Bollywood actors Abhishek Bachchan and Nimrat Kaur on their new film 'Dasvi'

The social comedy revolves around an uneducated politician who dreams of being a 'tenth pass'.



by

Enid Grace Parker

Published: Wed 6 Apr 2022, 2:56 PM

Last updated: Wed 6 Apr 2022, 2:59 PM

Is it ever too late to go back to school? And what if you happen to be behind bars when you make that decision?

When an uneducated politician, Ganga Ram Chaudhary (Abhishek Bachchan), is jailed for his involvement in a scam, his domesticated wife Bimla Devi (Nimrat Kaur) takes his place as Chief Minister of an Indian state; Bimla eventually goes on a power trip of her own while Ganga Ram after a serious of verbal tussles with straitlaced IPS officer Jyoti Deswal (Yami Gautam), experiences an epiphany of sorts and decides to take up the challenge of finally pursuing his high school qualification.

Dasvi (meaning ‘tenth’) is a comedy that brings together two quirky lead characters amidst the milieu of North India. The trailer promises a family-friendly film (releasing April 7 on Netflix and Jio Cinema) that in the stars’ own words, is not meant to be preachy in any way but aims to deliver clean and quality entertainment.

Both Abhishek (an underrated actor in our opinion) and Nimrat stand out in the Dasvi trailer, their Haryanvi accent and comic timing impressive; Yami Gautam as an upright police officer makes a mark as well; what remains to be seen is if all the elements of Dasvi come together seamlessly and impress OTT audiences.

Meanwhile City Times caught up with Abhishek and Nimrat for a chat about their Dasvi characters, taking on comic roles, memories of their own school lives, and more.

ABHISHEK BACHCHAN:

The Dasvi trailer is so funny and impactful and the premise itself very unique. What stood out for you when you first read the script?

I thought the entire story was very engaging and interesting, and told in a very light-hearted manner; I liked the style of narrative and how the director was wanting to tell the story.

You were last seen in thrillers Bob Biswas and The Big Bull. Did you want to take a lighter route with Dasvi?

By the time Dasvi happened, I had just come around Ludo, Breathe, Bob Biswas; I was looking to do something lighter, and this just fit in perfectly.

You look like you had a lot of fun playing the role of politician Ganga Ram Chaudhary…

I did actually, very much so.

How satisfying is it to pull off a comic role as compared to an intense or serious one?

It’s all the same, I think; you are very content when you manage to pull off a film the way it’s intended to be. I don’t think there is any difference for an actor (between film genres); as long as you manage to do justice and your audience likes it, that’s just what you are looking for.

When you’re doing a comedy, is there a kind of light-hearted atmosphere on set?

I’m not so sure, but yes, I think when it is a light-hearted film the atmosphere on set is slightly more jovial. When you’re doing an intense scene or an emotional scene, the mood does reflect on the set as well. So I think when you are doing something light-hearted, by and large it is more jovial but, I mean, everybody is still working very hard!

You have a very convincing Haryanvi accent in the trailer! What was the most challenging bit about playing Ganga Ram?

Thank you! I think obviously to walk that very tightrope between being responsible about telling the story in the right way, and balancing the right dose of entertainment with what you are trying to say and get the message across.

We didn’t want to lecture anybody. This wasn’t a film about being preachy in any which way. The attitude I think director Tushar Jalota has, is to tell a nice story and make people smile through it.

What also stood out in the trailer is the banter and verbal battles between you and Yami’s character. What was it like doing those scenes and working with her?

It was great! I really enjoyed working with not just Yami but even Nimrat; it was my first time working with both of them. I really think I’ve come out a better actor after getting to observe them and collaborate with them.

They’re such generous artists, and it was really wonderful to work with both of them — (they are) so professional, so disciplined, so on-the-ball and such masters of their craft!

The focal point of Dasvi is obviously education; looking back on your own school life, how serious a student were you?

I was serious when it came to subjects that I liked! We all have our favourites, but when I was in school, I was always into my sports and my drama. Those took precedence over everything else.

