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‘Decoupled’ : The comedy of separation

‘My character sometimes says the most obnoxious lines,’ reveals R Madhavan, as he and co-star Surveen Chawla current the mid-December dramedy, Decoupled

Both R Madhavan and Surveen Chawla aren’t new to streaming. Madhavan, 51, made his debut with Breathe in 2018 when streaming was thought of, at greatest, peripheral. Chawla, 37, struck gold with the second season of Sacred Games in 2019. Having begun their respective journeys on tv — Zee TV’s Banegi Apni Baat and Ghar Jamai for Madhavan or Ekta Kapoor’s Kahin To Hoga for Chawla — their careers touched movies, each Hindi and Tamil, earlier than it landed on streaming, first individually, and now collectively, with their Netflix present Decoupled.

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Created and written by writer Manu Joseph (Serious Men), directed by Hardik Mehta (Kamyaab, Roohi), Decoupled makes use of the body of comedy to take a look at a pair in Gurgaon navigating divorce. “I haven’t played a character like this before,” says Madhavan, who performs a author within the present. He is understood for having a superb maintain on screenplays and contributing to scripts, be it together with his earlier hits Minnale (2001), 3 Idiots (2009), or the newer Irudhi Suttru (2016).

In an interview with the 2 actors for The Hindu Weekend, edited for size and readability, they communicate of how the pandemic and streaming has formed their craft, and Decoupled.

What drew you to those components in Decoupled?

Madhavan: The present is in English, and we’re not English-ising a Tamil or Hindi present. The character says issues as he sees it, and typically he says probably the most obnoxious, offending traces. My problem as an actor was to see that he doesn’t turn into a unfavourable character. That he can say something and nonetheless get away with it as a result of of his harmless intent.


Especially after the pandemic, being in entrance of the digital camera was a fantastic reduction. There was additionally a fantastic synergy of individuals, and a good quantity of partying since we have been all in the identical resort. I had multiple purpose to simply accept the story.

Surveen: This is a Gurgaon-based couple with a younger daughter. My character is that one particular person within the present who brings sanity again and normalises issues within the midst of the sarcasm and the ego. But Hardik was very clear that we didn’t wish to have a hate relationship between the individuals. [He wanted] to usher in animosity and but have the viewers really feel that they’ve items of love left.

How concerned are you now with the creation of your characters?

Madhavan: When I approve a script, I do know what about it has touched me. Sometimes, I see that we’re not touching these markers which excited me within the first place. That is once I step in and information [the team] as to what we initially conceived, which occurs typically. Sometimes, with the dearth of expertise with younger administrators — they’ve ardour, they usually wish to inform a narrative, however there’s a technique to it — I’ve to say that possibly we don’t wish to bask in one thing we didn’t discover within the pre-production. That aside, Surveen and I have been open to improvisation. Ideally, we don’t wish to do greater than the actor’s job as a result of that’s what we’re paid to do. I’d like to go on a Mani Ratnam or a Rajkumar Hirani film set and utterly give up as an actor and never fear about anything. But these are luxuries which are few and much between.

Surveen: I’ve skilled collaboration at a much more detailed stage on OTT, as a result of it’s a longer format and you’re spending extra time along with your director.

Do you put together otherwise for a efficiency on streaming?

Surveen: With Decoupled, and Sacred Games, the method of filming was months at a stretch. It is way simpler to shoot each single day versus taking pictures with breaks, however it’s also tough as a result of it’s a must to maintain that rhythm going for the longest time. Decoupled, although, has been the quickest shoot, as a result of because of the pandemic we have been in a bio-bubble in Delhi for 2 months. We filmed repeatedly, after which went straight to Goa. So, to hold onto the character was simpler.

Madhavan: The depth, involvement, and dedication is similar. It is simpler to be in character in movies as a result of there are fewer taking pictures days. It is simpler to choose up from the final scene we shot. In movies, nevertheless, you might need to be extra cautious along with your appears to be like, for the reason that bigger display screen will seize all nuances of your preparation.

How do you gauge the success of a present on OTT?

Surveen: Decoupled is a contemporary story, and it’ll resonate with an city elite, English talking viewers. Masses can’t be focused with it. Social media, then, could be that marker of success for me, the place individuals give us their opinions.

Madhavan: Tangible proof is the remuneration that’s provided to me for the subsequent sequence (laughs).

Madhavan, you could have spoken about how the pandemic has made you rethink the sorts of tales you wish to pursue…

Madhavan: Post-pandemic, we now have to cater to the emotional scenario of the viewers, which has modified. I’m in search of age-appropriate romantic tales to open up the display screen, and present them the greenery, the snow, and make them really feel that life isn’t as futile because it appeared throughout the pandemic.

Surveen Chawla

Surveen Chawla

Surveen: I’m additionally performed with these darkish and heavy roles. After some extent, it will get to you. I used to be simply not feeling the thrill of happening a set, doing one thing I hadn’t performed earlier than.

Madhavan, you’re additionally gearing up for the discharge of Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, the biopic of Nambi Narayanan. You mentioned you think about it “more of a national duty than a movie”.

Madhavan: It is a tragic factor that we have no idea something about Nambi Narayanan. As a nation we do not need a street named after him, nor does he have the credit score he richly deserves for making the one indigenously constructed rocket engine. I didn’t know him, by no means met him earlier than this movie. But once I did, I felt this overwhelming sense of angst and responsibility — how will we on this nation not learn about a patriot like him? So I put my cash the place my mouth is and funded the challenge.

Surveen, any future initiatives?

Surveen: There is one thing, however …

Oh no, the NDAs!

Madhavan: I miss the great previous days the place there have been no contracts. When I first began, individuals didn’t have contracts. I was the one insisting on contracts and scripts in Tamil cinema. I’m nonetheless hated for these two issues. (laughs)


Decoupled premieres on Netflix on December 17

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