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Entertainment

Updated on: Thursday, January 13, 2022, 06:27 AM IST

Exclusive! Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai! fame Saanand Verma plays a pimp in Madhur Bhandarkar's India Lockdown

The actor reveals the storyline of the National Award-winning director's next and plight of sex workers who lost their means of livelihood during the pandemic in 2020
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Saanand Verma, who is best known for Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai! and Apaharan Sabka Katega, will soon be seen in a film titled India Lockdown. It is directed by National Award-winning Madhur Bhandarkar and also stars Shweta Basu Prasad. As per reports, the film is ready for release with two scenes cut by the censor board. The actor spoke to Free Press Journal about his role in the film, upcoming projects, etc. Excerpts:

Saanand Verma with director Madhur Bhandarkar

Tell us about India Lockdown. What is your role in it?

India Lockdown has four different stories in the backdrop about the first lockdown that happened. One of the stories depicts the problems that the sex workers faced during that time. Their business was shut down like all other businesses. I am into that business and playing the role of a pimp. The character is quite different, and nobody has seen me in that look till now. The character’s name is Tipu, and it’s quite a sensational character. The movie is mind-blowing as I have seen the cut. Madhurji has crafted an unbelievable product.

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The team of India Lockdown

Was it easy for you to slip into the role? How did you prepare for it?

I am extremely excited about this movie character. I am a person who has learned everything from life. I started working when I was eight years old and thus have loads of experience. I followed and observed many such characters in films. Madhur sir went to Kamathipura. Shweta also went there. She is playing the lead sex worker in the story. I have covered certain issues when I was in Delhi. Thus I have a wide know-how about all of it. I already had connections with them as I covered certain social issues.

Shweta Basu Prasad

Shweta Basu Prasad | Pic: Instagram/shwetabasuprasad11

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What is the basic storyline of India Lockdown?

The story is such as because of the lockdown, the clients had stopped coming, and no one wanted to have physical relations, so sex workers were in a bad situation. Sex workers faced a humungous financial crunch. Prateik Babbar is playing the role of a labourer who goes from the city to his village. One story is about working labourers. Two more are there, which are about old men who are stuck in the home, and Prakash Belawadi is one of the characters.

In the film, are you the kind of pimp that forces the lead character to get physical with their clients?

I don’t force Shweta’s character to go physical as a sex worker with the clients. We are like a family that has sex workers and pimps. The problems that sex workers are facing, even I am facing as I bring the business. The head of the business is me. One character of Amma Ji is also there, but the main story revolves around the pimp and Shweta. I handle the brothel…main hi wahan ka sarve–sarva hoon (I’m the whole sole there).

Will this film have a theatrical or OTT release?

Madhur sir told me that the film has been purchased by Jayantilal Gada. I am not sure whether it will come on OTT or in theatres.

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Could you tell us about your upcoming projects?

I am doing Guilty Minds for a digital platform. We have done our wrap party. The director is Shefali Bhushan. One of the artists in Guilty Minds is Shriya Pilgaonkar. She plays a lawyer, and I am playing a shrewd, opposing lawyer named Ravish Goyal. He is highly educated and does something extraordinary, which no lawyer has done. It is a real-life character. It’s about a corporate case, and I am the defence lawyer. It is a courtroom drama and is purely for entertainment. All my projects will be released within three months if all goes well. I have six films but can’t talk about them as I have not yet signed the agreement. They all are from big production houses.

We hear you are a part of another film by Madhur?

Yes, I will be shooting soon for Bubbly Bouncer. Normally, Madhur sir doesn’t repeat actors, but I am extremely grateful to him. I am playing the manager of a club, and the protagonist is Bubbly, who is the bouncer. The shoot will be in Mumbai and outside in Punjab as well. The movie is a light-hearted drama and has various angles, and every character is quite positive.

What about the second season of Apaharan Sabka Katega?

Its official release date is yet to be announced. I am playing the role of Satyanarayan Dubey. The famous dialogue of his in season 1 was, “Ready steady, who is your daddy?”. The shooting for the second season in Serbia went on for 20-25 days and was completed around six months ago. In season one, the story almost had a definite end. The story is new in season two and has high voltage drama. It revolves around kidnapping but with a new angle. I can’t share more details. The director’s name is Santosh Singh. Siddarth Sen has written the story. The demand of the story was set in Serbia, so the story was shot there.

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Published on: Thursday, January 13, 2022, 07:00 AM IST
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