A political drama that revolves around power, plotting and patriarchy! What’s there not to like? On the top of it, Sony Liv’s new offering Maharani is a web series with a female lead, Rani Bharti, portrayed by Huma Qureshi, at the centre of it all to give the viewers a glimpse of the male-dominant field as she, an illiterate homemaker and a loving wife, is the reluctant next Chief Minister, announced by her Chief Minister husband. After Aarya, another women-centric story!
Backed by powerhouse actors Sohum Shah and Amit Sial, the trailer has unlocked a new world of political thriller. And ask the actors if it is inspired by true incidents in Bihar when former Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav had given his chair to his wife Rabri Devi, and Amit calls it an ‘out and out fictional story’.
He says, “Often as audience we are compelled to look for true incidents while watching a series, so comparisons are bound to be made. To float any story, timeline, place and setting is important, but one can look at it as a story from any other state of the country.”
Amit was amazed at how strikingly similar his character Navin Kumar and Sohum Shah’s role of Bheema Bharti, Huma’s husband, looked on screen. “The resemblance was uncanny. There’s a twist involved in our stories and the wait will be over on May 28.” And will there be another season? Even for that both Sohum and Amit remain tight lipped.
A Simple Murder, Kathmandu Connection and now, Maharani were independent projects for him but as all three are aired on Sony Liv, Amit jokes, “It is bound to come off as I am the damaad (son-in-law) of the platform.” He credits digital platforms for getting the due recognition for his work. The Mirzapur actor will next be seen in Inside Edge Season 3.
Unlike many actors, he does not go through his work as an audience post completion as it involves a lot of self-critique. The only time he had to watch a show, it was Mirzapur because his role was extended to the next season and he had to watch it for recall value. He adds, “Barring the three initial months of the lockdown, I have been working back-to-back since July. It has stopped only now that the second wave has forced us relive the lockdown memories.”
Mother’s love & ladoos
On the other hand, Sohum suffered from Covid twice, lucky enough to be asymptomatic, he utilised the isolation time working on his upcoming project and watching series. The Tumbbad actor and producer feels it was his larger-than-life character of a Chief Minister and the opportunity to work with filmmaker Subhash Kapoor, creator of the series, that made him say yes to this project.
Having worked in Bard of Blood, The Big Bull and now Maharani, he has ticked off almost all the leading OTT platforms in India. Next, his focus is on a silent film from the comedy genre, something he hasn’t done before as an actor but which he enjoys as a viewer. About gaining weight to portray his character in the series, he calls it an organic process wherein he ate all that his mother cooked and baked for him during his stay at his home in Sri Ganganagar during the last lockdown.
“It was mother’s love and ladoos that helped me prep. Besides this, I watched a lot of speeches and videos of politicians to prep for my role. To crack the native language and diction, the videos helped as much as the inputs from Subhash and writer Nandan Singh.”
He will be seen in Reema Kagti’s next, Fallen. Sohum says his production company aims at supporting unique ideas and projects that have the potential but acting will always remain his first love.