Amruta Subhash on seeking KDY for Sacred Games 2
Actress Amruta Subhash, whom we now know as Yadavji from Sacred Games 2, talks of her unlikely inspiration for the role
I was shooting in Sri Lanka for a TV show, and I was on a boat and I saw a chameleon. He wasn't doing much but looked dangerous, and nobody wanted to be close to him. His eyes were half closed and that made him look more menacing than if he had his eyes wide ope, and was darting around. That chameleon is the inspiration for my preparation for the role of KDY," says Amruta Subhash of playing RAW agent KD Yadav in the second season of Sacred Games.
It was the most anticipated India web release of the year, following the success of the first season. Yet, Sacred Games 2—which stars Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kalki Koechlin and Pankaj Tripathi and has been made by Vikramaditya Motwane and Neeraj Ghaywan—disappointed by its lack of pace and slacking of storytelling. Even so, Subhash's nuanced portrayal was tough to miss. She plays Yadav, a RAW agent who used gangster Ganesh Gaitonde (played by Siddiqui), and several other characters, all in the name of protecting her country. "My husband, Sandesh Kulkarni, who plays Gaitonde's first father in the show, told me: 'A RAW agent is so powerful that they don't need to show it'. So I have played it like that. She [Yadav] never gets bothered. Like the chameleon, her eyes are always lowered so nobody knows what she is thinking. I had to take the sparkle away from my eyes," says the actress, who is full of sparkle as she chats with us, her vivaciousness at complete odds with the character she has now become famous for. "Everywhere I go, people have been asking me 'bomb fata kya?'." It is a reference to the ending of the second season of the show based on Vikram Chandra's novel.
A still from Sacred Games
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Subhash is no stranger to getting into the thick of a character. The National Award winner has won accolades for her roles as Aasawari in Sandeep Sawant's Shwaas (which was India's official selection for the Oscars in 2004), and is a coveted Marathi theatre and film actress. She made her Hindi debut with Nandita Das's Firaaq, and this year was also seen as Razia Sheikh, Ranveer Singh's mother in Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy. With such a large body of acclaimed work behind her, it's surprising, even humbling, to know that she auditioned for her role in Sacred Games. "I don't mind it at all. Filmmakers want to see how will you look in that particular role. I had just cut my hair, as I wanted a change, and then Nawaz called me for the premiere of Manto. I went there and met Vikramaditya, and two days later got a call from the casting director. The scene I had to act out was the first one in the show, where you first meet Yadav. I heard they auditioned many people, but eventually, Anurag said 'this is my KDY'." As she says, ironically, the character of Yadav in the book is a male one. "I believe that the universe gives what you ask for. I wanted to do a different role, and I got a man to change into a woman, for me to play that good role!"
If she is bothered by the flak that the show has been getting, staying true to her role of the unflappable Yadav, she doesn't let on. "I think the creators didn't go with what the audiences wanted. They went with what the content needed, and that's not always easy to do. The first season was more on the surface, about Gaitonde's life. This is going inwards, and any inward journey is not pleasurable," says the 43-year-old.
For Subhash, it's been an exciting ride ever since as a child, she saw her mother, actress Jyoti Subhash (who plays her mother-in-law in Gully Boy), on stage. "She was so different at home, and I used to be awed at the transformation. I was a shy kid, and I realised the only place I wasn't shy was on stage. Theatre is my favourite though. I look at the whole graph of a character, so if you ask me to play a scene from the middle, I know just how to get there," says the National School of Drama alumni who was taught by stalwarts such as Satyadev Dubey. For now, she is getting ready for another movie and web series and promises us we will see her on-screen soon. "I just keep asking the universe, whom I call my lover, for whatever I want. I believe this—what you seek, is seeking you!"
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