OTT: Supernatural meets crime thriller in 'The Last Hour'
Sanjay Kapoor and Karma Takapa talk about their new series, streaming now.
A cop, Arup, who is dragged out of his comfort zone. A mysterious shaman, Dev, who has special powers. A murder that takes over a small town. A blossoming romance. All these elements come together perfectly in engaging crime thriller The Last Hour, streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.
Shot in picturesque Sikkim, The Last Hour boasts fresh faces as well as seasoned ones - debutant Karma Takapa plays Dev, while Bollywood actor Sanjay Kapoor plays Arup who enlists the help of Dev to solve a murder mystery.
In a Zoom conversation with City Times, Sanjay - last seen in psychological thriller The Gone Game - weighed in on his role of a cop who he says is nothing like the policemen that are stereotypically showcased on screen.
“I play a cop who is not a super cop! He has problems with his daughter Pari (played by Shaylee Krishen); he has his own complexes… Arup is not like that so-called cop you tend to see in movies, one who is either corrupt or if he’s in a main role, is a super cop…”
Joking about how such ‘super cops’ get rid of all the bad guys and solve every clue single handedly, Sanjay also credited director Amit Kumar (who helmed the critically acclaimed Monsoon Shootout) for bringing out Arup’s ‘discomfort’ upon being transported to a completely new place to solve a crime, really well, and realistically portraying the show’s characters.
“For any law enforcement official who goes to a new city to solve a murder, life is not going to be easy! Arup has got his own insecurities; then he finds Dev, who realizes he has a superpower - he can discern what happens in a person’s last hour. So Arup takes the help of this shaman to solve a murder mystery. It’s very intriguingly done and shooting in Sikkim (with its dramatic mountainous landscape) has added an eerie element to the entire show.”
An impactful debut
An element of the supernatural is also evident in the gripping 2-minute-20-second trailer of The Last Hour, and while Karma - who has written and directed films in the past - didn’t divulge much about his role as a ‘jhakri’ - someone who can see souls, he expressed satisfaction with the way Dev’s character has been showcased.
“This is my first role as an actor; there were a lot of discussions with Amit (director) and we came to an understanding as to how we wanted to play this character out - to not just make it about somebody who has a power but also to keep a believable aspect to it. And also make it real in terms of a human being going through, like Sanjay said, his own complexities. I can’t say much because I feel the more I speak the more I would reveal the plot points (laughs).”
Many viewers who commented on the trailer were appreciative of the fact that talent from the North East of India is getting represented in a major way in a mainstream series like The Last Hour. How does Karma feel about this considering he is from Sikkim?
“It feels very good, very gratifying, and long overdue! I feel very fortunate to be part of a show like this which is actually able to project the North East into the mainstream through such a huge platform like Amazon Prime Video.”
The trailer keeps you hooked without giving anything much away and Sanjay says it is the director’s ability to showcase a dramatic situation in a subtle manner that adds to the appeal of the series.
“The director made sure that our performance was as real as possible. For example, when you are playing a cop, you’ll always have some dramatic dialogues but these were not said in a dramatic way. The situation and ambience and moments are themselves dramatic. Even in a short trailer, he’s introduced Dev, Lipika (Shahana Goswami), my daughter Pari (Shaylee) and Arup; there are glimpses of Raima (Sen) and you feel that they all have a very distinctive personality. And if with a trailer you can create that impact, imagine how engrossing the show would be.”
Karma admitted he was lured by the “clarity” of the script - which ran into 500-600 pages.
“Anyone would have been excited to just go on reading irrespective of whether it turned into a film or not. The elements within the script, how it was researched, how the characters were structured, how it played out, how it was not falling into trying to create very cliched tropes, but indulging in characterization and narrative and staying true to being gripping and intriguing at the same time.”
Promoting new faces
One of OTT’s most refreshing qualities is that filmmakers do not shy away from casting new faces in lead roles, and the ‘star power’ that dominates mainstream Bollywood is noticeably absent here. Sanjay, who hails from an illustrious clan that boasts a superstar (Anil Kapoor) and a famous filmmaker (Boney Kapoor), believes the casting for The Last Hour was “wonderful”.
“It’s such a sensible casting to cast a new face like Karma. Because a new face doesn’t have an ‘image’. So the believability of this character becomes even more. If I had been playing the shaman, I wouldn’t have looked so believable because when you look at me, you’d think about the many films I’ve been in, but when you see Karma, he doesn’t come with any baggage. He’s so fresh.”
Karma says that despite the supernatural genre being an old and popular one in India, The Last Hour has something new to offer. “I think when you look at the palette of the show, the way it is shot, where it is shot, the faces that you see - they all bring a level of authenticity to what the series is about. Hopefully it translates into people wanting to watch it.”
Sanjay, who kicked off his career in the ‘90s and has been part of films like Raja, Prem and The Zoya Factor, gives a shout out to OTT as being “a great platform for actors to showcase their talent.”
“I would use myself as an example. Today, I wouldn’t have got to play a role like Arup in a film because everything is dependent on stardom. And like you know, we have 8-10 stars.. I went through that phase. I had my own innings but all actors go through a transition period. OTT has grown in the past couple of years in a very big way; for me it’s been a really great blessing. I couldn’t have asked for anything better because this is what I love to do. I feel I have so much to offer.”