Aahana Kumra returns to the streaming screen with Betaal the Netflix Original horror webseries that a Patrick Graham creation. We caught up with her for an exclusive interview. Here’s the transcript:
How did Betaal Happen for you?
Parag Mehta called me for an audition. I knew Parag for a very long time. He had earlier cast me in some of his projects and he gave me this wonderful opportunity to work on Betaal.
I was returning from a night shift and he called me for an audition. I told him that I don’t have my hair and make-up and it would be impossible for me to come to the audition like this.
He said that that’s the perfect look. I was surprised. he told me that this is a horror show and about zombies. He told me that there’s Netflix and Red Chillies involved. So that’s when I told him that I will do it.
It was a great opportunity for me and thankfully, I didn’t have to do the conventional ‘hair and makeup’ and I had to look just like the way I am.
How was the process of shooting for Betaal?
Nikhil Mahajan met me at the Red Chillies office and he gave me a couple of scenes. It was a longish scene, of about five to seven minutes and I did it.
After the audition they told me that I had to wear a scar. I was wondering what it all about. I then found out that it is prosthetic and I have to wear it all through the shooting hours.
We had to undergo military training and we went through arms and ammunition training. That happened at the Red Chillies office. We would gather every morning and they would give us the guns and ammunitions and teach us how to use them.
They would teach us how to move and shoot and crawl with the guns. We had our costume trails. Post that,we did the costume with the gun training, with the vest and the trousers and the walky-talky and the guns. Our director didn’t want us to he out of sorts when we reach the location.
And how was the shoot?
The shoot itself was in Lonavla. I had prosthetics on my face. Normally, you have make-up artists all around you, blowdrying hair and curling them. But here I was, in prosthetics. So my call time was two hours before the rest of the cast.
Shooting for Betaal was a unique experience as well. We were in Lonavla, at Lion’s Point and we were all geared up. So, the temperaturee was very different. There was this heat before the monsoons that absolutely fries you. And then, you had this fog in the morning when you can’t see who’s in front of you.
Did you have any apprehensions signing up for an ‘Indian horror show’?
I didn’t think twice about it because two big names were in the play. I already knew that this isn’t the role of a meek girl. I’d be playing a soldier and I knew what I was getting into.
This is the second time I am collaborating with Suhani Kanwar. She earlier wrote Lipstick Under My Burkha. I know how Suhani writes. She gives very strong voices to women. I think that Patrick also subscribes to the same philosophy.
How would you describe the action in Betaal?
The action is perfect for the space that the series is in. Betaal isn’t just a horror show or an action show or just a thriller. There’s a lot more in Betaal.
Do we get to know the backstory about your character in the series?
The series doesn’t delve into her past and reveal the reason why she looks like the way she does. But you can see that there’s something terrible that’s happened with her and that has boosted her confidence in herself. I remember, when I wore the pack for the firs time, I didn’t believe that this is something I can look like. There were so many questions in mind. How would it be to live like this for the rest of your life.
How much of horror content has Aahana Kumra consumed?
I have grown up with horror. The ZEE Horror show that took our childhoods away. I remember the Chucky doll that did away with dolls for me when I was growing up. So, in a way, I am proud of being a part of Betaal, which is such a well made Indian horror show.
The Aahana Kumra starrer Netflix Original horror webseries streams from May 24.
Watch Aahana Kumra starrer Betaal trailer:
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