| Mumbai |
November 10, 2020 7:30:13 am
Crime drama Mum Bhai, starring Sikander Kher, Angad Bedi and Sandeepa Dhar, is set to release soon. The ALTBalaji-ZEE5 series is conceptualised by Apoorva Lakhia and directed by Akshay Chaubey.
Sikander Kher, fresh from the success of his web show Aarya, will be seen playing a south Indian gangster in Mum Bhai. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, the actor opened up about his latest project, the crime genre and working amid a pandemic.
Excerpts from the conversation:
What is Mum Bhai all about?
I really don’t want to tell you everything about it right now. All I can say is that it’s a very interesting story about friendship and this city (Mumbai). These two people are thick friends but on different sides of the law. It’s also very interesting, fun, fast-paced and has a lot of masala.
Tell us something about the role that you are playing.
I play Rama Shetty, a man who comes to Mumbai to make a name for himself. He is a very interesting character, and the best part is that you won’t be able to slot him into good or bad. He has various shades to himself, and I would want the audience to figure him out. However, being a don, he is cold and ruthless but loves his family dearly. He can go to any lengths to keep them happy. In short, Rama is a larger than life guy.
How did you prepare for the part? You are also speaking a different dialect.
Rama Shetty is Mangalorean, and I was keen on trying a specific dialect for him. To build a character that’s just on paper makes our job a lot more fun. However, I was sure that I would only do it if it looked effortless. So I sat with the team and worked on this, which just made the character more interesting. We worked on it and then I took it from there. The journey of becoming Rama was very interesting for me.
Cops and gangsters stories have been around for the longest time. It’s now almost a cliche. What new will this show have to offer?
I am someone who would even watch a story on a water bottle, towel or even a bag, if it’s interesting. One has to make sure it’s said well, and the viewers have fun. I am not talking about any specific genre, but overall it’s all about how you connect the audience to your story. Also, I think these choices are very subjective. It might be cliche for some but interesting for many.
Also, these larger-than-life dramas work on big screens, do you think it will on the OTT space too?
In today’s time and age, I don’t think many prefer sitting for hours and watching something. They always consume content on the go. I think if they like anything, and find it interesting, they will just hold their phones a little longer and watch it.
How was it working with Angad Bedi?
I have known him for a long time. He is a dear friend. We actually had a lot of fun during the shoot. We would hang around all the time and talk about all the things we have in common. Usually, there’s a lot of waiting during shoots, and when you have a friend along, it makes everything easier. Also, the chemistry translates on screen too.
You also shot some parts during the lockdown. How was that experience?
I think it’s something that you get used to at the end of the day. The important thing is to just look after yourself. Have your mask on, keep sanitising everything, and you are good to go. I remember when the makeup guy would come in, while he would have sterilized everything, I would still spray my sanitisers. I was a little extra cautious also because I had my dad at home. It’s unfortunate, but as humans, we tend to adapt to every situation we are put in. No one would have believed if anyone mentioned working this way a couple of years back. We have to work, and I think more work is happening during this time as people have realised it’s getting more viewership.
While most people enjoy this genre, there’s also a lot of criticism around the excessive violence being portrayed on screen. What’s your take on it?
I personally like comedy. And honestly, people should watch whatever they want to. And if they don’t like something, they should just change the channel. No one is forcing anyone to see something.
Since the show is set in the 90s, was it a time travel experience for you?
It did not make much of a difference as it was a job for me. I had to act my character in the given setting and production design. However, while watching it, if the viewers manage to be transported to the era, that will be a big achievement for me.
You garnered praise for your part in Aarya, and now you have Mum Bhai. Do you feel the web has a lot more to offer to actors?
I enjoy working and feel lucky that I can be an actor in any medium. OTT is just another area of employment for people needing work. And not just for actors, but filmmakers, technicians and writers, it has brought in more work for everyone. And that is commendable.
Also starring Priyank Sharma, Sameer Dharmadhikari and Sunny Hinduja among others, Mum Bhai will stream on ALTBalaji and ZEE5 from November 12.
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