One of the most popular Bengali shows titled 'Kaali' is finally coming back with its second season on ZEE5. We at India Forums got in touch with Actress Vidya Malavade who will play the role of officer Manvi Gupta in the series. Vidya spoke to us about her character in the show, her experience, challenges encountered, taking inspiration from Kiran Bedi and much more:
First of all, tell us something about your shooting experience and your character in the series Kaali 2.
The experience was obviously a lot of fun because this is the first time I’ve really shot with our Calcutta crew in Kolkata. It was amazing. I think while shooting in Mumbai, we take a lot of things for granted. The only thing that I really used to get frustrated about was to travel to locations because everything was like an hour-hour & a half away from where I was staying. But apart from that, I think the people, the food, just the way everything was organized was impeccable and incredible. It was a great shooting experience with the directors and the entire crew. It was really fabulous and I would actually rate it even better than Bombay. Because sometimes we think that it is not as big an industry as the Hindi film industry, but they just have everything put up so well and they are really amazing to work with.
Talking about my character, she’s a Joint Commissioner of Police, Manvi Gupta. Manvi has been brought to Kolkata for a special operation that she is heading. The thing is, I think in her head or in her space, she comes from a really dark phase inside her. But it’s just the facade that the woman of a post like that has to maintain because she has come to this place where her subordinates, whom she works with and even her juniors don’t really like taking orders from women. It happens in every field, so this is no different. We are all beautiful, nurturing, soft women inside but at that level, you have seen so much dirt, crime and all of that and your social status as well to a certain point have really hardened you, at least from the outside. You want to get your job done and you’re damn good at your job, which she is. It might not be taken very well by her peers or people around her and one needs to be okay about it and just forget about it and don’t care. There is also a twist towards the end of the series.
What’s the one thing about the series which compelled you to take up this project?
I wouldn’t say that there is just one of anything, it’s the whole thing that comes together, the entire package was really amazing. It came to me really last minute, like I kind of signed on a week before the shoot. And I figured out and read the script and I was getting very worried but when I was talking to the director and I was trying to understand what their take is, where is this woman coming from, it just made a lot of sense to me. I figured that these people are going to be great to work with and I think that is of prime importance that the makers know what they are doing. Auritro and Rohan, both were the directors on set and Rohan has also written Kaali. They both knew and they were crystal clear of what was going on.
I was wondering why they want to cast me because I really don’t have the physicality of a cop because my face is quite fatigue and if you’re looking for a higher post cop, let’s say like an additional commissioner or a joint commissioner, there is a certain amount of hardness that would actually come into you because you’ve been there for so long. They were just quite sure that they knew what they were doing and this is something that I just said okay, I would take that as a challenge. I’m gonna work with these guys because I might feel like I’m slightly jittery right now but if they know what they are doing is right and I feel like that they are doing it right because I read the script and I was like this is really really good.
I was like okay, it’s just a matter of me transforming their vision into reality and I’m gonna do it. I also realised along the way that I supremely enjoy action because I have never actually done much action in any series and this was really cool. I don’t know, in a weird sense, I felt a little powerful. I don’t know how it happened but everytime I would wear my costume, everytime I would be on set, every time I was doing what I was doing, it was a very strange feeling from within about feeling very powerful which I don’t think I’ve felt playing any other character before this.
In an interview, you also mentioned that you took inspiration from Kiran Bedi for this role, so how was that preparation like?
For me, to prepare internally, it needed to be from reading script and from understanding exactly where she is coming from, what all has happened to her in the last few years of her life. Then translating that to understand where she is today, which is why she has behaved the way she is behaving with everybody. That was the understanding of my inner world. Feeling powerful is one thing and then being powerful is another thing. So that’s where I started googling women police officers, high rank police officers etc and I don’t think we have many like Kiran Bedi. So most of the things that I googled came from abroad and officers in different countries. I did whatever I could follow on google to just look at the mannerism or anything I could pick from anybody and that was really what I was looking for in that limited time that I had.
You also mentioned that you have done many action sequences in the series, so what was the most challenging or rather your favourite scene from the entire series?
I think this is the first time I’ve ever done something like getting shot and just the reaction of being shot. I thought that it was really funny and fun and yes kind of unnerving because we were shooting crazy nights in those days. I was not just tired but I had fallen sick because we were shooting in a very dark, dingy warehouse with so much dust around that I got a really bad sneezing, cough and stuff. That whole sequence where everyone is together, that’s when me, Pouli, Abhishek, all of us are together. Chandan pointing the gun at me or Paoli pointing the gun at me and suddenly we are shooting each other and there’s a wound shot that I get and I was just like okay, how do I react to a wound shot. Then of course we did it right. The first time we did it, it was without the gun, it was just the rehearsal and then I saw it on screen and I was like this really feels like somebody has pulled the trigger and shot me and I’m dying. I don’t know if that was challenging but yes it was fun.
Signing off, she said, "Kaali 2 is releasing this Friday, 29th May. We’ve made it with so much love and I think it has turned out wonderful. Watch it on ZEE5. It’s coming out in Bangla and in Hindi, so guys go ahead, give it love, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it."