Kushal Tandon: “I was doing good on television & I haven’t stopped…”

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Kushal Tandon, who’s a popular face on television due to shows like ‘Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai’ and ‘Beyhadh’, is recently being seen in a lead role on ALTBalaji and Zee5’s new web show ‘Bebaakee’. Also starring Karan Jotwani and ShivJyoti Rajput, the show has been shot in the picturesque locations of Manali and Shimla. Revolving around a love triangle between Sufiyaan (Tandon), Imtiaz (Jotwani) and Kainaat (Rajput), the romantic family drama started streaming on 30th August.

BizAsiaLive.com caught up exclusively with Kushal Tandon to chat more about the show.

What sets this web show apart than the rest?
Bebaakee means ziddi, fearless and everybody has some bebaakee inside them, at times you’re stubborn with your close ones and feel that bebaakee-ness. The show is about love between two people who are very strong-headed and what really sets it apart is how beautifully it has been shot in beautiful locations like Manali and Shimla. The visual effects by the cinematographers, the stellar star cast with so many actors… plus it’s not just about love, it’s also about hate, friendship and it’s a complete love triangle saga on an OTT platform with four beautiful songs in it.

Tell us a little about your role of Sufiyaan.
Sufiyaan is the guy you don’t want to mess with, he’s the guy your mother warned you about, he doesn’t believe in love because his dad was a casanova and womaniser. He has seen how his mother used to suffer and he has built a wall around him. He owns a big media house, then someone breaks his wall and he starts believing in love that he was never used to before. When the girl goes away, that’s when the bebaakee starts.

Your character gets entangled in a love triangle with the characters played by Shiv Jyoti Rajput and Karan Jotwani. What would you do in a real-life situation like that?
I was training for my martial arts and kickboxing in Thailand when I got a call from Ekta ma’am (Kapoor) for this role. She said only two little psycho and edgy people can do this role, one is her and one is me… I didn’t know if I should take that as a compliment (laughs). Ekta ma’am had written this role seeing me… so Kushal and Sufiyaan are very much alike. But if somebody loves Kushal and she wants to go, Kushal will let her go. But Sufiyaan isn’t letting anybody go… I’m a little bebaak, I follow my own rules, I question people, I don’t bend when I’m not wrong but I’ll not go so bebaak like him.

What’s your take on how popular the digital medium is becoming?
Ekta Kapoor is a brilliant lady, that’s why she is where she is. When ALTBalaji started three years back, she had a vision that there’d be a day when there’d be no TV and it’ll only be OTT. Now everyone is watching shows on their mobile phones because nobody wants to have a bound time to watch a show. Now after the Covid-19 pandemic, the popularity of OTT platforms has gone up 10 times. We don’t know when the movie theatres will start again and when it’d be safe to go, so everything is on the web. There are so many genres to choose from in OTT. We also shot this like a film, the show is almost on a 25cr budget like a film. You’re getting the same thing on a OTT platform whenever you want to watch, at your car or at your office and you only have to spend a small amount of money for a year’s subscription. I watch everything on Netflix and I’m hooked, I can watch so many varieties of cinema there. It also gives more opportunities to more actors and that means more employment.

You’ve been hugely popular on television. How different is it to work in a web show as opposed to TV?
The people who come from TV are one of the most hardworking people because in a movie you probably do a three-minute scene in a day but in TV we finish almost 18-minutes of scenes in a day. You’ve to work harder, lines come in the morning and you’ve to learn the lines and do it. You learn and perform a song’s choreography for TV in one day. For a web series, you get a script beforehand, you rehearse and do workshops just like a movie. It’s more sorted, you get more time as an actor to prepare things. I was doing good on television and I haven’t stopped it, the day I get something nice I’ll do it.

What were your challenges while portraying Sufiyaan’s character?
When I read the script, I just got into the character. The only challenge was that I had to always frown and be irritated all the time. When I was on set, I used to behave like Sufiyaan to be on my character. I used to laugh only after pack up and be serious like Sufiyaan all day and not talk to anybody. I couldn’t be happy-go-lucky before the scenes and laugh at anyone’s jokes, I had to always keep a wall around.

The show has been shot in beautiful locations in Shimla and Manali, how was that experience?
Awesome, man! I’m a panda, I love the cold and hate hot weather. In Bombay, while shooting when I have to wear suits, it feels so hot but doing the same thing in Shimla was so nice. I’m the kind of guy who can’t wear a suit at a shaadi for more than an hour, when you’ve to wear a tight body fit suit and formal shoes for 12 hours and act, it takes a toll on you. It was around -7 degrees in Shimla and I was feeling so nice, when you feel good, you shoot well. The best part was that we were shooting during the winters over there and the temperature went as low as -5 degrees.

Any funny or interesting anecdotes from the shoot?
When I’m on set, I keep playing pranks on everybody – ask my cinematographer or the assistant directors. One morning I said I’m not going to be available for the shoot and I’m leaving for the day. The production people had booked the entire day to shoot outdoors in Shimla like the entire mall street, so they were messed up when they heard it. Then I told them that I’m only kidding and sat down to have some coffee on set (laughs).

Is there a second season coming up?
Of course there’d be. By God’s grace, it has an IMDb rating of 9.1/10 and everyone’s giving such nice reviews.

What are you working on next?
I’d love to work on something like a Mirzapur (web series on Amazon Prime) for my next project, I want to do something raw. I’m from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, so I know that language and I want to do something like Mirzapur.

What kind of web shows do you personally like binging online?
I just finished watching Kingdom, Ozark, Money Heist, Queen of the South… I just keep binging on web series’. I start and I finish a season in a day, like three seasons in three days if I like it.

Lastly, any message for your fans?
I love them… thank you for loving me in every aspect of my life. You guys are the best and because of you guys we are here.

 

‘Bebaakee’ is streaming on ALTBalaji & Zee5.

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