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Gaurav Shukla (PC: Instagram)
Asur 2 on Jio Cinema has garnered immense praise from across the nation for outstanding performances and an uncanny plotline. Created and written by Gaurav Shukla, the mythological thriller series stars Arshad Warsi, Barun Sobti, Ridhi Dogra and Anupriya Goenka in pivotal roles.
In a recent chat with OTTplay, talking about the cast, story, inspiration and upcoming season, Shukla shared about his journey in making the hit web series. Excerpts:
How did the idea of Kalki vs Kali and keeping forensics as a pivotal part come to your mind?
It started with the concept of a forensic mentor prodigy solving a crime being in captivity. We wanted to incorporate a serial killer rooted in Indian mythology, which led us to Kali. We thought it would be interesting to explore the clash between Kalki and Kali in the narrative.
Why did you choose the name Asur?
The name Asur was chosen because it aligned with the philosophical theme of the show. The main antagonist's thought process and worldview were the driving force behind the name selection.
Apart from basic research, did you travel to different places to gain knowledge for the show?
No, I didn't have to travel extensively because I am from Varanasi, which provided me with a good understanding of the local culture. I have also lived in Delhi, so I didn't need to visit those places specifically to gain the necessary insights.
The characters in the show have incredibly nuanced personalities. How much time did it take to complete the entire script?
For Season 2, it took around 6-7 months to write the entire script. However, even after completing Season 1, the characters were always a part of my thought process. The development of their personalities goes beyond just the act of physically writing them down.
Did you expect the show to become such a hit across digital platforms in India, considering the unpredictable nature of OTT audiences during the initial days?
I had expectations that the show would resonate with the audience. However, I always write intuitively and from my heart, without any guarantee of success. I purely rely on my instincts while creating content. I approach every show I create with the belief that it will resonate with viewers and make a connection.
Ironically, the antagonist's name in the show is Shubh, which means auspicious. What was the reason behind choosing this name?
The name Shubh was chosen because the antagonist believed that he was reforming the world. There is a philosophical reason behind it. Sometimes, parents give us names with positive connotations, and it serves as an interesting contrast in this context.
Do you feel that OTT platforms provide more creative liberty to make visually appealing content?
I don't think it's solely because of OTT platforms. Similar creative work can be achieved in cinema as well. The freedom to explore visually exciting narratives exists in both mediums. However, OTT platforms do provide the liberty to present fresh and unique perspectives without the pressure of box office success.
When can we expect Asur 3? Is the script ready, or has the shoot already begun?
As of now, Asur 3 is not even in development. We are considering the possibility, but nothing concrete has come up yet. If something exciting comes our way, we will certainly explore it.
Will we see female antagonists in upcoming seasons?
At this moment, I'm not sure. The direction of the story and the characters will depend on the creative choices we make for future seasons.
What are your upcoming projects after Asur 2?
I am currently working on an espionage period drama for Netflix, and I am also developing a futuristic vigilante drama script. These are my upcoming projects post-Asur 2.