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Exclusive! Ravi Dubey on Matsya Kaand's comparisons with Money Heist, update on Jamai Raja 2.0 and more
Shaheen Irani
Nov 21, 2021
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Matsya Kaand - Ravi Dubey.

Ever since Matsya Kaand's trailer dropped and Ravi Dubey was seen as Professor, various netizens started comparing the web-series to the critically acclaimed Money Heist. The lead actor cleared the air on the same. Not just that, he also gave an update on his TV show-turned-web series Jamai Raja 2.0 and much more in an exclusive chat with OTTplay. Excerpts:

Talking about the name of Professor, were you prepared about comparisons with Money Heist?

He's not always called Professor. It was done for a completely different reason. Zoya's character Urvashi is the only one who calls him Professor. The way of calling him has nothing to do with the Internationally-acclaimed show. Both the shows are very far from each other. This is more heartland and daily with our daily life and world.

This whole conning with new getups is something we have seen in films like Dhoom 2 and Bunty Aur Babli so far. Since it is a very hit concept, is that what attracted you to doing the show?

I was attracted much before I got to know that prosthetics are going to be involved.

So you mean it wasn't initially a part of the script?

No, actually I received the script much later. I got three lines of my character sketch at first. Ever since I knew what this guy was all about, I wanted to do the role. Somewhere, there's a little bit of me who's a lot like Matsya. He's essentially a disciple. He observes and learns from things around him. That part of the character felt a lot like me. I also seize every opportunity to learn a little bit of something. Sometimes it might contribute to one's thinking or perspective.

You said that you learn a lot as a person. So tell me, what is it that you took back from Matsya Kaand?

A lot of patience. I touched an entirely new tangent of patience. The credit goes to the prosthetics of the show. At a time when our attention span and engagement is all of 15 seconds, it's why the world of TikToks and reels work. In a way, sitting in one place for five hours is very meditative and therapeutic. Your real test of patience starts once you are moving. Whether you have an itch, irritation or sweat on your face, you can't cater to it. You can't eat food, have a restricted amount of water, your speech is limited and you have to keep your temperament completely in check and be effective as a brand new character. You have the dialogues and accent to work on. His walk, talk and body language is different. It was a spiritual experience more than a day on shoot.

Did you have to go through some special training for the character?

We had workshops for two and a half months when we got together and attempted the dialects. We tried the prosthetics only once during the trials because it's not cost-effective to use them again-and-again. We would decide what works best with the dialects. For example, a guy from UP would get paan because it distorts the way of talking.

Did you take inspiration from real-life characters for the role?

Obviously. Everyone you see, is someone I have seen in my life. If not entirely, then just the body language, meek voice, way of talking etc. If you're willing observe and absorb, the world is a library. You can read every book if you want to.

Jamai Raja 2.0 and now Matsya Kaand, you appear to have completely switched from TV to OTT. Plus, like I mentioned you brought the dynamics of films (with Matsya) and TV (with Jamai Raja), won't you say?

If it's organically happening, it's a healthy thing. It's great if we can have that kind of a marriage. It's not the intention at all. If you have a strategy as a foundation stone, there is also some corruption that comes with it. However, if you're just there for the process as opposed to being there for the result, that's where the real bliss lies. I can't approach the LC1 strategy because I don't have enough statistical information. If it becomes a collateral benefit, I'll embrace it. Right now I just had a fantastic time playing Matsya. I just love this character.

While Matsya Kaand is coming on OTT, a similar concept - of conning people through various getups - is coming into theatres. Of course, I'm talking about Bunty Aur Babli 2. Do you believe the people will consider these two projects competitors?

I don't think so. The telling is completely different. As a 90s kid, cinema is synonymous to me with Manmohan Desai. It has to be larger-than-life, one-liner, long stares, classic background music, the high speed action scenes. This is something you can only see on screen. It captures your imagination. If you're a fan of that kind of cinema, you'll find Matsya Kaand different and very engaging. It will titillate the child in you.

When Jamai Raja 2.0 released, that is when Qubool Hai 2.0 released too. What do you personally feel about the trend of TV shows coming on OTT, since you have played a main part in that?

Someone decides they haven't tried a strategy, what if it works? If it does work, it starts a new line of thought entirely. People have to take these risks. It is out of these risks that something fruitful happens. The trend follows after that. Their strategy was marrying the TV and OTT audience. It's good to have taken these chances. If it works, good, if it doesn't, it's a learning.

Do you really believe they wouldn't work, since they are both successful TV shows?

Yeah but it's all about the telling, right? OTT viewers have a different mindset. People who haven't seen the shows, could also get engaged to it. It could have happened.

Are new episodes of Jamai Raja 2.0 coming up though?

I don't have a clue, to be honest. I just haven't felt so excited in a long time as I feel for Matsya Kaand. There's no envelope unpushed for the show. I've put my best foot forward and now I need everybody to watch it.

Whether it comes to gory scenes or use of abusive language, OTT has tried to be as real as possible. However, there were discussions about censorship on OTT. What is your stand on that?

I'm not in the capacity to have a very clear answer. What I can tell you though is that sometimes some scenes are necessary for the telling of the show or film. I don't think Wasseypur could be made if the characters weren't eccentric or real, as it was shown. It gave birth to a new genre in Indian cinema. It was important for that. Many times, makers add it even where these scenes are not needed. The government can regulate when they want to but we should regulate our shows and movies as individuals. The makers feel that there is more market for consumption like that and thus, they add a little violence, s** and profanity. That strategy should definitely be undermined. When the telling is absolutely necessary, it is a different subject. I'm fairly clear in that sense but it is not my decision to make.

Sargun switched to the Punjabi film industry and is a huge hit there. Do you have any such plans as well?

As a producer, yes. As an actor, not right now, because I can't speak Punjabi very well. I don't want to be in a space where I'm not giving 100% justice to the script. It could be a great telling but hero ko punjabi bolni nahi aati. It won't be fair to everybody's efforts. If I sound well, sure. I'm looking forward to that.

Your upcoming projects?

There are several in the OTT space. Unfortunately, I can't reveal much. I might talk about them in the fortnight.

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