Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Kritika Kamra: I had no fear of getting earmarked

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Making a huge statement for herself in the OTT world is actress Kritika Kamra. All set to get into the skin of a savage gangster, she gets candid with The Pioneer about Bambai Meri Jaan, preparing for her character, and more.

SHIKHA DUGGAL

After eating into colossal television viewership—Kritika Kamra has moved away from those classic sanskaar and sindoor scenes and looked long and hard. She’s here exercising her control over some remarkable OTT projects starring opposite A-listers! Now offering so much more of her creativity, in an exclusive interview with us, Bambai Meri Jaan fame shared, “I am not a Bombay girl. In the initial years, the film industry was just my day-to-day routine. So my introduction to this world has been through movies and books. But there was enough reportage about the underbelly of the Mumbai mafia. So our characters are based on reportage only. Even though I had a very romantic image of Bombay, now I know a lot more. Our dialogue writers are from the south of Bombay, so they knew all the insights!”

Questioning the idea of crime and punishment, the actress further developed into how happy she was to be a part of a fresh story like this. “I wretchedly wanted to play the role of a gangster. You know why? We hardly have women gangsters as criminal bosses. There is only drama shown, not a savage gangster who is a woman. Enough of love interests! Or else the show is driven on the basis of a moral compass, but here I was—a fully involved hoodlum part of the main gang. There’s not much reference for it, by the way.”

A big-budget tentpole show and its smart packaging made us wonder more about what Kritika had to offer. She replied, “All said and done, I didn’t take the pressure at all. As an actress, we can’t do things in isolation; we are as good as the script at the end of the day. I was so fortunate to be working with Excel Entertainment because they produce quality content. The director has spent almost five years of his life on this show. The script was almost like reading a book to me! We were already bogged down by how critics would receive it, so I didn’t want to do anything differently.”

Taking us through the process, the Kitni Hai Mohabbat fame spoke, “I was given the backstory of it already; I was supposed to get the dialect right. And I don’t like to ape anybody else; I like to use my own imagination. How I even sat on a chair was so important for the makers. I wasn’t trying too hard.”

Now that the series had put together some old stories, there were presumptions too. Sharing those, the actress said, “We knew there would be comparisons because there’s the mention of Dongri and the mention of mafias during the seventies. But this is not a biopic! I had no fear of getting singled out. Watch the show because it’s cinematic. The world is authentic, but the characters are fictitious. This is what is called cinematic liberty, right? The Mumbai Mafia doesn’t exist today; it was the tabloid version. Then we shot at very few live locations. A set was built twice! It was like a mini-city in itself. It wasn’t a facade. It wasn’t just the exteriors; you could really go inside, open the cupboards, and find stuff. The production details were as such! I was transported into a different era. We used to spend twelve hours a day.”

They even hosted a special screening of it in London. She expressed, “It was such a cool moment for me to pose for the camera against the backdrop of such a beautiful city landscape where my own show is being promoted. An Indian series was getting global recognition once again! Avinash and I were the representatives. The citizens of London got to see the era of old Bombay, and they were quite impressed. Our digital hoardings were put up on Times Square.”

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