“Expect a lot of thrill. It’s a very pacy movie and will keep you guys sleuthing throughout,” said Mouni Roy while talking about her film London Confidential. The spy-thriller, also starring Purab Kohli, Pravesh Rana and Kulraj Randhawa, is streaming on ZEE5.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Mouni talked about her foray into the digital space and London Confidential.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. What is London Confidential all about?
London Confidential talks about the brutal killings of Indian agents in the backdrop of a pandemic. While one is getting over, there is a rumour of another one. I play Uma, an undercover officer, who is trying to find a mole in her team, while solving the mystery around the new threat.
Q. We see you in a never seen before avatar in this film. How was the experience and what went behind preparing for the role?
It was very exciting and challenging for me as the character is very different from me. She is out there living two lives and is so straightforward. While I have watched a few spy films, most of the preparation was through the script only as we hardly had any time. However, our director made us do homework where we had to write our thoughts about a particular scene, or equation with other characters. I think taking these mental notes really helped us play our parts. It was so refreshing to play Uma, and understand how important these agents are as so many lives are dependent on them.
Q. We usually see male actors playing RAW agents. Since you are at forefront in this film, do you think it would bring a shift in gender stereotyping?
I don’t know if it would or would not, but it definitely should. This woman is pregnant, and given the scenario, she cannot go back to India to her husband. Her job is so important to her that without any bit of personal worry, she is out there trying to protect lives. For her, to even take a break is not an option, and neither she wants it. I can only hope that people can resonate with the character.
Q. A lot has been said about how the show is based on the coronavirus pandemic. What do you have to say?
Honestly, it’s not about coronavirus. As I earlier mentioned, there is a pandemic in the backdrop but that’s pretty much about it. The film is more about the officials being killed and how Uma and Arjun (Purab Kohli) try to hunt for the traitor among them.
Q. The film was shot during the pandemic. Was it unnerving to step out for work?
The lockdown had just opened in London when we started filming. Still, I was very nervous and you could actually sense the fear from the energy. There was a set of very strict rules that we had to follow, and my hair and makeup team would literally sanitise me at intervals. The good thing was that throughout the schedule none of us got affected. We would actually take the swab test every week as even one testing positive could cause a lot of inconvenience. It was not comfortable but I think that’s the new world. And we all want to work, so we will have to deal with it.
Q. Talking about the new normal, what is your take on films taking the digital route?
London Confidential is my debut in the OTT space, so I am most definitely very excited. I am happy that friends and family will all be able to see the film. And honestly, the situation is worldwide, and it will take time before it’s completely safe to step out. And even in such times, digital medium has given such a great opportunity to creative people to be able to tell different stories, and actors to do varied parts. It’s nice to be able to sit at home and choose the genre we want to consume. All said and done, I am a complete movie buff and I can’t wait to watch films in theatres. I am also a positive person, so I am hoping everything will go back to normalcy and we won’t be talking about 2020.
Q. With lesser content being created, pay-cuts and insecurities piling up for artistes, how did you keep yourself positive through the phase?
Don’t let it fool you at all. It was a hard task (laughs). For the first few days, I was a wreck wondering what would happen. It was so unnerving as everything came to a standstill. Every project was tentative. However, I took a step back to see that the whole world was in it together. And very early on, I decided that I won’t be a couch potato, and I was actually very proactive throughout the lockdown. From meditating for 10 minutes, I now do it for more than an hour everyday without fail. Earlier this year, I didn’t even know where the spoon was in the kitchen, and now I can cook every Bengali dish that you can name. I went back to painting, singing and dancing. I have also started reading the Bhagavad Gita, and it has been a big help. It did take a lot of effort.
Q. And what’s still keeping you back in Dubai?
I had signed up for a few virtual webinars, and there were few other work that I needed to finish. Mostly by October, I will be back.