Mumbai–Akshay Oberoi and Sahher Bambba are currently enjoying the audience’s love and attention with their freshly released Disney+ Hotstar series ‘Dil Bekaraar‘ directed by Habib Faisal.
The two play the leads in the show, while Akshay plays a young journalist Dylan Shekhawat, Sahher essays the role of a news reader, Debjani Thakur.
‘Dil Bekaraar’ tells a story of love and ideological clash set in the era of the 80s when India was caught up in currents of monumental changes. The actors recently spoke with IANS about what enticed them about this show, what their characters stand for and the experience of working with a director like Habib Faisal.
Sharing how she became a part of the show, Sahher says, “The casting of this project was in works for a long time. I pretty much came on board at the very last minute. Then I did a couple of screen tests with casting director Kavish Sinha and the director Habib Faisal sir. After that, I met a lot of potential Dylans and later on, we met Akshay. I started testing for it I think in December and February when we started shooting for the series”.
Akshay echoes her thoughts with his own experience with regards to the casting process, he says, “I too came on board at the last minute, the lockdown had just started lifting up. That’s when I got this phone call from Kavish Sinha to go and meet Habib. Habib and I have actually met in life outside of the scope of work.”
He adds, “When I started my career he was one of the first people I had ever met. He was making ‘Do Dooni Chaar’ at that point and I met him at the Planman motion Pictures. So, we have been in touch for a long time. I always wanted to work with him, he is one of those bucket list directors, whom every actor wishes to work with.”
Revealing as to what drew her to the character of Debjani, the actress says, “The fact that this character is so vulnerable, so naive yet she is progressive in her approach at the same time, is what appealed to me. She was an ’80s character but I still resonated a lot with her. In addition, the show is set in the era of the 1980s, you don’t often get to play that era-specific thing very often. Also, I always wanted to play an author-backed role. So all these factors drew me to this character”.
For Akshay, innocence was the key factor that helped the actor in him to tell the story of love through his performance, he says, “The time itself was innocent. It was a sort of romantic innocent time for India coming out of the ’70s. Even our films were very poppy love stories. We have approached our characters keeping in mind the innocence of that era.”
Working in a show which is set back in time, can get tricky at times. Ask them what are some of the finer details they had to take care of in terms of performances and Akshay quips, “While playing a character in a period series or a film, an actor has to be really cognisant because these people are not from contemporary times. There’s a certain lingo attached to their persona and we have to follow that framework”.
Sahher, in total consensus of that, says, “That’s right because Habib sir would constantly remind us about the lingo but he was very sure about what he wanted from the styling, hair and makeup to performance. So, it made things a lot easier for us”.
Talking about what a happy day for her character looks like, the actress says, “A happy day for Debjani is to get a good review because she starts news reading without being sure if that is what she wants to do. As seen in the trailer, a bad review triggers the story, so she’s constantly at it to hone her work. And a happy day for her would be to get appreciation”.
On a final note, Akshay takes a moment to praise their director Habib Faisal, he says, “Habib Faisal is one of the most celebrated screenplay writers we have in our country today. His understanding of characters is very deep. Not only does he know the core of these characters very well because he has spent a lot of time with those characters on paper but, he also has a firm grip on the performances.”
He explains, “He has a really good sense of rhythm, timing and the voice in terms of performance, I have seen him act parts out for other actors. It often happens that something which is written on paper, is not playable for an actor. But, it doesn’t happen with Habib because he is very clear in his head as to what he is looking for”. (IANS)