Mukul Chadda headlines the Hotstar remake of the Office series. We caught up with Mukul, who plays the boss in the web series and got his take on the series, including his favourite scene.
How did you become part of The Office?
Sameer Nair of Applause Entertainment wanted to make an Indian version of The Office since a while now. I was asked to audition for the role. I hadn’t watched any of the versions of the show. When I finally did, I fell in love with the character. It was a longish audition process, going on for a month. Along the way, I liked the character more and more. When I finally got it, I decided that I will go ahead with this character.
How did you prepare for the character and how’d you describe him?
I had a lot of material to prepare the way I was going to handle the character. He is a layered character and has several sides to him. The character does a lot of crazy things, says crazy things. So, it was a challenge to connect with that.
For example, he’s always got a camera in front of him – he’s conscious of it, in fact, he’s probably the one who got brought the camera person in. So, there were challenges portraying him on screen – but then that’s part of the fun.
How did the crew prepare for the series?
We had lots of reading sessions. On the individual level, I like reading scripts. But the more you read scripts, the better you can build the character. We had reading sessions for the groups as well and workshops. We had a nine-day workshop. That was important. The whole cast got together, and we got closer and more comfortable with each other. We shot for about forty-five days.
Were you allowed to go off-script?
We did a lot of impromptu. Comedy is all about reactions and about your timing. Everybody adds something of their own to the proceedings, something that the writers might not have predicted. For example, Gopal has his own sense of timing, I have a sense of timing.
How was it working with Gopal?
I have worked with Gopal for many years. We have done theatre. In fact, he had directed me in a play. There’s a lot of mutual understanding and trust among each other. When I found out that Gopal was part of the project, I was very happy. I was happy for two reasons. For one, the character of T. P Mishra was very important and Gopal is such a competent actor. I knew that he’d do a great job. Secondly, I have done so much work with him, and my character has so much to do with Gopal’s, I knew this was always a good thing.
Who’s your favourite character?
My favourite character is Jagdeep Chaddha. I am very happy to play this character. My favourite scene from the series is with Gauhar at the dhabha. I also like a lot of scenes in episode eleven. These are the scenes that bring out another facet of Chaddha. These new aspects were very interesting for me to do.
What’s your take on streaming?
Streaming is great news for everyone. It breaks barriers for the audience as well as the creators. You don’t have to worry whether a show will sell these many number of screens. Even for the audience, they don’t have to depend on time slots, it’s all just there. If the content is good, people will watch it. There’s also no shelf life here. You can have one season, multiple seasons, so on and so forth.
What genre would you like to explore now?
I would like to explore every single genre that’s around. I am an actor, and I hope I get work beyond comedy. We tend to slot people into roles. I’d like to do everything.
The Office is now streaming on Hotstar.