Suniel Shetty on his OTT debut Dharavi Bank, 'When I shot in Dharavi, I was flabbergasted'

Actor gets candid about making his maiden digital project, playing a ruthless yet generous character, and more

Lipika VarmaUpdated: Thursday, November 17, 2022, 10:23 PM IST
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Suniel Shetty | Pic: Instagram/suniel.shetty

Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty is all set to make his OTT acting debut with Dharavi Bank. The web series is directed by Samit Kakkad and also stars Vivek Oberoi. It will premiere digitally on MX Player on November 19. The Free Press Journal caught up with Suniel for an exclusive chat. Excerpts:

What do you have to say about debuting on the digital platform?

It’s really very exciting also with the crazy different subject surely because of the family, the entire set up, the costume and the location is the hero. Every artiste is as important as the other in the technical sphere and every individual from this sphere too matters a lot. So we can say the content is in our hands. So the joy and excitement.

You have never been seen in this avatar on screen before. Your comment?

My heroes are Dayavan and Nayakan, that’s what I tell everybody. These are the people I idolised as actors and human beings too. I was very close to Vinodji (Khanna). Even if I manage 10 per cent of what they are, I think I have done my job. There was no question of saying no when this role came to me. As a matter of fact, the script first came to me and they said, ‘You have to be a part of this project’. The first thing I said was, ‘If you are asking me to play the cop I am not going to play that. No matter how good it might be’. I was playing Thalaivan so they started working on my look. The body language, diction and everything else had to compliment the character.

You are popularly known as Anna in Bollywood. Soon you will also be known as Thalaivan… How do you like this tag?

(Laughs) This Thalaivan is our Anna from Bollywood. It’s so funny everybody used to say Anna, Anna but in the last few days, they have started calling me Thalaivan! But yes, it worked. I am enjoying the appreciation as when the trailer came out everyone appreciated each character.

A still from Dharavi Bank

A still from Dharavi Bank |

In the trailer, Thalaivan seems ruthless and generous at the same time. But ruthlessness and your personality are poles apart…

Maybe on the personal front that’s why I am an actor. I chose this role as it is challenging. That entire 52 acres of land he controls is his kingdom. The outside world is looking at it from a ruthless perspective, but his world and his people are looking at him as Thalaivan as the demigod. He is their God. That’s the beauty I am ruthless, it’s in my eyes! Vivek too is very good. Luckily for me, my setting was perfect for the public.

A still from Dharavi Bank

A still from Dharavi Bank |

The Dharavi connect seems synonymous to you. How was your experience shooting there?

Yes, because Dharavi is actually the business hub of Mumbai. That’s why when I shot in Dharavi, I saw areas for the first time, which I have never seen in my life. I was flabbergasted. The communities that live there are so spick and span. All festivals are spent far more lavishly and with more love than we would ever spend in our apartments. We don't even know who our next door neighbours are. Every time I went to shoot, somebody got fish or samosas and you had it to eat as it’s truly a joint family.

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