Meet ‘Bloody Brothers’ Jaideep Ahlawat, Zeeshan Ayyub

The versatile actors talk about their latest show, a dark comedy, based on a Scottish film, and the relevance of OTT platforms in today’s world


Husain Rizvi

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Published: Thu 17 Mar 2022, 5:38 PM

It was in 2010 when actor Jaideep Ahlawat first made an impact with his onscreen performance in Khatta Meetha, a satirical comedy starring Akshay Kumar. Ahlawat’s role as a negative character was the only dark part in a film that was otherwise filled with notable comic scenes.

“It was my first film, I had no idea what I was doing,” recalls Ahlawat in a conversation with City Times. “I was just following what the director (Priyadarshan) was saying, trying to be as believable as I could.” And that’s his primary objective — to be believable on the screen. “That’s what I try to do in any sense whatsoever,” he adds. “Audience should relate to the character, or hate it, but more importantly they should be hooked to the performance.”

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, on the other hand, also started his film career with a negative role in the commercial hit No One Killed Jessica. Starring alongside Vidya Balan and Rani Mukerji, Ayyub’s role in the film earned him a nomination for Best Male Debut at the FilmFare Awards.

Now, over a decade later, the two successful actors who started their film careers with negative roles, are coming together in and as Bloody Brothers. Zee5’s latest OTT comedy series will see the critically acclaimed actors playing a dual lead role alongside Shruti Seth, Tina Desai, and Satish Kaushik.

This will be the first time Ahlawat and Ayyub will work alongside each other as lead actors (the two were part of Raees in 2017). Getting the chemistry up and running was not a problem as both the actors have known each other for a long time. “We share a much better chemistry in real life,” says Ahlawat. “So that helps.”

In fact, the two are “more closer than brothers,” adds Ayyub.

Directed by Shaad Ali, Bloody Brothers is an adaptation of the Scottish mystery thriller, Guilt. Its Bollywood counterpart will see the characters bring uniqueness to the individualities and backgrounds, adding an extensive feel to the adaptation.

What's Bloody Brothers about

A tale of brotherhood, relationships, crime and drama, the six-part series revolves around two brothers who stand poles apart - Jaggi and Daljeet. Their lives spin out of control when a tragic accident occurs. What follows is a series of lies to conceal the truth. However, as more lies are told and more people get involved, it becomes impossible for the two brothers to escape the bloody mess unharmed. The show will reveal the extent to which the brothers will go to protect themselves.

Watch the trailer for Bloody Brothers below:

Working on adapted content

The fact that the two actors have not watched the Scottish film will, in a way, add to the originality of the characters. “If I am working on an adapted content, I purposely don’t watch or read it,” says Ahlawat. “It may mislead me to do something else which is not part of the show’s script.”

For Ahlawat, the script given to him is the original content. “I work around the script, and not around the show because that show is from a different society. There are different responses to situations in that society. So, I stick to the script,” he said.

Adding to the same, Ayyub says it is “better and recommended” to not watch the content a show has been adapted from. “An original text is coming to you, and you have to build your character and world around that,” he said.

Plot and characters

Bloody Brothers is Ahlawat’s maiden dark comedy project and it was the script’s flow that attracted the actor to the series. “The characters in this story completely change the entire game,” says Ahlawat, adding that he also had an amazing “co-actor” to work with.

Ayyub, who was also looking forward to working with Ahlawat, loves the genre of the series. “Having that thriller element is fun,” he says. “It is also cathartic, it changes everything around you.”

Another factor that caught Ayyub’s attention was his onscreen character’s personality. Ayyub, who has played several street-smart characters, found Daljeet, his character in Bloody Brothers, “too innocent” as compared to his previous personalities. “But he is not a fool,” Ayyub said.

Jaideep Ahlawat’s look in ‘Bloody Brothers’

Jaideep Ahlawat in Bloody Brothers
Jaideep Ahlawat in Bloody Brothers

From the trailer, it is evident that Ahlawat went through a facial transformation for the film; he sports a never-seen-before look featuring a short pony and a classy beard and moustache combo to compliment his onscreen personality.

“At first, I was not sure about it,” he says, but “Shaad (director) talked to me and we discussed how it would look on screen. Then, we agreed.

It looked interesting in a way when I started working on it. Then it looked perfect.” Ahlawat seldom spends on haircuts, instead he prefers to grow his hair. “You can cut your hair in five minutes,” he says, but growing them is a task, which is why he styles them according to his projects.

OTT’s emergence

It is no secret that OTT platforms have flourished in the last few years, more so, amidst the pandemic. Both Ahlawat and Ayyub played major roles in popular OTT shows – Paatal Lok (2020) and Tandav (2021) – that were released during the lockdowns.

“During the first lockdown, everybody was home and that is when OTT became the saviour of entertainment for the people,” says Ahlawat, citing how Paatal Lok was a huge hit among the crowd and critics.

While OTT platforms are not exactly new to the audience, its relevance sky-rocketed during the pandemic as cinemas were shut and audiences streamed shows from the comfort of their homes. It also provided a new platform for film-makers to delve in.

“Writers can now write more elaborate stories. They are not restricted to just two or three hours of run time,” said Ahlawat.

Adding to the same, Ayyub points out how content on OTT platforms is available to all. But, “it is in its teething phase,” he says, “we need to wait for another two years to understand exactly how it is going to grow.”

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