Ankur and Varun Tewari play the roles of Abhimanyu and Pranay in Broachara season 2.
Last Updated: 04.23 PM, Apr 24, 2022
Ankur Rathee has joined Brochara’s second season as Abhimanyu and he has already made headlines by playing a man who gets intimate with other girls but has a very real problem at hindsight – erectile dysfunction. We caught up with Ankur and Varun Tewari and spoke about their character graphs in Brochara 2 (including Ankur’s intimate scene and the discussion that follows). Excerpts…
Ankur, you are the latest addition to Brochara. Tell me all about it. Did you feel welcomed from first day or took time to get in with the boys?
Unfortunately, I was tested positive for COVID-19 and we were rehearsing on Zoom. So, when we first met, it was directly on the sets. We instantly became friends, which never happened with me previously. It was Brochara in real life.
Varun, in the whole series, honestly, apart from Ankur, yours is the most sane and relatable story. While Ankur shows how most guys or girls could remain single even at a certain age because of certain situations they have faced in the past, you are married and have this complicated life. It is a roadblock that every married couple hits after one given point. Whose idea was it to bring that aspect to the show and everything that unfolds after it?
It was written beforehand of course. Like you said, Pranay's character is most relatable and I felt the same way. There are so many couples living together and trying to move ahead in their relationship. We've tried to encapsulate all the problems they face - from budgets being divided to a new house being set up and just communication being a major hassle for the couple. Yes, you're right, Pranay's track is pretty relatable and it's all thanks to our writers.
Ankur, you show a very real problem - dysfunction. It's not completely in-the-face and has been dealt with almost sensitively. While your friends make fun of it, it somewhere is because you have given them the right to do it. So was this topic discussed during your character sketch or introduced later?
This was also a part of the script. What I loved is that this was discussed in depth - about why is this happening, what is the root cause and what is the solution to it? We tied it back to where he is at mentally. Is he lonely, dealing with a breakup, sad, depressed? There are so many things which can cause this issue. We (writers, myself, director) made a choice after giving it long thought.
Now I understand that you are an actor but you know, shooting such scenes, especially because you are already intimate with someone, the mood has set and then, there this big reveal and someone can judge you or laugh at the situation when it is so sensitive, was there any such fear or you somewhere felt uncomfortable in shooting that scene?
I had the good fortune of doing intimate scenes on screen and stage so I'm pretty comfortable with it. For me, the first major goal is that my co-actor should feel very comfortable. That was the first thing - I had a long discussion with her to speak up if she felt uncomfortable. It should be a creative space and the actors should do what feels natural to them. When you look at things creatively, naturally you don't get nervous or anxious. The embarrassment I felt was not because of people watching the intimate scene but what is happening with the character. This character is trying to be manly but he's not even able to get an erection. I just played the truth of the character. I wasn't particularly thrown off by someone being on sets.
One thing I absolutely loved about Brochara was the scene where the men come together and talk about the condition and give fruitful advice and make it so real, before of course, turning it into a joke because they are friends. Now talking about the previous bit, Ankur, you have been on a show like Undekhi where there's Rinku paaji who is the sher puttar and all and then you have this, where the men talk about and show their vulnerability after something that happens to your character. What was your instant reaction to the scene? Because, like I said, I loved it and think that men should also be able to be vulnerable at times, even if it is in front of their yaar.
We associate too much of manhood with this organ. We feel that it is all about being a man. It is such a real cultural stereotype, which you need to break. You also felt good that four men can sit down and talk about such a vulnerable thing. If someone has another issue - virus, disease, COVID. I wish we could sit down and talk about it all. (Talking about dysfunction or being erectile dysfunction) isn't so shameful. The writers wrote it in a way to set an example. You also spoke about the humour that comes with the scene. It's a natural way for people to deal with difficulty and challenges - by relying on humour. I was very excited when I first read the script for that scene. I thought it was written in a way that was very responsible for people who were watching.
So you mean that everything was written and nothing was spontaneous, right?
Yeah. We never went outside of the scene's parameters. There were minor changes but if and where we could play around in the scene, we did. That was always a discussion with your director. It wasn't a long series. We couldn't dedicate six-seven hours to the show and the script was tight anyway. There were certain things we needed to hit.
Varun, since your introduction, you are seen as the religious and obedient guy who simply follows the rules set by the society but since you are in Brochara, of course, there's a wild side to you too. Do you think we will get to see that in season 3 probably?
(Laughs) I hope so. Main bhi kataar mein hoon. I hope season 3 comes out and receives the love like season 2 and I hope I'm there in the season. We did tap into Pranay's wild side when he got drunk. I would have loved to explore his lighter side more and hoping that happens with the third season.
Tell me about the fight scene, when in the club Ankur crosses the line in a way. How did that unfold?
Like Ankur said, when a scene comes to you and you start approaching a scene, you start feeling like the character. I approached it like that. I have been in parties and gathering where this could have happened. Here, my wife was also there. This was the first celebration they had in office. It was pretty simple on paper. We knew there will be pulling of leg and Pranay wouldn't like it. We played it to the word. We were so comfortable with each other that these kind of things weren't troublesome as such and it was mostly just fun.
The way that Pranay behaved after Abhimanyu called him names, that could have been because there was a girl, his wife at the table. If she wasn't there, Pranay probably wouldn't have bothered much. Do you feel the same way? Did you discuss that with your director?
When the friends go to Abhimanyu's house, they all pull Pranay's leg. It's a constant. He takes it in fun. The presence of his wife definitely changed a lot of things because sadly, there's a male ego which exists. It's what triggered Pranay.
A: I really like that scene.
V: When Shiv came up with 'thanda appraisal', that was an improv.
A: I like seeing men apologize to each other on-screen because we see it so rarely in real life and obviously, on screen. It's rare to see two guys say I did wrong and want to ask for an apology. The max we would here is 'are we good' and then you move on.
V: The scene becomes complete after Abhimanyu calls Pranay back and apologizes. It becomes beautiful after that.
What are your upcoming projects?
A: I'm shooting for Shehzada with Kartik Aaryan, Kriti Sanon, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala and Ronit Roy. It's been a very fun experience. It's one of those big blockbuster films and so, the shooting and acting style is also different. In Brochara, we play into a reality that we recognise. Some genre in cinema is more fantasy and larger-than-life. It's interesting for me to transition into that actor in life. It's an action-comedy.
What about Undekhi and Brochara season 3?
I'm not sure. I hope there is a season 3 but I haven't been told anything yet.
Varun, what do you have at hand at the moment?
There are two Dice (Media) shows that are going to be out in May. One is PFA with Ayush Mehra and Barkha Singh in the lead. I get introduced in season 3 of that one. I'm also a part of Bravehearts, which is an anthology. It has five short films related to defence. I come from an army background so I just latched onto it. Even that will be out in May. It's related to a true story so that will be fun. There's a short film which is in dubbing right now. It isn't titled yet but it's quite dark so I'm quite excited for that.