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This Jolly Sayani eyes direction

Sayani Gupta’s characterisation of Hina Siddiqui in ‘Jolly LLB-2’ and Damini, in the web-series ‘Four More Shots Please’, have earned her much recognition.

lucknow Updated: Mar 28, 2019 16:38 IST
Deep Saxena
Deep Saxena
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Sayani Gupta in Lucknow.(HT Photo)

Sayani Gupta’s characterisation of Hina Siddiqui in ‘Jolly LLB-2’ and Damini, in the web-series ‘Four More Shots Please’, have earned her much recognition.

“The web has given me more reach than films. I have done a lot of short films — 17 short films in 2017 itself — which a lot of people saw. Then, ‘Jolly’ certainly gave me a huge reach as it was a big hit, and later, reached every home via TV. After the ‘Inside Edge’ series, people started recognising me on the street but after ‘Four More…’ it has gone to another level,” said the actor during her stay in Lucknow for Anubhav Sinha’s ‘Article 15’.

“In Mumbai, I was mobbed on the street with selfies and all. You don’t want so much attention but then people come to you for a photograph and then they judge you too according to the glamorous character you play (Damini in ‘Four…’). Sometimes, it’s very intrusive but then it’s the life of an actor and it’s ok!

Win-win for all!

After ‘Inside Edge’ she shot for its second season that will be streaming later this year but what clicked more was ‘Four More Shots Please’. “Both shows worked well. ‘Inside Edge’ became the first show to get to Emmy Awards but ‘Four More Shots…’ was huge.”

Talking about the web-series she said, “This medium has not just opened avenues for actors but for everyone including writers, directors and so other departments. In web series, you move beyond the main protagonists and every character has major parts to play. Here you end up making 3-5 films in one series and it’s a great time for actors. And, with seasons happening, it’s like regular employment but then I love films and I hope I will be able to strike that balance.”

She has also shot for British TV series for ‘Good Karma Hospital’ which will come soon. She has also shot for a film ‘Axone’. “It’s a comedy satire set in Delhi about a bunch of North-Eastern friends. So, I play a Nepali and it has the backdrop of racism. Vinay (Pathak), Adil (Hussain) and Dolly Ahluwalia also play parts in the film,” she said.

City’s contributed to her success

Sayani is not new to Lucknow. “I went to Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi where a very close friend was from Lucknow. I have come here and Allahabad as a child. My first professional visit was in 2012 where I did a travel show with Saeed Mirza and Kundan Shah. My first film here was ‘Jolly LLB-2’ where I had six days of shoot and strangely, I travelled six times to do those scenes as I was shooting something in Mumbai too. This is first time I am staying at ease and discovering Lucknow in a different way. It’s a very beautiful city but very polluted due to which I caught a dust-allergy and a viral infection.”

‘Jolly’ has been her most successful film so far. “It was a very hard hitting character and in the core of the film. With a beautiful script, Shubhashji (Kapoor, director) and great cast (Akshay Kumar) the energy of the place added to it. So, I have some beautiful memories of the city. Also, the film was a big hit and a lot of people saw it, so due to that people recognise me more than my previous work in ‘Fan’, ‘Baar Baar Dekho’, ‘Jagga Jasoos’ and ‘Margarita In a Straw’.

Strangely, she had declined the ‘Jolly’ role thrice. “Interestingly, I bumped into Manav Kaul during an audition and I was aware he was doing a cameo in it. I asked him why he was doing such a tiny role to which he responded that he just wanted to be a part of the film but wished if I could do the role of his on-screen wife. And, when he came to know I had refused it he was shocked and convinced me and finally, I said yes to it.”

Direction next?

The actor refrains to talk about ‘Article 15’. “Set in rural backdrop, it’s a very interesting role. It’s great team to work and Anubhav (Sinha) takes such good care of his team. So, my character is completely rustic and she is at the centre of the investigative drama. All the actors are very special and I am someone who believes in the process of film-making and the craft of it. I love hanging around on set and working every day of my life irrespective of my shoot. I love collaborating with people whom you can learn from and make something together.”

And, directing a film is on her mind. “I have a very deep desire and want to direct. In fact, many of my directors have suggested to me that I should direct! I feel that I have a keen eye for the technical part of film-making, though I love acting, so at some point of time I will surely direct.”

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 16:37 IST