Aahana Kumra on ‘Marzi’: “It’s the most emotionally draining show of my career”

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Based on the 2017 American show ‘Liar’, Voot Select’s web series ‘Marzi’ starring Aahana Kumra and Rajeev Khandelwal in the lead is a he-said-she-said thriller. The show chronicles the story of an initial attraction turned dinner date between a surgeon (Rajeev playing Anurag Saraswat) and a school teacher (Aahana playing Sameera Chauhan) that turns ugly when the former is accused of rape the next morning.

BizAsiaLive.com caught up with Aahana to chat more about the show.

You’ve been a regular in the digital space with shows like Inside Edge, Betaal, Rangbaaz and now Marzi. Would you say this has become your comfort zone?
Not at all but I’m getting hired, yes. This is a space where you’ll get hired if you’re good and you won’t get hired if you’re not good.

What interested you about the script of Marzi?
The story is fantastic and the script is damn gripping. I knew that the performances were going to be pretty tight and I thought it’s going to be such an important conversation in today’s time. What happened between a man and a woman inside a closed room behind closed doors, how do you put a finger to it and say who’s correct and who’s wrong? You’d believe the one that provides the evidence. It’s a he-said-she-said and you don’t know whom to believe.

How was it working with Rajeev?
Fantastic, I loved it. He’s such an intense actor, so prepared, asks very relevant questions and is extremely helpful with his co-actors. He looks out for you but is also non-intrusive and lets you be.

How comfortable are you as an actor while shooting for the intense screens on screen?
This show hardly has any intimate scenes, there’s more anger, hurt, frustration and angst. There’s all these emotions and very little intimacy. It’s about being intimate that one night and then the rest follows.

Did you watch Liar, the American show on which Marzi is based?
I have watched it before I started shooting the show. It was very generous of the makers to let me watch it because I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I watched the show and the great performances and the writing is really kadak! I took the helplessness of the character, her angst and her wrath from the show. I felt like it’s an universal feeling, you can be in any part of the world but you feel the same, you don’t feel any different. I’m glad that I watched it before because I got to see a space that I hadn’t experienced before. It’s easy to go and write a report but are you prepared to answer the questions that would follow?

Was it emotionally draining to play such a character?
Very. I think it’s the most emotionally draining show of my career. I ran out angry, emotional memories and I couldn’t think of anything else after a point. I was such an unpleasant person on set, I was constantly angry or screaming or snubbing or not talking to people. In my vanity, I would watch things that would rile me up or piss me off. I watched a lot of war videos on Syria and I was very angry seeing that humanity has gone to the dogs.

How was the outdoor schedule in Shimla like?
It was a fantastic 15-days schedule. It was cold and some days it snowed and it was so lovely but I was always so angry (laughs). We stayed on the mall road and made friends with everyone over there. It’s not a place that does late nights, it winds up by maximum 10pm, their 10pm is like our 1am. We had to be in bed by then! There were so many monkeys in Shimla, there was this one stalker monkey that’d sit outside my window and knock. One monkey even came to my room, opened a packet of whitener and a packet of sugar, ate it all and ran away! This happened while I was in the room.

What are you streaming currently on OTT platforms?
I have heard really good things about the show Succession and I’m dying to watch it. The last film I watched was Jojo Rabbit and I loved it. I also really like watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I like female characters, it’s fun to watch women characters more than male ones. I also found The Irishman quite interesting.

‘Marzi’ is streaming now on Voot Select.

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