of a series where I met such wonderful people.
What kinds of projects attract you?
Anything that challenges me, when I’m nervous about doing a particular character, it’s a challenge. I hope I can do things that are out of my comfort zone every time I take on a role. I look at the character chart and if it’s something I haven’t done before. I’ve done quite a few negative characters in the past as well, but this one is different from all of them. There are some upcoming projects where I will be playing a few different characters that are challenging for me as an actor and were out of my comfort zone.
Any new age filmmakers you want to work with?
Why anyone, I want to work with all filmmakers. I want to work with Farhan (Akhtar). They are the trendsetters; Movies like ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ are wonderful movies that appeal to young people. I really want to work with them. There was a time when everything was completely fictional and films larger than life, but now things have changed and people are opting for real life stories like biopics. I was part of ‘Shershaah’ and got a wonderful response. I hope to work with all the filmmakers who are not making a commercial masala movie. For a character there must be growth as an actor; a role should be a challenge.
What do you have to say about the emerging OTT space?
It is a wonderful platform; Thanks to OTT, creators and actors have another platform to tell their stories to the world. Creators who are creative and talented may not be endorsed, and yet they can post the content to OTT and people can view it whenever they want. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore and interpret characters. I don’t think anyone should be reluctant to participate in OTT because at the end of the day, as a performer, whether we perform on stage, theater, radio, television, movies, or series, we are just performers. We as actors have trained for so many years and been through a lot of difficulties, so we like to be seen on screen no matter what platform it is.
You have worked with Akshay kumar in ‘Kesari’, ‘Laaxmi’ and ‘Jolly LLB 2’. What is he like as an actor as an individual?
In the 90s, when I was in school and learning martial arts, he was my idol. It was amazing when I found myself Jackie Chan for the first time for the movie ‘Vanguard’. It was a dream come true. As for Mr. Akshay Kumar, he is the most disciplined actor in the industry and also the fittest; it has been an inspiration to me since my childhood. I had the opportunity to meet him and work with him, which was amazing. Whenever he is around, it is a completely different atmosphere: he jokes during breaks … there are no dull moments. Everyone is happy that he is on time and he is leaving on time. It’s amazing working with people who are disciplined, work so hard, and are consistent. He has certain techniques that he follows and that also helps us.
What’s next for you?
Yes, there are some projects that are in sight. I am filming some movies. There is ‘Mission Majnu’, where I play a different character. There is also a Malayalam movie, of which I am a part, as the main negative character. I also had to speak a few lines in Malayalam, which was very difficult, but somehow I managed to do it. Then there is a web series called ‘Invisible Women’ with Suniel Shetty, sir. I did a directorial movie ‘Number 17’ that will be released later this year. Hopefully, it will get a release on OTT. I am also working with Netflix; I have shot for them in Kashmir and some shots and portions are pending.
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