When Isha Talwar got a call from casting director Abhishek Bannerjee (who previously worked in season one of Mirzapur) she agreed to do the role immediately. Although, she had no idea what was she signing up for, and surprisingly she didn't even watch the first season of the show. During an exclusive interaction with IBTimes, Isha described that although she is a part of the entertainment industry, she isn't really a hooked binge-watcher of any series.
When did you start acting professsionally? How did you approach this industry?
2011. I was in college, I used to do these dances, there were bunch of people who were casting for a TV commercial, they needed dancers. I got chosen for that TV commercial. I still remember I got 75000, and then I thought this is something I should definitely try. Then I did another TV commercial. I wasn't thinking of doing this full time. After college I had braces on for a year, I did TV commercial and I enjoyed the job. After I graduated in economics, that's when I did a lot of theatre workshops. So that's when I realised this something I would love to do, then to love for this profession grew.
Born and brought up in Mumbai. Yeah, my father was a small time filmmmaker, he used to make small budget horror films, he is not an actor, he has just done bits and pieces. It's more like since he was the executive producer of a project, they could not find an actor and they would request him 'aap kardo yeh chota sa role' (please do this performance), but he is not an actor. He used to make films.
How did Mirzapur happen?
I auditioned for it. I think 95% of my work has come through auditions. I'm really happy that nowadays its a more transparent process, where you can just go and audition and then you get some actual work. I had texted with Casting Bay, Abhishek Bannerjee and Anmol. They called me for the auditions and my first line in the show, that's the one I tested for, then they asked me to meet them. I went and met the directors and writer. That's how Mirzapur happened.
Are you getting more offers?
Yeah, but those I have been getting anyway for a while because I have worked in South, I know all the casting directors, I am you know an auditioning actor. I have been in this business. So I know all the people in this industry. I have been getting offers all along.
What is it about Madhuri that you decided to sign up for this role?
I actually didn't know what I signed up for, to be honest.
Yes.. (laughs) I didnt know what I was signing up for to be very honest. The moment I heard Mirzapur, even if they would have given me a five minutes role I would have done it. The kind of love people have for Mirzapur, I would have done it anyway. When I met my director and writer I felt these guys seem like a great bunch of people...it became so popular, and the fact that it is backed by Excel Entertainment, it had value to the project.
So when you were selected for Mirzapur Season 1 had already happened? As in released and done?
Yes. Season one had already happened. It was already a hit. Half my friends are in the show, Shweta Tripathi. Funny thing about Shweta she had auditioned me earlier for a couple of projects, when she worked with Mukesh Chabbra so Shweta is a friend since then. Ali Fazal and I went to the same college, Vijay Varma and I knew each other from outside work, I know Priyanshu and I knew each other because of theatres, who else I think I know everybody. Pankaj ji, I had worked with him in a televisoin commercial, and we always made fun of this fact with my friends. My friend who is also an actor used to say that arey yaar yeh Mirzapur wala apne aap ko bahut samajh te hain matlab jab season 1 aya har jagga Mirzapur, Mirzapur, Mirzapur. And then ofcourse rest is history. Everybody was memerised. Then a couple of months later I got a call for this, and I said haan haan zaroor. Then I asked for the script and when I started reading the script I couldnt believe how good the part was. I was reading it with my teacher and we just kept looking at each other, bhai yeh toh bahut kaam hain.
What were you doing before Mirzapur?
I had just finished Article 15, it hadn't released yet. Then Rome Rome Main, with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kammyaab, I did a short film with Deepak Dobriyal, oh no short film was after Mirzapur. Then Kalakandi, Tubelight.
While Mirzapur is good, people have found similarities with Gangs of Wasseypur and Game of Thrones.
Well, I think Gangs of Wasseypur is a cult film. They are both based in Uttar Pradesh and they are exploring the underbelly of the state, so they are similar in the theme but I don't think that there are similarities. I don't watch Game of Thrones so I have no idea. I don't watch too much content.
But you are a part of this profession.
It was a running joke while shooting for Mirzapur 2 that I have not watched the first season, a lot of people do tell me this. But for me training and acting is far more interesting than sitting and watching television. Sorry, I don't watch many shows. I watched Scam, I watched Fleabag and old Hindi films. I love watching them.