Love, money and desire are mandatory for a person to lead a happy, secure and stress-free life. But what if these three elements wreak havoc? Netflix's upcoming web series Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein explores how a man's life is turned upside down when a woman obsesses over him to fulfill her desire for love. The Siddharth Sengupta directorial stars Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi and Anchal Singh in the roles of Vikrant, Shikha and Purva.
Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is set to premiere on Netflix on January 14. Ahead of its release, Tahir, Shweta and Anchal spoke about the series in an exclusive interview with PeepingMoon. Talking to us, the trio opened up about what makes Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein relatable, the beauty of pulp fiction stories and taking inspiration from Shah Rukh Khan.
Excerpts from the interview:
Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is about obsessive love. What makes the show relatable?
Tahir: At the core of it, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is about a simple love story that wants to be fulfilled. Regardless of what generation watches it, we have really wanted something to work out. It is about an ordinary guy in an extraordinary circumstance and because of that, he has to change himself. There is the thrill of watching someone, who, you are hopefully rooting for, is not getting what he is wanting and you want him to get that. This is what keeps the story moving forward and also changes the story from a romantic drama to a thriller and then psychological drama.
Is grey the new white in Indian cinema?
Shweta: I believe it is time to explore all colours and shades. There is nothing like pure white and black, not even humans then why should that be on the screen? Earlier, that wasn't the case but now it is important to show the reality and characters you can relate to. For me, it is important to feel a character. 'Mehsoos' is an important emotion for me. I want the audience to be with my character on the journey when I present a story.
Anchal: We had many boundaries when it comes to the portrayal of characters. Humans go through a lot of emotions but when it comes to showing that on-screen, why restrict? An on-screen character is a reflection of what is happening around us. There should be freedom when it comes to art.
Pulp fiction is more of a Hollywoodish concept. With content like Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein & Haseen Dillruba coming up, can we call this a much-awaited wave of pulp fiction stories?
Tahir: Pulp as a genre means anything that is heightened to the point where you take everyday occurrences and amplify them so much that they become massively entertaining. It has existed in India in the writing of Salim-Javed and in a lot of cinema in the ‘80s and ‘90s. What’s interesting to watch in the titles mentioned in your question, is how today’s technology, music, acting, writing is using that genre and giving that a new life.
Shweta: We as Indians love masala, chahe voh humare khane mein ho ya kahaniyon mein. I feel, not because we are a part of it, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein has everything that one would want to watch in our show. I believe India was always ready for pulp fiction. Now, the fun part is we are upgrading it. It is important to be relevant while you are using the same ingredients.
Anchal: Siddharth Sengupta, our director, always said that Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is an ode to the cinema he grew up watching. In the ‘90s, we had a lot of pulp, which means juicy stuff put together using songs, dance, romance, drama etc. As an audience, I have always enjoyed that. Though Hollywood presents it beautifully, we have an advantage because our content is supported by great music.
Tahir, to an extent, your character seems to be inspired by Shah Rukh Khan’s character in Darr....
The overall theme of Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is inspired by the ‘90s and not one particular character. What the ‘90s symbolises to me is a single screen theatre and the fact that you could go in and be assured that you’ll see amazing dance sequences, fight scenes, passionate love and high drama. It is a tribute to that form of cinema. I’m looking forward to the audience seeing a different aspect of my acting because I am doing romance for the very first time. What better than to have not one but two actresses to romance?
Anchal, playing a grey dark character is a challenge that comes with enough responsibility. Were you sceptical about signing the role of Purva?
No, not at all. As an actor, I don’t want to get stuck to one particular genre or think about what I should do and what not. I am at a point in my career where I don’t have choices at all. If I audition for something and if it comes through, it does happen. Purva, in particular, has many shades and grey is just one of the elements that you see. Purva has a journey. You need to understand why she is taking a step in a particular direction and what's the purpose behind her 'grey' approach. In Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein, you’ll also see a beautiful side of Purva. She is in love with Vikrant and all she desires is his presence in her life. She wants to marry him and grow old with him. Yes, this does sound old-school but after all, he is her first crush. When she doesn't get him, the grey shade shines. The journey of the character is very rich.
Shweta, what makes Shikha different from all the other characters you played in the past?
Shikha is driven by love. She will do everything for Vikrant whom she is in love with and has imagined her whole life with him. She likes her life to be safe and simple. Uske life mein aisa toofan aata hai jiski vajah se kuch bhi sweet aur simple bachta hi nahi hai. Shikha is brave in a different way. She is mentally strong because of the situation she is put in. Shikha and Vikrant love each other but the world will never let them be together. It needs strength to put your loved ones before you. None of my characters were driven or passionate about relationships.