Catalepsy, ghosts and dollops of comedy — Punjabi film Mr. Shudai is based on an interesting premise : The Tribune India

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Catalepsy, ghosts and dollops of comedy — Punjabi film Mr. Shudai is based on an interesting premise

Catalepsy, ghosts and dollops of comedy — Punjabi film Mr. Shudai is based on an interesting premise

Actors Mandy Takhar, Harsimran, Nisha Bano and director Harjot Singh and Nav Lehan



Gurnaaz

Imagine this—a person meets with an accident, ends up in a hospital, is declared dead, and then comes back to life within 15 minutes. Now, that’s miraculous. But let’s add some spice to it. He revives with the power to see, hear and talk to eight souls. Are you bewildered? Thinking where it's going? We'll break it to you. This was a brief description of the trailer of upcoming Punjabi flick Mr. Shudai. The team calls it unique, with many firsts and also a message. Starring Mandy Takhar and Harsimran in the lead roles, the film also features Karamjit Anmol, Sukhwinder Chahal, Nisha Bano, Aarav Bhullar, Ashman Sidhu, Malkeet Rauni, Harby Sangha, among others. The trailer asks, “Do you believe in ghosts? You might not, but they believe in you.” Spooky!

Eight lives

So, why do the ghosts believe in Harsimran, who apparently is the Mr. Shudai? He explains, “Catalepsy is a real phenomenon, and the story of our film evolves from there. My character lives eight different lives, as he is interacting with ghosts and helping them fulfill their last desires. And these are such experienced actors like Sukhwinder Chahal, Nisha Bano and Karamjit Anmol, so it was far from easy. From understanding the behaviour patterns to mimicking their facial expressions, I did it all to become them.”

Shot in Australia, Harjot Singh debuts as a film director with this one, and the team says, “While a Punjabi film is incomplete without comedy, to add emotions and a storyline to it is a big deal, and Harjot has done it well.”

Weighing heavy

Mandy too had a new experience with the film as it’s the first time in her career that she played a cop. She says, “I was in total Singham mode. To play a police officer was not only fun but meant a lot of work. To chase someone, fight or drag with all my might, the body language, I lived and breathed my character.” But Mandy did have second thoughts when she started the movie, and, no, it wasn’t because of the role, it was her weight. “I had completed Haye Ni Meri Moto for which I gained 45 kg, and I had just started losing weight again. While in the earlier film, it was the demand of the character to be fat, when I had to face the camera as a cop for this one, I had hesitation because it wasn’t normal for me. I would feel people were staring at me, so I told the makers to change the actress.”

The team believed in her, and so did she in herself. “When they showed confidence in me, I asked myself why not? I took it as a step towards normalising the thought of a fat person as the lead actor in a commercial film,” Mandy affirms. “My overview has completely changed; my weight doesn’t bother me at all. Let’s find something that’s more than looks because beauty has nothing to do with weight.”

As the cast and crew support Mandy’s take with applause, Nisha Bano adds, “As an artiste, I feel it’s unnecessary pressure to expect actors to be in a certain shape. It’s not our weight that gets us work; it’s our talent, and we are as human as any of you sitting in the audience.”

Nisha, who is playing a ghost for the third time, says, “I don’t know why filmmakers like me so much as a ghost that they keep bringing such roles to me. On a serious note, I promise this one is really different.”


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