Bollywood: Aparshakti Khurrana, Khushalii Kumar, Darshan Kumaar, and Kookie Gulati talk 'Dhokha: Round D Corner'

The upcoming thriller which also stars R Madhavan will be out in UAE cinemas on Thursday



by

Husain Rizvi

Published: Tue 20 Sep 2022, 5:37 PM

Last updated: Wed 21 Sep 2022, 9:50 AM

Four characters. Four compelling perspectives. That’s what takes up much of the world in Kookie Gulati’s upcoming thriller Dhokha: Round D Corner starring the versatile R Madhavan, the energetic Aparshakti Khurrana, debutante Khushalii Kumar, and Darshan Kumaar of Mary Kom and The Kashmir Files fame.

Dhokha: Round D Corner, out in UAE cinemas on September 22, takes place amidst the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. It follows the story of a married couple, played by Madhavan and Khushalii, a terrorist (Aparshakti) who is holding the latter hostage in her home while the husband is away, and a highly-experienced police officer who gets the best results in all his cases. Trouble begins when it is revealed that Khushalii’s character is a “patient of delusional disorder” (or is she?), and is “extremely ill and volatile,” as revealed in the trailer.

Watch the trailer below:

All four characters have their own convincing perspectives. And that’s what completes the film, its four characters, and the world it is set in. “I think it is beautifully executed by Kookie sir,” says Aparshakti in a Zoom conversation with City Times, adding that the director sat them down to explain the plot, which can prove to be quite confusing for the viewers. “All the characters’ perspectives were shot and explained by him (Kookie) in a great manner.”

Kookie, famous for Prince (2010) starring Vivek Oberoi, and Abhishek Bachchan-led The Big Bull (2021), wanted to do something really confined as a director. “I wanted to tell a story in the most confined space, in a house, in a building, in one day,” he says. “So, I think that’s where the germ came from.”

For Darshan, who made his debut as a male lead in Mary Kom (2014), getting into the skin of his officer of the law role was quite “challenging” because the actor began shooting for Dhokha: Round D Corner straight after The Kashmir Files, in which he portrays a student. It took Darshan about three weeks to get into that shape, from a student to a cop, reveals Kookie.

While it was challenging for Darshan, he enjoyed the process because of the support he received from the director. To get into the skin of his character, Darshan had to “walk in a certain way,” he says, “I had to imagine the character and how he would behave in a certain situation.”

“So I started wearing certain clothes, walking in a certain way, and I just lived that character,” said Darshan, adding that preparing for these kinds of roles does take a toll, but it’s their job as an actor, so he gave his best.

As for Aparshakti, we’ll see him take on a very different role. He portrays a terrorist, sports short hair, and speaks in a never-heard-before accent from the actor. “I took classes from a Kashmiri dialect coach,” said Aparkshakti. “And, we (the cast) used to have a healthy discussion on the script and scenes, which made shooting very easy.”

Khushalii, meanwhile, is really “excited” for her debut and feels “fortunate” to share screen space with Madhavan, Aparshakti, and Darshan, calling them a “dream cast” for her debut. “It’s been a great and superb experience,” she says, “I enjoyed every minute on the set and I kind of didn’t want the shooting to end but I am happy that we have finally reached our release date.”

From the trailer, it looks like Khushalii’s character is very complex the way it is portrayed. And for the actress, it was initially challenging but eventually turned out to be fun. “I became more curious about Sachi (her character),” she said. “And the more I got to know about her, the more fun it became to perform because there are so many layers to it. I also understood a lot of things and tried to study real life incidents on how people with split personalities behave. The best part is you can’t tell if she’s actually suffering from split personality disorder or those are just mood swings.”

About the film, Khushalii says, “there’s lots of secrets behind every event in the film, and to uncover such secrets, one has to watch the entire film.”

Khushalii, who makes her debut with a thriller, is open to exploring any genre in the future. “This is the beginning for me,” she says, “I am not limited to a single genre. Any good scripts that come my way, I am open to it. As an actor, I want to experience everything.”

So what drew the cast to the film? “This pretty girl sitting next to me,” jokes Aparshakti, looking at Khushalii, who, in turn says it was the “three dashing boys” for her.

“All of us just complete each other,” said Aparshakti of the cast. “The kind of energy we required for this film, we found it during the reading of the script.”

The cast was just “one big happy family on set,” quite evidently from their experiences. The film was shot during the pandemic, “so we really had to be there for each other,” says Kookie. “Shooting in such extremities really unites people.” And that’s why the team was able to complete the film much earlier than expected. “We had planned about a 44-day schedule, and we finished it in 29 days,” the director revealed. “Everybody was in their character, and it was just amazing to have each other and to do a film with these talented actors.”

Darshan detailed his experience on set with his co-stars, especially Madhavan, with whom he had a great time. “He’s a powerhouse of talent, and I had lots of beautiful memories rehearsing, discussing, and performing scenes in front of the camera with him,” he said, adding that Khushalii’s “passion-filled” performances didn’t make it look like it was her first film. “All of us had a great time with each other,” he says, “and that’s what you will see in the film.”

No film is complete without funny behind-the-scenes moments, and for Dhokha: Round D Corner’s team, most of the funny moments had Aparshakti on the helm. “He’s always up to something,” Kookie said, with Darshan concurring. “At one moment they’re laughing and fooling around and in the next, they’re in the most serious life threatening situation (from the film). So it was amazing to have that balance while shooting.”

Kookie also revealed the fact that Aparshakti is a “foodie” and used to bring a lot of food on set. Upon hearing this, Aparshakti burst out with laughter. Khushalii chimed in revealing how Aparshakti also never shared his desserts. “We were all really big foodies on set,” said Aparshakti. “I think all food apps must have figured out that we were shooting a film here, because we ordered different kinds of cuisines everyday.”

Dhokha: Round D Corner is another entry from Bollywood this year which hopes to revive the industry. So far this year, more Bollywood films have tanked at the box office than they have become successful. Is an edge-of-the-seat thriller what Bollywood needs right now? “I don’t know about thrillers but Bollywood needs good content and stories,” said Kookie. “It is genre agnostic, people would love to watch any genre as long as the film is good.”

“The best part is people are realising that content is king. After two years of the pandemic, people have watched so much content that I feel they have matured as audiences. They appreciate great actors, it’s not just about stars anymore. Even if you’re a great star, you still need to act, you still need to perform, and you still need to convince. So I personally think there’s no better time for Bollywood because the audiences are right here. They’re waiting for something great, it is time we pull up our socks and actually make something good.”


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