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OTTplay Exclusive! Girija Oak: Cartel is a commercial potboiler

Actress Girija Oak makes some 'shor' in the households with her role in the action-drama series.

Shaheen Irani
Aug 24, 2021
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Girija Oak.

Actress Girija Oak is back and this time as the loveable Rama in the web series Cartel. Playing the role of Jitendra Joshi's wife, she has left quite an impact on the audience. Girija feels that it is the script and the way Rama has been written, which translates beautifully on screen.

OTTplay got in touch with the actress and exclusively spoke about her work on the web show, experience working with Supriya Pathak and how the Marathi film industry works differently from its Hindi counterpart, while also leaving hints about her future projects.

Excerpts from the interview...

How did Cartel happen?

I got a call about the show getting made. There were two different parts I was approached for but eventually, Rama worked out because I'm more like her. I got a brief and then the whole script. I really like Rama, so there was no difficulty portraying her.

Did you have to audition for the role as well?

I didn't have to, actually.

In the past, we have seen wives of gangsters also being highlighted like Shefali Shah in Satya. Are you expecting the same kind of response for Cartel?

It's a comparison but I'm sure people will like Rama because she isn't a typical wife or a mother. She has a very interesting personality. There's something about her that is quirky, unusual and nice. She has a personality of her own and isn't your typical gangster's wife but a wife that even a gangster is scared of. Rama has a great bond with the rest of the family too.

Were you be able to relate to the character of Rama?

Yes. Rama is very much like me. I also come from a 'mad' family and so I had to be a little 'mad' myself to be able to survive in that atmosphere. Rama has this thing in her too that helps her get along with her family. In that aspect, we are similar.

How is Cartel different from Shor In The City?

They have completely different ideas and approaches. Shor In The City is about the wrong things happening around us and at the same time, exploring the raw and flawed human beings. It was a different approach. Cartel is a lovely watch. It's like a Behrouz Biryani. It has the elements of a commercial potboiler. It has a love story, action and is glossier and weirdly fun to look at. There's nothing raw about Cartel, unlike Shor In The City.

This marks your debut in the Hindi web series. What's the experience been like?

I had worked with Jitendra Joshi a lot before. We worked on plays and films together. Our scenes were fun for us and other people to watch. We all became a family. We would chill with each other every night after the pack up. We would sing and play instruments. We all really got along. I met Rithvik's sister and we connected. I found some really cool friends on sets, despite it being the first time that we met.

What was working with Supriya Pathak like?

I'm her huge fan. I've been watching her work since I was young and I really like her work. We never really got to talk to each other until the last day of the shoot. It was in July when we were sitting in a park the entire day and interacted. She's such a sweet person. She told me about how shoots were earlier, her different experiences and online shopping. I hope we get to explore more of her work because she's such a phenomenal actor.

How different would you say are the Hindi and Marathi industries?

Marathi is a regional industry, so it's got a very different approach. A lot of things differ creatively and scale-wise. The Marathi content is region-centric. Hindi, on the other hand, is a general language. For me as an actor though, there isn't much of a difference.

What are your views on OTT censorship?

Censorship is a misunderstood term for everybody. It's not that you can't do something. It's a tag that a certain thing can be watched by these people and not by some other people. Censorship is a certification (U, A etc.) It needs to be taken in the right sense. But in the end, it's at the viewer's discretion whether they want to watch it or not. Any kind of art needs to be presented in such a way that viewers can make that choice for themselves. People and even board members of the certification board should understand censorship properly.

Your upcoming projects?

I'm shooting for a Netflix film. I also have another project starting in November.

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