After Side Hero starring Kunaal Roy Kapur, Eros Now has launched its second web series Smoke with Jim Sarbh, Gulshan Devaiah, Kalki Koechlin, Neil Bhoopalam and Mandira Bedi. The series is set in Goa and explores its underbelly, from the drug trade and mafia to the police and politicians embroiled in it. We caught up with the cast who opened up about the show, cinema and India’s ongoing #MeToo movement.
In the series, scenic locales are interspersed with darker, grittier views. “This is a different side to Goa and while you do see the beaches, there are these rustic locales that go with the tone of the show,” says Neil Bhoopalam, whose character on the show is mute. His co-star Gulshan Devaiah agrees saying,
“The tone of the show is gritty and dark and the locales and visuals are completely in sync with that.”Gulshan Devaiah, Actor
Jim Sarbh, who portrays a don’s right hand man, describes his character as a “mongrel”. “He doesn’t really have this definitive place where he’s from. He’s lived in various places and that’s why the accent is distinct,” he says.
When asked if the digital medium is a threat to traditional cinema, Sarbh is quick to point out that there is no reason the two cannot coexist saying,“Why do we always compare things, why can’t things co-exist? It’s always one versus the other.” Devaiah agrees: “Even when television came, people thought it would affect the movies but it didn’t. Nothing can replace the experience of watching a film in a theatre, and both can contribute to each other instead of taking away from each other.”
In wake of the #MeToo storm that has hit Bollywood and other industries, the three of them stand in complete solidarity. Sarbh emphasises that a fundamental change was needed and that sex education and awareness should be inculcated at a school and college level.
“We’re all eventually trying to be better people and this is very important for us as a society,” adds Bhoopalam.
Smoke is currently streaming on Eros Now.