Madhur Bhandarkar’s INDIA LOCKDOWN released on Zee 5 streaming platform on 2nd December 2022 and has been receiving rave responses. The film traces the difficult journey of four different sets of people during the outbreak of the Covid pandemic and the resulting lockdown which had put our lives in a standstill. Cineblues spoke to the talented Prateik Babbar who plays a migrant laborer in the film. Here are the excerpts:
We have always seen you playing the urbane and cool guy in your films. You were last seen in the 3rd season of Four More Shots playing J, a lounge and bar owner. Why INDIA LOCKDOWN?
As an actor, I have always tried to push the envelope. Step out of your comfort zone and explore new challenges and new characters. When Madhur ji spoke to me about this role, not only was I excited but I could also realize the huge responsibility associated with portraying Madhav, the community that he belongs to and his predicament. And working with such a talented and award-winning director is always a dream come true.
How did you prep-up to get underneath the skin of Madhav?
There were multiple aspects around it. To start with, I re-watched many of my mother’s (Actor Smita Patil) films which were predominantly artistic and offbeat and revolved around the lower middle strata of people. I gleaned the common man’s perspective and the insights from a few of our interactions with a few of the migrant workers were profound. Their daily ordeals shook me. The stories around their struggle to meet their ends during the COVID lockdown were devastating. We had an accent coach to train us in the lingo. I was fresh off the shooting of Bachchan Paandey where I had to speak in Awadhi accent. I leveraged that! My co-star Sai( playing his wife) was immensely helpful during our rehearsals. She is a powerhouse of talent and there was a lot of synergy we could bring into our dynamics.
Tell us about your personal experiences during the lockdown
It was quite unsettling and had left me in a state of utter confusion. However, I read many books during those times. I got a lot of Me-time to reflect on my work and future.
If you are asked to describe the film INDIA LOCKDOWN in a line…
A Universally shared emotion. [Elaborates] It’s rather a myriad of emotions that we collectively went through as a nation. We witnessed the darkness together, but we also saw the light at the end of the tunnel together. Personally for me, the film is a reminder of the times that we battled and survived the deadly pandemic.