The second season of filmmaker Sachin Darekar‘s web series ‘Ek Thi Begum‘ has been released on MX Player. The story is based on the life of Ashraf aka Sapna–the loving wife of Zaheer played by Ankit Mohan. The character has been brought to life on screen by Anuja Sathe. Recently, ETimes got in touch with Mir Sarwar who plays the negative role of Nari Khan in the series. Excerpts:
Tell us about ‘Ek Thi Begum 2’…
Those who have watched season one, know that it’s the continuation of the same. People who have watched the trailer might have an idea about how she (Anuja Sathe) is changing the name again and following the same thing. She was after Maqsood in season one. This time it’s more difficult for her with more odds on the way, but she overcomes all the difficulties. It is wonderful that different actors and characters have been introduced this time; it is bigger and better for sure.
Your character was not a part of season 1. Tell us about your role?
Three-four characters have been added to the show in season two. My character is a very important one in the series, and I had a great time being a part of it. I have done a variety of different negative characters but this one has different shades altogether. The brief was that people should be afraid of Nari Khan. I have tried to maintain that aura throughout the show; in real life I am a different person altogether, but sometimes you have to do what the character demands. My makeup was different, I was presented differently and the way shots were taken was different too.
I have had a great time working with all the actors: Anuja, Shahab, Rajan ji, Vijay ji, and the people whom I have shared the screen with. It was amazing! It was a wonderful experience. I am sure that season one is watched and loved by everybody, and they would be ready for season two.
How excited are you about the show?
I am very excited because I have been part of shooting since January and it’s about nine-ten months now. I had a great time and I was looking forward to shooting. On the very first day of the shoot, I had a scene with Shahab and I think that was the last scene for the series for me which I shot for the first day. It was a chicken-eating scene; I had to eat eight plates of biryani for that! We had a great time, especially in Manali; it was amazing to be a part of series where I met such wonderful people.
What kind of projects appeal to you?
Anything which challenges me, when I am nervous to do a particular character, it is a challenge. I look forward to doing things that are outside my comfort zone whenever I take up a role. I look at the character graph and if it is something that I have not done before. I have done quite a few negative characters in the past also but this one is different from all of them. There are some upcoming projects where I am playing some different characters which are challenging for me as an actor, and were out of my comfort zone.
Any new-age filmmakers you want to work with?
Why just any, I want to work with every filmmaker. I want to work with Farhan (Akhtar). They are the trendmakers; films like ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ are wonderful films which appeal to youth. I am really looking forward to working with them. There was a time where it was all completely fictional and larger-than-life films, but now things have changed and people are going for the real-life stories like biopics. I was part of ‘Shershaah’ and it got a wonderful response. I am looking forward to working with every filmmaker, who is not making a commercial masala movie. For a character there should be growth as an actor; a role should be challenging.
What do you have to say about the emerging OTT space?
It is a wonderful platform; because of OTT makers and actors have got another platform to tell their stories to the world. The makers who are creative and talented may not have backing and yet can release the content on OTT and people can watch it at their convenience. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore and play characters. I don’t think anybody should be reluctant to come on OTT because at the end of the day, as a performer, whether we are performing on stage, theatre, radio, TV, movies, or series, we are only performers. We, as actors, have trained ourselves for so many years and have gone through so much of hardships, so we like to be seen on screen no matter what platform it is.
You have worked with Akshay Kumar in ‘Kesari’, ‘Laaxmi’ & and ‘Jolly LLB 2’. How is he as an actor as an individual?
In the ’90s, when I was in school and learning martial arts, he was my idol. It was amazing when I met Jackie Chan for the first time for the film ‘Vanguard’. It was a dream come true. As far as Akshay Kumar sir is concerned, he is the most disciplined actors in the industry and fittest as well; he has been an inspiration for me since my childhood. I got an opportunity to meet him and work with him, which was amazing. Whenever he is around, it’s a completely different atmosphere–he cracks jokes during breaks… there are no dull moments. Everybody is happy that he will come on time and leave on time. It is amazing to work with people who are disciplined and work so hard and are consistent. He has certain techniques which he follows and that helps us too.
What’s next for you?
Yes, there are some projects which are in the offing. I am shooting some films. There’s ‘Mission Majnu’, where I am playing a different character. There is also a Malayalam film, which I am a part of, as the main negative character. I had to speak some Malayalam lines too, which was very difficult, but somehow I managed to do it. Then there is a web series called ‘Invisible Women’ with Suniel Shetty sir. I have made a directorial film ‘Number 17’ which will be released by the end of this year. Hopefully, it will get a release on OTT. I am also working with Netflix; I have shot for them in Kashmir and some shots and portions are pending.