Mumbai: After gaining popularity for his role in ‘Monsoon Wedding’ in the early 2000s, Parvin Dabas showcased his acting chops in several popular films like ‘Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara’, ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’ and ‘My Name Is Khan’ among others over the years.
Parvin's next film ‘Mirror Game’ opposite Pooja Batra sees him in one of his most challenging roles as a lead actor. The two actors spoke exclusive to DC about their film in an interview.
Parvin plays a professor of Clinical Psychology in the film, who suspects his wife of infidelity and falls into a trap when she disappears and an investigation into the matter follows.
About the research for his character, Parvin says, “I did read on the subject. It’s also a lot about the emotional connection and knowing a lot about what's being talked about. When it comes to emotional connection, according to me, you shouldn’t get too intellectual with the character. You have to work and do your research and know a lot of these things, but if you try to get too intellectual with the character, then the character stays in the head itself and you fail to relate it in your performance. So according to me, the hardest part is to emotionally connect with the character.”
The actor also recalls a meeting with a psychologist during ‘Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara’ that turned out to be handy for his preparations for 'Mirror Game.' The psychologist opened up about his own problems to Parvin and that conversation was something that was beneficial for his preparation for this character, as he could relate to it.
Pooja Batra plays the role of a psychologist too and after working in several comedy and masala films in the ‘90s, ‘Mirror Game’ offers her something completely different.
Pooja says, “Thrillers are hardly made over here and this is my first one. I love thrillers, because it is an emotion. When you’re sitting here, you want to feel that, like what’s going to happen, I like that when I go to see a movie. When I read the script, I loved it and the role was something which I’ve never done before. Thrillers are usually not done well because of the poorly-written scripts are not written well, but this script is definitely well-written.”
She adds, “There is an audience for thrillers. It is generally the millennial, ones who are Internet-savvy.”
Parvin says the genre of thrillers is definitely not dying. “I don’t think it’s a problem with the genre, it’s actually with the individual film. If you’re trying to be overtly intelligent, then it doesn't work, there has to be some sort of entertainment in every film. If you think of one of the most famous psychological thrillers, then it’s ‘Inception.’ It deals with something that is very simple, but it has been made in a way that keeps you engaged. It’s not a concept that goes over your head and that’s why it works. You have to be one step ahead of the audience, but you can’t be be over-smart.”
The film did take a toll on Parvin, but he had his way of coming out of the character. He says, “It’s such an intense movie, so there were days where you needed a little release. Usually you are so invested into it, that the end of the shoot, I drink the last day to get it out of the system.”
Pooja, however, jokes that she stayed away from parties throughout and instead focused on her character.
She says, “I was much into the character. When you see the movie, you’ll see it is very much the opposite of what I am in real life. I also had to up my ante with actors such as Parvin Dabas.
Even though we had Skype rehearsals, it takes a little bit of time to set in. you are there at 6 am in the morning, you feel this is work. If my character was like that, I would be partying but Dr. Roy (her character) doesn’t party."
While Parvin has worked in different genres, including comedy, thriller, horror and drama, it is always possible to get typecast in the same kind of roles.
When asked if getting typecast is a risk, Parvin says, “It is and it isn’t. That’s how people think sometimes. When someone has done a particular role well and when people are looking out for a similar character they think of that actor. It’s up to the person then to say no to those roles. Of course, that’s a risk also. Some people have done the same kind of roles and then branched out to different things. It depends from person to person, but it is always a risk being typecast.”
Pooja says, “You do get typecast, like I was typecast when I was in India. I was always foreign-returned or like a modern version, but then I did ‘Taj Mahal' and everyone was like 'why did they take Pooja, she doesn’t look like Noor Jahan.' That’s what an actress is supposed to do, to morph into another character, that’s the fun of acting. Constantly doing the same, is redundant. I had to consciously make an effort to choose roles that were opposite of what I was typecast in. Like my last movie was ‘One under the Sun’ where I play an astronaut and I’ve never played an astronaut. They were open with casting an African-American or white woman, but when I walked in and I looked like this, they thought they can go Indian because I didn’t look too Indian. That’s what I liked, that they were open to changing the idea.”
Omi Vaidya is another important member of the cast. Both Parvin and Pooja are impressed with the work of the ‘3 Idiots’ actor. Parvin says, “It was very interesting because in this film, he doesn’t play a typical funny role, but he’s got a funny face. So sometimes it a bit hard keeping a straight face, when he’s trying to learn his lines especially. It is interesting especially in this kind of role, because we don’t expect somebody like him."
Pooja echoes Parvin’s thoughts, “It was great. He is a stand-up comedian. He is brilliant, a good actor and it was fun.”
The makers also held a screening for Bollywood stars where Akshay Kumar among others were also present.
“Everybody else really liked it. But I’ll be very frank with you, I don’t consider film screenings as the best barometer, you have to wait for the audience’s reaction,” Parvin says.
Pooja says, “Ekta Kapoor saw the film as well, and she posted on Instagram that she loved the film.”
‘Mirror Game’, directed by Vijit Sharma and produced by Icelerate Films, is gearing up for release on 2 June.