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Drashti Dhami: Subtlety is tough given my background

Updated on: 16 August,2022 07:40 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Letty Mariam Abraham | letty.abraham@mid-day.com

Television star Drashti Dhami discusses adopting a new approach to acting, as she gears up for her second web series 'Duranga'

Drashti Dhami: Subtlety is tough given my background

Drashti Dhami

Drashti Dhami was a household name when she decided to cut back on her television outings in favour of digital entertainment. The actor forayed into the web world with Nikkhil Advani’s grand period drama, 'The Empire' (2021). Over a year on, she is ready with her next, ZEE5’s 'Duranga', an adaptation of the Korean show, 'Flower of Evil'. As she takes baby steps in the OTT world, Dhami discusses how television will always be home to her, and how she is intent on not repeating herself on the web.

Edited excerpts from the interview.
Did you have any inhibitions about joining digital entertainment?
It happened quite organically for me. I wasn’t shying away from television. I wanted to do something different [that offers] better content. That is how 'The Empire' came my way. Immediately after that, I got 'Duranga'. [Taking the show up] was a no-brainer. Anybody in my shoes would have said yes to the project because it has Pradeep Sarkar helming it. It was a little difficult to underplay the role. Subtlety is tough given the background I come from. I was [apprehensive] whether I would be able to pull it off or not. I am a director’s actor. After every shot, I would look at him to see whether he is satisfied or not.

Drashti Dhami and Gulshan Devaiah in Duranga. Pics/InstagramDrashti Dhami and Gulshan Devaiah in Duranga. Pics/Instagram

Have you seen the original Korean show, Flower of Evil that Duranga is inspired by?
I haven’t. We were advised not to [watch it]. I wanted to [interpret] the show, my own way. I hope people find it as intriguing as I did.

Also Read: Drashti Dhami: No show can afford Sanaya and me together

Did you use any reference points to play a cop?
We did rehearsals where they taught me a cop’s body language — how to hold a gun, how to stand and talk. I didn’t [shadow] anyone to understand the character.

Was it difficult to adjust to the web world’s acting style?
Gulshan [Devaiah], Kunal [Kapoor] and Dino [Morea] do a lot of prep [for their characters]. [For The Empire], I didn’t know what to do in my prep work. This time, with Gulshan, we did a few readings, rehearsals, and workshops. That made it easier. Television is like home for me; I can wake up at 3 am and do it. [Exploring OTT] is like getting out of that comfort zone. It has more realistic [performances]. Here, you only get nine episodes to perform. [In television], if I didn’t perform too well in one scene, [I had the assurance] that I would do a better job the next day. However, you cannot do that on the web.

Was the show physically draining?
There were a few outdoor scenes that were quite intense. It took a lot of energy out of me because we kept rehearsing them, and it took us a while to get into the mood. Since I had read the scene, I had been wondering how I was going to do it.

You’ve been under the radar for a long time. Do you fear out of sight can be out of mind?
I guess it is true for [actors]. I was on a long break until The Empire happened. I had already started shooting for the series before the lockdown. So, I hoped that after the pandemic, I would have something to look forward to.

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