Siddharth Sengupta on 'Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein': "Television is too conservative for a story like this"

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#Anahata Menon, #Shweta Tripathi, #Siddharth Sengupta (also the director), #Tahir Raj Bhasin, #Varun Badola, #Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein

Tahir Raj Bhasin and Shweta Tripathi in ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen’.

Fresh off the success of 83, in which he played Sunil Gavaskar, Tahir Raj Bhasin is now looking forward to sharing the character of Vikrant Singh Chauhan, a mild-mannered small-town boy with simple dreams, who is the central character in Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein. But his modest desire to land a good job and marry his sweetheart, Shikha (Shweta Tripathi), capsizes when a dangerous local politician’s daughter Purva (Anchal Singh) starts obsessively desiring him. The eight-part Netflix show also stars Saurabh Shukla, Arunoday Singh, Brijendra Kala and Surya Sharma.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Creators of the show Siddharth Sengupta (also the director), Anahata Menon and Varun Badola spoke about the genesis of the drama-thriller and why they waited 20 years to make it.

Why did you wait 20 years to make this show?

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Siddharth: This story was one of our favourites, and we had no option but to wait. It was an episodic story, and when we first thought of it, there was only television at the time and television is too conservative for a story like this. Thankfully OTT happened.

Anahata: This was one of the ideas that stuck with us, and we felt it was not ready till now. And yes, the television format is more conservative and some ideas require a gestation period. We nurtured this over 20 years because nothing presented itself but today we are on Netflix (from January 14, 2022) which is the best way to tell this story. We have an amazing canvas and an amazing reach.

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Siddharth: Varun and I have collaborated on Undekhi, so this is not the first show we have done.

As long-time creators of content for television, how different is it creating episodic content for OTT?

Siddharth: The ask for each one is different. You need 100 episodes minimum to tell a story for a daily soap format, so the engagement is different and so is the way of writing. But having done this for a while (Saaksshi, Balika Vadhu, Apharan) we do know how to chapterise a story. In a web series, there is a beginning, a middle and an end whereas in TV there is only a beginning because you don’t know where the story will end.

Anahata: Web shows are compact, binge-worthy, they keep attention and move at a certain pace.

Varun, in what way is Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein unlike other love triangle/ gangster stories?

I would say that not many shows have the kind of pace this show has. Doing TV is not easy, but Siddharth’s style of storytelling and pace are suited for OTT. At a basic level you can say all love stories and underworld stories are the same, but what sets this one apart is the pace and a hook every two or three scenes. Each show that we have made till now is based on Murphy’s Law – that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. This show is also based on the same adage.

Siddharth, how did you cast these characters?

I wanted a person who looks like one of us yet has charisma and is vulnerable. Tahir’s part is the toughest because we are following his trajectory. He has put in a lot of homework in order to get into that state. Saurabh Shukla wrote and acted in my first show and Brijendra Kala and I have worked together for ages.

Varun suggested Anchal. Both she and Surya were in Undekhi. Arunoday is my guy from Apharan and he’s fantastic. Anant Joshi who plays Golden is the surprise package.

It’s interesting that Tahir’s character Vikrant is the milder one, without agency, while Purva has all the power.

Anahata: She is a character with a mix of desire and power. And Vikrant doesn’t seem to have agency because it’s taken from him. It is a game that is played against the backdrop of these two classes. Her love for him and desire to possess him has a lot to do with where she comes from.

Siddharth: The idea for the show came from this: If you are on the wrong side of the powerful, it is a problem. But what if they love you, and you don’t? That’s the basis of this story – a love that is more problematic than hate.

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