– By Farhad Dalal
With a stellar start to the year with Badhaai Do and Undekhi Season 2, Apeksha Porwal is on a roll. In an Exclusive Interview with Farhad Dalal from Popcorn Reviewss she talks about the reception of her show Undekhi 2, her journey, how the onset of OTT has resulted in opportunities for artists like her and the year 2022 ahead.
1. Firstly Congratulations on the success of Undekhi 2. How has the response been for you personally?
I’m extremely grateful that Season 2 and Koyal has been received so well. The nerves and expectations naturally come in with the Season 2 of a show that was a sleeper hit but the response has been truly overwhelming this time around too.
2. How Difficult or easy was it preparing and getting into the skin of your character Koyal from Undekhi considering the sequence of events which landed the character in an unwarranted situation?
Koyal as a character is worlds apart from Apeksha which to be honest was challenging but also one of the most exciting parts of playing her. The preparation was both in creating her physicality as well as her inner world and the baggage and childhood that she comes from. I think one of the best thing about working with our director Ashish sir is the amount of workshops we do with him. We worked on everything from the way she sits, talks, walks, to training with a Bengali accent coach, to really getting into the nitty gritty of everything that’s happened with Koyal, everything that has led to this point.
3. Was it difficult getting your character groove back in Season 2, considering that there was a break of almost 1.5 years(or more) between the two seasons of Undekhi?
Truth be told, I missed being Koyal! Koyal is a character very dear to me and I missed playing her so I was really looking forward to getting back into the skin of the character for season 2. There was a break of almost 2 years between shooting season 1 and 2, but revisiting some of my scenes of Season 1, getting back into the skin of the character and workshops with Ashish sir greatly helped.
4. From Miss India to Undekhi 2, this has been quite a journey for you. How was your transition from pageants to acting?
I think pageants and acting are two completely different worlds. While Miss India was a childhood dream, acting was a discovery. While I was always curious to explore acting, I wanted to be a hundred percent sure that this is what I want to do for years to come rather than just be taken in by the glamour of it all. I did a couple acting workshops and then a nine-month method acting diploma programme with the Jeff Goldberg Studio. I also did a couple of theatre productions with them which cemented my love for acting. While pageantry is about presenting your best self forward, acting is about forgetting the self, owning the character in all its glories and greys and insecurities. This clarity made the transition super easy and in fact one of the reasons I am grateful to get a character like Koyal as my first role.
5. With the rise of OTT platforms, how do you think it has affected actors, good or bad.
I think OTT is definitely a blessing. It has created a more level playing field for actors, directors, writers, etc. Today, a good story, direction and performances shine whether or not a ‘big name’ is associated with it. People are getting more experimental with the kind of stories they tell, they are making bolder choices. I think it’s a great time to be an actor given the kind of roles that are being written.
6. If you were to pick That One Character which would be on your wishlist, then which character would that be?
Beatrix ’The Bride’ Kiddo from Kill Bill
7. Since you have done films as well, how different or similar do you think the working style in films is as compared to OTT?
I am yet to do a film where I get to sink my teeth in to the entire script and journey of making a film as opposed to OTT. My cameo in Badhaai Do did however show me that the style of working, the everyday ongoings on set are pretty much the same for an actor. I think the difference comes in at a writing stage, how each episode is structured vs how a film is structured, also say how 5-6 hours of OTT content is written as opposed to 1.5-2 hours of film. I think both mediums are extremely exciting and have a space of their own.
8. First Badhaai Do and now Undekhi 2. You have been on a roll in 2022(and we are still in March). What does the rest of the year look like for you in terms of new releases?
I am extremely grateful to have gotten to play interesting characters like Koyal, Mitali and Komal till now and I want to keep exploring and pushing my boundaries in terms of the characters I choose to play. While there are a couple projects in the pipeline right now, I’ll hopefully be able to talk more about them at the right time