Choona actors Jimmy Shergill and Aashim Gulati speak to Indulge about their roles
The heist-comedy releases on Netflix today
If you loved Money Heist, we bet you can’t take your eyes off the somewhat desi version of it! As Choona starts streaming on Netflix, Indulge caught up with lead actors Jimmy Shergill and Aashim Gulati for a fun chat.
Tell us about your characters.
Aashim: My character Ansari belongs to a small-time political party called Maachis. He dreams of becoming the Chief Minister of India one day. But in the middle of all the plans and dreams, there is a lurking sense of revenge that he wants to take from Shukla’s character [played by Jimmy Shergill]. The series shows to what extent he can go to take his revenge. Ansari thinks he’s a big goon and he can achieve everything that he sets out to achieve but in reality, he’s not so big. He’s confident, street smart, has big dreams, and is willing to take any risks possible to get where he wants to be.
Jimmy: Shukla, my character is a very powerful person coming from a political background who has ill-treated several people in his life and doesn’t even remember doing so. Now some of these people whom he has ill-treated, co-incidentally meet and form an army who want to take revenge on him because his stars are not in positive alignment; and to see if they are successful or not, you will have to watch Choona.
Jimmy, do you believe in astrology?
Yes, I definitely believe that there is Science behind it. But it’s also true that when a person is having the best of their times, they don’t believe in anything. When the balance starts falling apart they resort to astrology or vastu and when that too fails they think of God.
Aashim, how did you prepare for your role?
We had a lot of readings, workshops, and conversations with the director. In fact, I hadn’t read the whole script because I was only given my part. Keeping that in mind, I went to my director, Pushpendra Nath Misra, to hone the dialect and body language. Preparation was there but a lot of unlearning had to be done. My director had a certain vision that came together with my perception of the character and with each passing day, I moved along with him and his vision.
Jimmy, how would you describe your Netflix debut experience?
It was a very good experience. The team is very good. I have just started interacting with the Netflix team during promotions. The show is a Flying Saucer production. When the creative heads used to come during the shoot, I used to like their input. I hope people like the show because we have put in the best from our end.
Aashim, you started out with television and are now into OTT. How similar or varied are the two mediums?
In OTT you get to dive deep into the character. I got to portray Ansari and understand the various facets of his character. That’s the beauty of OTT. When it comes to television the treatment is very different. It’s faster but hectic. If I had to choose I would love to work with OTT because it gives a lot of creative satisfaction.
Have you guys Choona lagaoed (tricked) anybody or vice-versa in real life?
Aashim: As a child during school, we tricked our teachers or parents. I am from a boarding school so it’s very common there. Say someone is sleeping at night and we run away with the blanket or someone is taking a bath we run and hide the clothes. But yes in this show our director has tricked us and I hope through him we will be able to do the same to our audience.
Jimmy: Everyone tricks or is tricked. When you are tricked, it’s best not to say it aloud. One should learn the lesson and move on. Every person throughout the day is tricked or tricks. This is life.
Jimmy, how has the OTT boom influenced you in finding the right roles ?
OTT is helping everybody, not just me. I can vouch for that. During COVID there was a lot of unemployment. Many people could survive the space and for some, especially the technicians it became rather difficult. In this scenario when OTT came in it was a big thing. As an actor, there are various layers and shades to the characters played. You get to do different characters and enjoy it.
Your future projects
Aashim: I have another show out in September followed by a film on Netflix.
Choona starts streaming on Netflix from September 29, 2023