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Exclusive! Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein actors Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi, Anchal Singh on pulp-fiction inspired series set in the heartland of India

Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi and Anchal Singh also defined what the pulp genre means to them.

Aishwarya Vasudevan
Jan 14, 2022
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Netflix India is flagging in the new year with Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein, a show that fits right into the pulp fiction genre. The series, directed by Sidharth Sengupta, stars Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi Sharma, and Anchal Singh. Ahead of its release, OTTplay caught up with the lead actors for a tête-à-tête wherein they spoke about this genre and their favourite movies in it. Besides this, Tahir talked about playing the hero and having two leading ladies. While Shweta and Anchal shared their thoughts on their strong female characters in the story set in the heartland of India.

Excerpts:

Anchal, your character is very twisted in the series. What intrigued you to take up this part?

Anchal: First of all, I'm fortunate that I could be a part of this story and I got such a huge opportunity to play this role. Yes, it is twisted, and it has a lot of layers and many shades. When I was playing this character, the only thing I had in my mind was that there was this girl who had been in love with this boy since childhood. She wants to pursue that and spend her full life with him. So the twist and all the things that happen thereafter are what she's completely oblivious to. But it's interesting to see the turns of events that take place because of her love for Vikrant (Tahir).

Shweta, you have been a part of this world of OTT since it was very niche. You have been doing each role uniquely, so they are distinct from each other. What still excites you about this world?

Shweta: You know what excites me, the story, be it on any platform or any medium. When it is being narrated, will I enjoy it as an audience? I need to enjoy it. I need to relate to the character and it needs to be challenging. What I love about OTT is how there are so many flavours and how the characters are so colourful. Even as actors, it is so satisfying. Generally, every medium has its pros and cons. The storytelling on OTT stretches from eight to nine episodes, and you have to do homework up to that limit. You have to be mentally, physically, and psychologically prepared as feature films are just two to three hours long, so it's very easy to keep track of what's happening. But when there are so many episodes and there are so many layers, characters, plots, and subplots, it's so much fun because it's like learning science and you get to know about all other subjects too. You have to do justice to the character not only for yourself or for the story, but also your co-actors.

Tahir, you are in the leading hero space right now with all your upcoming projects. How are you liking this space, and Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein?

Tahir: It's amazing. It's my first time on OTT, and it's the first time I am playing a romantic part and romancing two women. I mean, romancing one and being romanced by the other. It's a lot of first chapters that are happening, and I'm very excited because on an OTT like Shweta and Anchal were saying, you just get a lot more time to explore the character. There is a lot more character growth and a lot more depth that happens. Also, you are interacting with so many more characters because of the nature of the script. Vikrant's character is written in such a way that he finds himself in every kind of relationship and it keeps on transitioning throughout the journey; that makes it incredibly challenging.

While growing up, did you guys come across any pulp fiction novels or movies? Are there any that you enjoy(ed)?

Tahir: Baazigar, for one, which is so pulpy. There are several films, but Pulp Fiction is also a good one, for starters, and I think what I like about pulp tropes is that they're not even trying to be realistic. It takes pride in its stylisation, whether that is in the music, whether it is in the sharp edit cuts or the slightly larger than life kind of writing. Abroad they call it pulp, here we call it masala. There are a lot of moments where you are sort of tipping your hat to 90s Bollywood, whether it is the theme of the show of someone loving you and you loving someone else or the revenge drama that it eventually turns into. Just how it jumps so many genres and the music, of course, of the series.

Shweta: For me, pulp is like a golgappa chat, and Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein fits the bill.

What do you think links these stories to the heartland of India?

Shweta: I think when a place adds character, that adds a lot to a story. Even as actors, it helps us a lot too. Heartland has a simplicity about it, and I think a lot of people relate to that. So yeah, that is a fun bit of it. Also, with the dreams and the power, you get all types of people there. Bombay and Delhi will be very different, unless you're showing a very different story of different sections of society. But heartland, I think the majority of the audience connects with the relatability there, and that's the beauty of it.

A lot of times, these stories have very strong female characters who may or may not be right in their own ways. In a situation like this, how does the character Tahir’s balance his perspective towards what he wants to choose or whether he really has a choice in that case?

Tahir: Romancing two of them was challenging because the series is not shot in a linear fashion at all. I would go in and on the same day, you're shooting a scene from Episode Seven and Episode One. You have a really romantic scene with Shikha's (Shweta) character, and you could have a conflict scene with Anchal's character. At one level, Vikrant (Tahir) is doing a seesaw of emotions. But even as a person, there is a see-saw in your mindset that you need to handle. The series is not short of 30 or 40 days, it's close to 100 days of shooting, which is carried over seven months. So to hold on to that, it's both a challenge and needs balancing.

Anchal: You're right, both Purva (Anchal) and Shikha (Shweta) are madly-deeply in love with a man who happens to be the same person. They want to spend the rest of their lives with him. But the difference is how they approach love and to what extent they can go to get the love. As for Purva (Anchal), I can say that everything is fair in love and war. That's how she approaches her love, and I like these different takes on the same thing, and how a poor man is sort of stuck. His story was centered around these two women, in love with him but with completely different powers and different ideologies towards life. How passionately I want to pursue it with him to the extent that I don't care, in some places, what's happening in his life and what consequences he has to face. So there is a very childlike and naive quality to Purva (Anchal), and at the same time, she is a powerful woman and self-centered. I loved playing that.

Shweta: Whatever you do in life, it should be full of passion, and especially love, which is a very strong emotion. It's a beautiful emotion, and Purva (Anchal), Shikha (Shweta), and Vikrant (Tahir) are all in love. It's beautiful because they've interpreted love in very different ways. That's how it should be. Obviously, life is not easy, without twists and turns. What's fun in life? What you were saying about the female characters: it's so exciting right now because the parts are being written, they are being performed, and it's fun to do challenging stuff, which a lot of us are getting a chance to do. It's a great time to be a part of the industry, and it's a great time to be in the audience as well. Now you have menu cards of different cuisines, and we, as an audience, are also in a great place.

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