Lara Dutta is back and how. The former Miss Universe and actor returns as one of the murder suspects in Vishal Bhardwaj’s new web series, Charlie Chopra & The Mystery Of Solang Valley. Lara plays Wilayat in the show that has a massive ensemble cast of Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, their sons Vivaan Shah and Imaad Shah, Gulshan Grover, Wamiqa Gabbi and Priyanshu Painyuli. Lara may have quite a few multi-starrer projects in her filmography but she surely knows how to stand out with her performance. Also read: Charlie Chopra: Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak and sons come together for gripping murder mystery. Watch
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Lara opened up about working with Vishal Bhardwaj and how his singer wife Rekha Bhardwaj was actually the one who guided her in playing her role. Excerpts:
Tell us more about your character in Charlie Chopra.
She is possibly the most enigmatic and mysterious character in the show. Wilayat and Wasima, that’s me and my daughter, only two people who are possibly not related to the deceased Brigadier Rawat by blood. Yet everybody is very curious to know that what is the connection. There is more than that meets the eye. The secret that they hide is quite deep and interesting. Everybody has secrets buried, though everybody looks like very normal folk. As it is an Agatha Christie story and Vishal sir is directing, I think my track is possibly the most Vishal Bhardwaj-style track in this show. Playing Wilayat for me was obviously really super exciting and special. I got to delve into a character that I haven’t really had a chance to portray before.
The most special part of this character for me is the fact that I actually had a lot of inputs from Rekha Bhardwaj.
You are seen lost in your music while practicing alongside your reel daughter in the third episode (provided as screeners). Did you really sing so well for it to come through?
Yeah, the most exciting part of this project, honestly, was the fact that I got to work with not just Vishal Bhardwaj, but also Rekha (Bhardwaj) ji. The most special part of this character for me is the fact that I actually had a lot of inputs from Rekha ji coming who really went out of her way to teach me something entirely new, something I had never done in my life. For me as an actor, its finding roles like this that really help you push boundaries further than what you’ve done before, pick up new skills, learn new things, bring something onto screen which is a character that you’ve never portrayed before on screen.
So where is it filmed actually?
The show was shot in Manali, Solang and Kothi which is even higher in altitude. We filmed this in February and it was absolutely freezing. In fact, my first day of shoot was in deep snow and it was possibly the hardest day that we shot. We always joke that our directors like to throw us off the deep end on day one itself because then, from there everything else becomes a cakewalk. The conditions were very challenging for the entire unit to shoot but it just brings this most amazing atmosphere and stunning locales. Forget about the cold, it is like the least of it. I can’t explain how difficult it is for a unit when you’re carrying camera equipment to this really high altitude where sometimes you don’t even have roads because they are also washed away with snow and rain.
What happens when an actor catches cold just before the shot?
Then you have a shot of Brandy and continue filming because the show must go on (laughs).
Share your experience of working with Vishal Bhardwaj?
Vishal Ji has been on my wish list for a very long time. We had an opportunity of working together twice in the past which for whatever reasons, the universe at that point of time didn’t allow that to happen. So both of us were very determined that this time, come what may, we are going to fulfill this. I was very pleasantly surprised when I was offered Wilayat’s character. And I hope at the end of this show, people will understand why that was such a special character to put on screen. Working with Vishal ji is I think every actor’s dream. It’s just something that you have to experience at least once in your career. And I genuinely hope and pray that there will be many more opportunities that will come in future.