I actually thoroughly enjoyed my schooling life. Some of the happiest days of my life were my school days. I enjoy learning. I wouldn’t say I was a brainiac, suffice to say I was an above-average student. For me it was more about learning, it wasn’t just about studying.

Dasvi is releasing on OTT which has seen a real boom since the pandemic. What does working for OTT mean to you personally; does it kind of give you the chance to appeal to a wider, a global audience?

I guess the numbers would probably agree with you, but at the end of the day as an actor you’re just happy that people are getting to see your work and your films, and I am happy about that. Yes, the kind of reach and penetration that OTT platforms have for worldwide audiences is spectacular, so that obviously is a silver lining.

But the predominant emotion is that I’m happy people are getting to watch the film.

NIMRAT KAUR:

The Dasvi trailer is so funny and impactful and the premise itself very unique. What stood out for you when you first read the script?

It was a no-brainer because I’ve never been offered a part like this before, and I absolutely fell in love with it, from the get-go!

I just heard two lines, that she (Bimla) is very innocent, homely and just somebody who is relegated to doing chores of the family and home, and everything in her household.

She comes from Haryana, from the heartland, and she’s absolutely uneducated; suddenly she becomes a Chief Minister because her husband goes to jail. That had me; I mean, there was nothing else I needed to know; I said ‘I’m on’!

How satisfying is it to pull off a comic role as compared to an intense or serious one?

It honestly feels like such a breath of fresh air! I’ve never been offered a comic role in my film career. And I’d like to say two things; one is, as an actor it is so refreshing to get into the skin of somebody where you don’t have to take yourself too seriously.

You know that the purpose of the scene is to lighten the mood, it’s to lift the graph of the story with one’s comic timing and with your co-actors, with the help of the writing. That’s the acting part, which is very exciting.

So as a first (comic role) to begin with, I absolutely loved it and I’m very grateful to producer Dinesh Vijan, director Tushar Jalota and the writers to think of me for a part like this, with no reference point and to have that kind of faith in me, that I will be able to pull this off. Whether I have or not, that’s for people to decide once they watch the film.

That’s one. And as a girl, I felt very empowered playing scenes where I had to create comedy from the script. I’m not generalizing, but more often than not what you see is that women tend to be the subject of the comedy. So driving the comic strain in a scene or driving humour isn’t always given to female actors and the writing doesn’t always allow it. Women are rarely trusted with that.

So I felt very encouraged and extremely empowered both as a girl and as an actor.

What was it like working with Abhishek?

He’s terrific. Truth be told, it’s one of his finest performances, if not up there! He’s marvellous, a thorough gentleman. Honestly the more I speak, the less it will be regarding how incredibly amazing his work ethic is and how not only is he encouraging as a co-actor, he makes sure the atmosphere of the set is so light and easy.

He’s so perceptive as a human being, very intuitive. There’s so much to just learn and observe as his co-actor.

He carries no airs, no heaviness, no jadedness, and has got no chip on the shoulder. These are things we take for granted in human beings as they progress in their careers and their lives but I think one has to stand and take note of the choices people around us make. By that I mean Abhishek, not just as an actor but even as a human being. I’ve come off so enriched and so inspired by his presence.

The focal point of Dasvi is education; looking back on your own school life, how serious a student were you?

I used to take my studies very seriously but I used to be up to no good in equal measure! I have done all kinds of shenanigans and never got caught; I have to give myself that credit (laughs).

I had a lot of fun in school. I was always heavily involved in extra curricular activities and I’m grateful to my family that they didn’t force me to conform to only one kind of a school life — which is studies and nothing else! I used to debate, I used to dance, I used to be on stage acting; I used to be doing all kinds of things. So I’m very grateful for that!

Do you want Dasvi to be more than just entertainment for the audiences? What would you like them to take away from it?

That’s not for me to decide! I feel like if the film entertains you, I would love for people to sit with their families and watch it again and again, because it’s a really clean, innocently intended film.

Hopefully they’ll take away whatever they want to, whether it’s certain scenes or performances or narration. Dasvi is about so many things; it’s about second chances, about it never being too late to do something in your life. Honestly I really can’t find (only) one.


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