Thieves. In Hollywood they come as masked muggers, in Bollywood they appear as snatchers, pick-pockets and in the Tollywood they usually wear a red 'gamcha', and soak their body in oil, to escape quickly incase someone physically catches hold of them. During an exclusive telephonic conversation with cast members Rudranil Ghosh, Rajdeep Gupta, and Saoli Chatterjee, the team talked about their experience while shooting for the web-series.
So what are you doing in the midst of lockdown?
Rudranil: You can say that I'm preparing myself for a new lesson without any kind of help. I went to Bigg Boss, 4-5 years before it happened when it happened the first time in Bengal, that experience is giving tricks to me. I'm maintaining that process. There are few things to eat, there's no option to go out.
Rajdeep: That (lockdown) has already started, all shootings have been halted. Our work is getting hampered but the current crisis is more fatal that the hindrance. The rate at which this disease is spreading now, I think it will be very critical for us.
Saoli: We are fighting against a newfound deadly virus and that is a far bigger crisis right now than anything else in the world. Of course, this is affecting us all, but right now we need to do what is necessary. We are maintaining the lockdown and I would request everyone to be safe.
How is the situation in Tollyguange? (Usually the area in Kolkata where shoots happen)
Rudranil: In the area I stay, there's a complete lockdown, no maidservants are coming here, they have been told strictly to stay home. I don't have a family I stay with my assistant.
Are you watching new shows?
Yeah, not only like that, watching shows used to be my hobby now there's no other option. I make my own content, now this is the time when I'm planning the content again and completing incomplete scripts. I hope that within 21 days if we overcome 4-5 days then this will become a habit. We have to control our food habits.
It is difficult because we love adda, this is our culture. This is India, this isn't like other countries where people are more self-involved. Maybe I can make it into a habit, but I don't think 21 days is enough, but I hope it will get better.
So tell us about your journey from Season 1 to 2.
Rudranil: Umm, the first step was in the first season, if the series is a hit then only makers hope to start a part 2. But the continuation might be fatal, look what happened to Sacred Games. Web series is also a thing where we can see interesting stories. Sacred Games made the idea of web-series popular in India. But we were disheartened because there was a manipulation, calculation, that went wrong. You can tell when something doesn't come from the heart, and that does not succeed, not in the creative field. My writer brought a script but I wasn't happy. I knew that the expectation had reached the zenith and people will expect something more, but we also had a budget to remember, in such cases, I knew that I have to build a content which won't bore us. Then the Hoichoi creative came together.
But here the thief has a second life?
Rudranil: I contributed to the writing team as well, I gave my plans to Abhirup, I told him to show us his background, a family. If we think about chor then we always get an idea that maybe he is soaked in oil, and wear a gamcha. Over the years we have developed ourselves to mentally picture a thief. But here he is a father, which is unexpected. I have gone through an experience wherein West Bengal everybody is a thief, this happened 10 years ago with me. You can never tell if these guys are professional thieves.
So I thought differently, let's say, I know Saurav Ganguly, but does he only talk about cricket and play with a bat?
No, he is a family man too. So I bring that to the audience. I think the director becomes a great man when he introduces new content. I personally wanted to bring in as a performer, is that to present it in a Hollywood style. So to the major character that was a bank robbery. I wanted to introduce something new to the audience. I personally felt that if these characters are trained to be master actors, they are trained to blend in, as taxi drivers, book buyers, we tried to bring in such elements in the series. What I tried to do was, try to talk about Bengali based intelligence, it's different, and I tried to reflect that in Jhontu da.
What have you adapted from the characters?
Rajdeep: Season 1 was about three different stories, one of them was about Jhontu motors and the way the crime has been planned. In season 2 Jhontu motors as a narrative take shape, how it began how it produces thieves. I played a client, who was also a writer.
Saoli: I played a contract killer, I have been associated with a lot of crime.
What about season 3?
Saoli: Actually we have both been killed so we don't know. Season 2 doesn't have any specific stories as such, it was more about exploring Jhontu motors.