The OTT medium has been good to both Jaideep Ahlawat and Zeeshan Ayyub. Both actors have been around for well over a decade but it is only recently – due to their exploits in various web series – that they have been termed ‘stars’. Now, the two are coming together in Bloody Brothers, a dark comedy-thriller. In a candid chat with Hindustan Times, the two actors talk about the show, their brotherly chemistry, and times when – like their characters – they found themselves in a soup. (Also read: HT NxT: Jaideep Ahlawat on why he hasn’t signed a bunch of roles post-Paatal Lok)
Bloody Brothers is the story of two brothers (played by Jaideep and Zeeshan), who find themselves in trouble after accidentally killing someone in a car accident. How they try to save their skins while dealing with the police, suspicious relatives, and a local gangster, forms the crux of the story. The actors share they have also found themselves in embarrassing and at times threatening situations over the years. Zeeshan says that unlike their characters, though, it never got too serious for them. “I think neither of us takes ourself seriously. That is why we don’t remember many such things,” he shares.
However, Jaideep Ahlawat does have one story where he genuinely feared for his life. He recalls, “This happened when I was shooting for Vishwaroopam with Kamal Haasan sir in Manhattan, New York. This was around Christmas in 2013 and the entire US was on high alert for the festival. We were shooting with three big SUVs on a bridge and Kamal sir was sitting with me in one of the cars. We couldn’t finish the scene in one go so had to go around and return. Now, we had to cross a toll booth every time we wanted to return to the bridge. The third time we reached the toll, eight or ten cop cars surrounded us. Situation aisi ki bhai goli mat maar dena (just please don’t shoot us). We sat with our hands up and explained we were shooting. Somehow, we got out of that mess. They let us off with a warning. Later on, it became a hilarious memory.” Jaideep adds that even in the midst of that traumatic experience, his mind was racing about his career. “Your mind is a weird thing. I was thinking if we get arrested, I would be a hit. I hadn’t done anything grand till then but suddenly Jaideep Ahlawat would be the man who got arrested with Kamal Haasan in the US,” says Jaideep with a laugh.
The concept of two hero stories is a well established genre in Indian cinema, from the days of Jai-Veeru in Sholay to something as recent as War. Now, this is spilling to OTT as well with shows like Bloody Brothers. Jaideep acknowledges the importance of the leads’ chemistry in such a show and says, “This is a genre in itself and now of course, it is on OTT as well. But as far as it’s about establishing that chemistry between us, it was not any kind of effort, at least not for me. We have known each other for 8-10 years, which was a big factor in doing this. When we got to know, we read the script and talked to each other. That was it. It was easy and fun both.”
Zeeshan says that for him, the biggest draw about the show was the writing and the story. He says, “The first time I read the script, I had to finish it in one go, with all the twists and turns. Whenever I started believing I could solve this mystery, something new would come up that I hadn’t thought of.”
The show boasts of a strong support cast led by actors like Satish Kaushik, Maya Alagh, Shruti Seth, Tina Desai, Mugdha Godse and many others. Talking about working in an ensemble, Zeeshan says, “I don’t believe in competition and I can say this for the both of us. It’s more about collaborative work. The better the actors are around you, the bigger blessing it is. We were happy that the cast is so good so there are chances of a good show being made here.” (Also read: Zeeshan Ayyub : There’s a bigger debate than nepotism, it’s how actors are lied to about their roles)
The show is a dark comedy where even though the characters are in mortal peril, the situation progresses in a manner that viewers will find funny. For Jaideep, that was a big lure. He says that growing up in Haryana, dark humour was a way of life. “It’s a part of life there,” he says, adding, “If you don’t insult friends with some dark humour, it’s no fun.” But the actor relates to another aspect of his character, the protectiveness he feels for his on-screen younger brother. “That ribbing and fun is all good till you do it. If someone else tries to harm your friend or brother, one can do anything to protect them,” he shares.
An adaptation of Scottish series Guilt, Bloody Brothers is directed by Shaad Ali. Produced by Applause Entertainment in association with BBC Studios India, Bloody Brothers will start streaming on ZEE5 from March 18.
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