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Exclusive! Gurmeet Singh: We were contemplating using Rehnuma instead of Masoom as the title for our web series

Gurmeet is one of the producers on Boman Irani's debut show.

  • Shaheen Irani

Last Updated: 05.16 PM, Jun 19, 2022

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Exclusive! Gurmeet Singh: We were contemplating using Rehnuma instead of Masoom as the title for our web series
Boman Irani, Samara Tijori in Masoom

Masoom producer Gurmeet Singh is on cloud nine ever since his project, Masoom, has become a hit with the viewers. The show, however, was going to have a different title previously. Gurmeet revealed the same and said that they were contemplating many titles but finalized on the one which is also an iconic film.

Apart from that, Gurmeet spoke about the original show, the Irish series called Blood, how Masoom is different from Tabbar and what was it like working on Bhoot Police. Excerpts…

What was the one thing that made you confident about Masoom?

The content is what becomes our driving force for any decision. You like the subject material, what is written and invest into it. Can't think too much into the future with any expectations. I just felt that it will be an interesting thing to portray on screen and would be fun to be a part of because it's not something we've done before. It's a show with very internal conflict and violence. It's a very different form of aggressive characters. It's a very subtle family, tense drama which is beautiful and poetic. That is very alluring. It is also set in Punjabi household which is where I come from, so there's an automatic connection. Mihir was able to translate the show so beautifully. It's a treat to watch. The show is really immersive.

Whose idea was the title? Because it is also the name of an iconic film.

Like casting, we had various options for the titles too. There's a lot of poetry and mood in the show. There were many options which were poetic. We were contemplating naming the series Rehnuma. The show itself, once it was made, we found within the show something that resonated with all the characters. The characters are important for us, like with any show. That's what you take back home. Each and every character, in their own way, are masoom. They might seem masoom to the others but might be hiding skeletons behind them. That's something we thought will work well with the show. It also has mainstream resonance of nostalgia. We thought that might help grab some eyeballs and attention.

Tell me about your collaboration with Mihir, which goes on since Mirzapur.

Anybody who gets a chance to work with Mihir would find themselves very fortunate. I was hungrier to work with him than other way around. We worked on two seasons (of Mirzapur) and now I get to see him in a show which he completely headlines. I get a chance to see his range. He's so young but he's very matured and sensitive. His asthetics are amazing. So this show, which required that nuance and sensitivity, whether it's emotions, music or visual depiction of mood or winter of Punjab, has panned out beautifully. In my mind, I was very clear that I would go ahead with Masoom only if Mihir were on board. It's tailor-made for him to pick it up. Thankfully, I sent it to him and he said yes in the first go. We continued our association from Mirzapur and I'm glad.

Masoom shows a completely different side of Boman Irani, who made his OTT debut with the project. How did you guys finalize on him for the role?

The most interesting story I keep telling people is that of Boman. The first time I got a chance to work with him was in 2006. Since then, after I became a director, I have approached him many times for shows and films. He's really welcoming and a gentleman and would sit us down and have brilliant conversations. He used to feed us brilliant Parsi food but never said yes to me.

When Masoom came around and we finished scripting and were going to start casting, Mihir and Namit (co-producer) suggested to go to Boman and try to pitch the role to him because he has the physicality for the role and intensity that has not been used for a while. It would be fun to see him play this character that has so many shades. We know he's a great actor who can definitely pull it off. I liked the idea but hesitated because he never agreed to work with me. We tried again nonetheless. We sent the script to him with no expectations because he also has a very packed calendar and we were pretty close to shooting when we sent it to him. It was a shot in the dark and co-incidentally that same evening, very surprisingly, he called and said that he read two pages of the script and wanted the narration. That was a big vote of confidence.

We went, narrated it to him, had zoom calls and went through the entire season. He really enjoyed the script and said he would work on the project. That process gave us a big boost and we were sure that our material is working and this would be a very epic and different show. It would be a different mood to a family-drama-thriller that we've been seeing all along. That's where the journey started.

If I ask you what is the selling point for Masoom, what would you say?

Performances and the actors. It's a fresh ensemble. There's definitely a huge mystery and thrill elements in the show which help in the OTT space. The family characters make you fall in love with them or hate them. It's what we hope will happen with the audiences as well.

When you guys started off, was there clarity regarding the OTT platform or it came around after the show was created?

Hotstar has been a partner from the get-go. So, it's been like that from day one.

Mihir did not watch the original Irish series Blood because he wanted to have a fresh perspective on Masoom. However, have you seen the show?

I've seen the original. Initially, when we started off, that was the reference point we had. When the adaptation started and Satyam started putting pen to paper, we just discussed the themes of the show and tried to not lean on the original show for anything. Once we had things in place, we wanted our characters to take the decisions and their journies had to be justified - who they were and where they came from - rather than the external material which was already available to them. We tried to do so very consciously and painstakingly. We adapted it and Satyam gave it a beautiful personality. Again, because I come from a Punjabi household, we set it in a Punjabi family with emotions and thoughts that I have seen and grown up with and relationships that I understand. We had a completely new entry of our own which was strong and effective. It didn't need a reference point for someone to watch or associate with.

Co-incidentally another family drama released in 2021. I'm talking about Tabbar. We can see the intensity in both the shows. What do you have to say about that?

There's a Sikh family so that is similar. There are external demons that harm the family and there are things they need to do to survive, in Tabbar. In Masoom, the culprits are internal. They have inter-family problems which is why there is conflict with each other. Tabbar is lot more poetic, moody and has got deeper emotions in a sense. Here, it is more to do with how we are either heroes or villains with our loved ones - parents and children.

What's the update on Mirzapur?

(Laughs) The season is announced and we'll be heading to shoot soon. I don't have the exact date right now but we're almost there.

Your upcoming projects?

I have Phone Bhoot starring Katrina, Siddhant and Ishaan.

What has your experience been with them?

It was a great experience. We're done with shooting. It is in the post-production and will release by the end of the year.

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