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Exclusive! Anya Singh on challenges to shoot Never Kiss Your Best Friend S2: Half of the team did not have visas to shoot in London

The ZEE5 series stars Singh and Nakuul Mehta in lead roles, alongside Karan Wahi, Sarah-Jane Dias, Jaaved Jaffri, and Nikki Walia, and others.

  • Akhila Damodaran

Last Updated: 01.05 PM, Apr 24, 2022

Exclusive! Anya Singh on challenges to shoot Never Kiss Your Best Friend S2: Half of the team did not have visas to shoot in London
Anya Singh in Never Kiss Your Best Friend 2

Anya Singh gained immense popularity with her portrayal of Tanie in the hit ZEE5 series, Never Kiss Your Best Friend. The show with an easy-breezy story about relationships and friendship etched in the minds of the people. Singh played the lead role, alongside Nakuul Mehta in the web series. And as Season 2 of the show is nearing its release, OTTplay caught up with the actor to know more about the show.

In an exclusive interview, Anya talks about the upcoming season, her experience shooting in the freezing cold of London, unable to step out and explore the city much also due to the pandemic and other challenges. She also talks about the OTT boom and how it has helped her as an actor and viewer. Excerpts:

Season two of Never Kiss Your Best Friend is coming. The trailer is out and it's getting really good responses. How do you feel?

I feel very happy. We have faced many challenges as a team to put this together. And people are appreciating and loving the show even after two and a half years. It really makes it very heartwarming for me.

The trailer looks really very interesting, I must say. And it looks like the story is going to get the more complicated with one-sided love and a love triangle. What more can the audience expect from the upcoming season?

The audience can expect a lot to happen. It's a much bigger family now. There are more members in the new season. So, obviously, a lot more would be happening. I can't tell you much. I request you to wait and watch it yourself. But it's going to be really different from season one. That's all I can say. The story, the world, the characters, everything is very different from season one. But the flavour of the show is kept intact. It's still about friendship and the questions that we have and the basic emotions we share as humans on a day-to-day basis.

And your character also seems to have grown and evolved. She's moved on in her life. She has become a famous author and is currently working on another book as well. Could you tell us a bit more about it?

Actually, it has evolved. But I wouldn't say for the better, in this season. In this season, you will see she's very laid back and more jolly. We've kept her body language purposefully a certain way to give that impression. She lacks ambition. She lacks direction in life. She's very confused. So she's in that phase now.

So it is as messed up as it is in Season One?

Tanie was the most sorted one between the two in Season 1. So yeah, the tables have turned this time. Sumer is the more sorted one.

How was the experience getting back together with the old team and also with some new cast members and working on the show?

It was absolutely wonderful. It was so refreshing. Everyone who comes in becomes a part of it and enjoys their part. Karan had watched season one and really enjoyed it. So he had a lot of input regarding his character. Sarah, whom I have never met or worked with before, was as jungly and goofy as me. Javed sir has the best sense of humour. Nicki ma'am is just so warm. She's like a ray of sunshine at every point in time, throughout the day. I don't know how that's possible. Nakuul and I share a wonderful equation. So getting back on set with him and working with him was amazing. Since we worked together before, we just knew each other's space so well. And everything got so much easier. That's the equation I share with him and I truly, really enjoy working with Nakuul.

You were earlier mentioning that it was a challenge to come together and put this up. So was it all because of the pandemic?

More so, it was shot in the biting cold. Firstly, half our team didn't have visas. So for the first 15 days, it was literally just the HOD taking over completely. And this time around, the family was much bigger, so there were more characters also. The rest of the team happened to join us much later into the shoot. I'd give my producers and my director a lot of credit for pulling this off, the way they did. And yes, then there was a pandemic. Nakuul and I got COVID at the same point in time. Sarah got it. Someone, Karan didn't. His immunity is non-questionable, for some strange reason. So there were a lot of challenges. It was not only the weather, it was the circumstances, it was not having most of your team and crew which makes such a big difference. But people enjoyed the trailer. So it's a great feeling.

What are your fond memories of the shoot?

My best memories are getting to be Tanie again because the moment I step into her shoes, I just really enjoy myself. The most beautiful part about Tanie is that she just says anything and she's just allowed to do that. Apart from that, due to the pandemic, we didn't step out too much. Also, outdoor shoots became very hectic. We maybe went and grab a meal once or twice when we stepped out but we had a good time. So those obviously are on the top of my list. And spending time with my co-actors was very nice.

Do you find Tanie relatable? Are you a lot like her in real life?

As I said, I love the fact that this character can say or do anything, and it's not wrong. So for me, the liberty to play the way I want to and say whatever I want happens very rarely because most times, you have to have a good judgment to give and make sense when you speak. So just to play this unfiltered, very real, flawed character, like we are as human beings, was great. I really enjoyed it. Oh, that's what I enjoy the most about the show actually.

Tanie speaks her mind...

She speaks her mind, whatever's on her mind without caring about whether it is right or wrong, whether it suits the situation or not.

The show also explores the friendship between Tanie and Sumer and revolves around the concept that a boy and a girl can never be friends. What's your personal take on it?

I personally have a lot of guy friends who are just friends, and there's nothing more to it and I think it gives a different perspective to life.

You made your acting debut with the film, Qaidi Bandi and later, you explored OTT. How was the transition? Did you find any difference working on a different format?

I don't think there's a huge difference because, on both mediums, you're still performing. You still have to be true to your character. You still have to enjoy the content, whether it's a film or a short story. You still have to give it 100%. I find personally that in films, the runtime is 1 hour and 30 minutes or 1 hour and 15 minutes. We have become quite short now because our attention span has also become like that. So, the only main difference is that I find on a show, I get to spend a lot more time with my character. The audience gets to spend more time with a character. So, maybe that's why they get more attached, or more invested in your characters, or the plotline of the show. Creatively, I feel like OTT gives a lot of liberty to the writers, the directors and the artists because there's no time constraint, per se.

And with more time to spend with a character on a web show, would you say OTT has helped you shape as an actor better?

I'm 100% sure it has because I personally feel you keep enhancing or working on your craft by performing also. So the more I perform, the more I get to play a character, my craft also becomes better. You get challenged as you're not always performing the same kind of scene, or emotions. So definitely, it does help.

What do you have to say about this OTT boom? Many people say that it has broken out of the box of this typical hero or heroine that we usually see in Bollywood movies. It has given lots of opportunities to different artists and audiences are also rediscovering talents on OTT.

You have answered my question without me having to answer. There are so many different platforms. And today, as a viewer, I don't care what platform the show is on as long as it's something that interests me. I will make the effort to go and switch on that platform and watch the show. I think from an audience's perspective, because of COVID, we've also gotten so used to sitting at home and watching TV at our own convenience. So I think a lot of factors from the audience's point have also changed. In terms of OTT, the third thing is that most films that come in theatres today do get a release on an OTT platform. As an audience, I know that also. So I think, OTT has given not only opportunities to artists, but also the viewers. I'm no longer stuck with three channels that I need to watch. I have more content that I get to pick and choose from and because there's so much content, artists have so many more opportunities.

Any updates on Kaun Banegi Shikharwati Season 2? Is that likely to happen anytime soon?

I honestly have no idea. But I do hope very soon.

Are you working on any other projects?

I am. You will get to see me more this year and beginning of next year. I have a web series and a movie.

Meanwhile, season 2 of Never Kiss Your Best Friend is all set to release on ZEE5 on April 29. Apart from Anya Singh and Nakuul Mehta, the upcoming season also features Karan Wahi, Sarah-Jane Dias, Jaaved Jaffri, and Nikki Walia, and others.