Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

Shabbir Ahluwalia: ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ Is A Little Larger Than Life, But ‘Darmiyaan’ Is Very Real And Relatable

Actor Shabbir Ahluwalia speaks to Outlook about his first audio storytelling show ‘Darmiyaan’, and being part of filmmaker Ekta Kapoor’s longest-running show 'Kumkum Bhagya'.

Shabbir Ahluwalia

Actor Shabbir Ahluwalia has been one of the most popular names when it comes to television. He has time and again ventured into films and OTT and has now stepped on to the medium of audio storytelling with ‘Darmiyaan’ on Audible.

In a candid chat with Outlook, Shabbir Ahluwalia talks about how the new audio medium of audio storytelling is challenging, how his chemistry with actress Sriti Jha is extremely different in ‘Darmiyaan’ than it is in ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ and how he loves to work with Ekta Kapoor always. Excerpts from the conversation:

How has been your experience narrating the audio show ‘Darmiyaan’ and it being Ekta Kapoor’s first audio project?

Firstly, I am really excited. I am excited and I can’t wait for the feedback. There is no other platform better than audible for doing an audio show. Obviously, Balaji is one of the best content creators on television and with its launch on the audio show, I am sure that there are many shows to follow in future. I am very happy and I feel blessed that I am a part of the first Balaji audio show.

You’ve been acting in front of the camera for so long. How difficult was this experience of telling a story just with your voice?

I don’t know about the difficult part but it was definitely a learning experience. It was a new experience and a really exciting one. I think it is because of the mikes they use in the audible shows and also because of the technical detailing that goes on behind the show, I never thought there was a need to see a visual with this audible episode. So, I am kind of happy with the way it has turned out and about the difficult part, I’ll say it was challenging, more than difficult.

Have you been listening to audio stories on audible or on any other platforms before? If yes, what do you think of this format of storytelling?

I have heard a couple of stories before, but not really an entire series or like a show, but I have heard the broadcast and an episode here and there and I think it’s not just the future, it’s the present. You have time to do what you want to do while you are listening to a story, you don’t need to be glued in front of the screen. So, you are free to do anything you want to do and still manage to entertain yourself with your favourite shows. So, I think it’s a really cool platform and also a good thing for the audience to explore and ensure that the more the audience comes in, the more content will be made. I feel when there is a hunger for this kind of medium I am sure this medium is going to explode.

How different is your chemistry with Sriti Jha in 'Darmiyaan' from what it is on 'Kumkum Bhagya'?

It’s entirely different. ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ is more about a love story and everything that go wrong in it, whereas ‘Darmiyaan’ is a very mature story of, I wouldn’t say love, but of understanding. It’s very relative to the kinds of life that people are leading and how a person forgets oneself in today’s fast-forward life. It is about the things that you really want and the space that you really want to be in. So, I would say this chemistry is about the things that one wants to do and it’s very relatable with today’s lifestyle. For me, ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ is a fictional story but it’s in a very fantasy zone, not in a visual way, but it is a little larger than life. ‘Darmiyaan’ on the other hand, is very real and it is about today’s story.

'Kumkum Bhagya' has been one of the longest-running shows on Indian television. What do you think is the one thing that the audience loves so much about it?

I am not sure if it is the longest-running show on Indian television or not but it is for Zee and for Balaji. I think what the audience loves most about it is that it is very goofy and unpredictable. It’s an entertaining show. So when people get back home tired and want to relax, they would not want to watch a show that’s very heavy but something light that is entertaining and fun. All the characters in the show are really fun. I am not very sure but I feel that is the reason behind the love of the audience for the show.

Your and Kanchi Kaul’s videos on Instagram with Ritiesh Deshmukh, Genelia D’Souza, Ashish Chowdhary and the others are super fun and always viral. Who is the brain behind these videos?

It’s just impulse. It’s just that maybe we go to a place and like a song, we end up doing something. There is no real thought behind it.