While the real world is presenting a constant glut of obstacles in these trying times, &TV’s all new situational comedy show‘Aur Bhai Kya Chal Raha Hai?’ is providing the right dose of fun and laughter to its viewers. The light-hearted show has successfully managed to bring out the authenticity of Lucknow by putting together a local cast. Shot in Lucknow, it further enhances the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb and brings about a connect with the viewers. Depicting the story of two families; the Mishras and the Mirzas residing in a shared ancestral Haveli, here we have one of the main leads of the show; Farhana Fatema who portrays the role of Shanti Mishra. With significant experience in the entertainment industry, here is Farhana talking about her role, the show and, answers some fun questions in a candid conversation.
- Tell us about your role in the show and how did you bag it?
I portray the role of Shanti Mishra, jo naam se hai Shanti lekin rehti humesha ashant hi hai. Shanti’s personality is loud and dominating but yet, she has a soft corner for her family. With her wit and cleverness, she knows how to get her work done from others and especially her husband, Ram Prasad Mishra (Ambrish Bobby). Pure ghar ka remote control jaise inhi ke hath mein hai, majal hai kisiki ki jo Shanti ko mana kar de. She carries a ‘I rule the house’ kind of an attitude, which makes her a stern housewife. Initially, I auditioned for the role of Sakina and I thought to myself, being a Muslim, it would have been easier for me to mould into the character. I felt that Sakina’s language and taur tarike are very much similar to me. But the makers felt that I fit the role of Shanti better. Being an actor, I prefer opting for challenging roles which are out of my comfort zone. For this role, I gave a number of online auditions followed by offline auditions and few mock shoots. And finally here I am, aap ki Shanti Mishra.
- Do you relate to your on screen character?
To be honest, wo purab hai toh mein pascheem, Shanti and I are poles apart but yet, I have grown into the character effortlessly. Me as Farhana, behind the camera is a very polite and a soft spoken. I am someone, who avoids complications. Whereas Shanti on the other hand is very loud, bossy, dominating yet very positive and, that is what makes her a lively character. The positivity Shanti emits makes me feel good. And the fact that she can go any limit just to shield and protect her family makes me fall in love with her even more.
- Is this your first lead role and how do you feel about it?
Prior to ‘Aur Bhai Kya Chal Raha Hai?’, I played lead roles in a few regional films. And when the forayed in to the television world, I have portrayed multiple negative rolesso yes, in that case, this is my first lead role in the television world. The best part about my role is the fact that I get to live the story every day and give my best shot. Mein abhi roz do zindagiyan jeer rahi hun, Farhana ki aur Shanti ki. It feels surreal and I cannot thank my stars enough for bringing me to my destiny.
- Tell us about the show and its USP
The show represents the authenticity of Lucknow. Everything about the show feels real as each cast and crew member has given their heart in making the show. The set, location everything is real. The show is shot in a real haveli which divided into two parts. The natural and authentic vibe of the show brings in a fresh slice of content to the audience. Ghar pe bethe bethe Lucknow ka swad chakha de, esa hai humara show.
- Tell us about your experience in comedy as a genre.
I feel nothing is more amazing than the feeling of making someone laugh and, comedy as a genre has that magic to it. We all live stressful life, working all day, making living and in addition to that, we are in the middle of a global pandemic, too much on our plates to deal with. So comedy shows come as breather for the people. I have always loved comedy. In one of my films, I did a small comical part and jaise kehte hain na ki sher ke muh mein khoon lag gaya ho jaise waise hi mujhe comedy karne ka chaska chadh gaya tha. I really wanted to try my hands at comedy and I am glad that Aur Bhai Kya Chal Raha Hai came to my rescue. Making people laugh and helping them keep their worries and stress at bay is a big achievement for us. Apne kaam ke sath khushiyan fehla sakun, isse behtar chiz mein aur kya hi mang sakti hun.
- As the name suggests, Aur Bhai Kya Chal Raha Hai is a typical conversation starter used by every Indian. So, which your most favourite conversation starter line and why?
Meri toh jaise adat hogyi hai ye puchna ki ‘kaise ho?’ ‘kya chal raha hai?’. Wherever I go, or whenever I meet people the first thing that I instantly say is ‘How are you?’, the way may differ from person to person, like for instance if I am meeting my friends I will be like ‘Aur bhai sahab kaise chal raha hai?’ and if I am meeting someone else, I will be like ‘Kaise hain aap?’.
- Aur Bhai Kya Chal Raha Hai? – is a conversation starter. Likewise, do you have any funny incident related to it that you would like to share?
There is no particular incident that I can think of, but ‘Aur bhai kya chal raha hai?’ is like everyone’s takiya kalam. I mean ghar se nikalte hi koi na koi puch hi leta hai ki aur bhai kya chal raha hai? But I do have a friend who loves keeping a track of ki kis ke life mein kya chal raha hai. As I am busy with shoots, I tend to miss out on what’s happening in my friend circle, but to stay up to date, a 30 minute conversation with her is all I need.I guess she is going to love the show, as she can relate to it the most (giggles).
- Shanti and Sakina share a sweet and sour bond, so are they kabhi dushman kabhi Saheli?
‘Kabhi dushman, kabhi Saheli’, describes Shanti and Sakina’s bond in the truest sense. There have some sort of competition happening between them all the time. But there is a sweet friendly bond too. Their days are not complete without talking to each other. From gossips to sharing TV soap stories to sharing dil ki baat, they both are each other’s go to person. Their chemistry is an interesting ingredient in making the show.
- Culturally different actresses playing culturally opposite characters. Any particular reason for that?
Makers are the ‘Karta Dharta’ of the show. They decided to give us the respective roles and I am happy with their decision. Being Muslim myself, playing Sakina would have been a cake walk, but Shanti’s character being completely opposite to who I am as a person is challenge. Being an actor, such challenges open new aspects of art and help us improve our craft. As an actor, mere khayal se alag alag characters ko jeena hi jeena hota hai.
- ABKCRH is about two neighbours cohabiting an old haveli. Have you in real life ever been in a similar situation. If yes, how did you deal with it? If not, what tips and tricks you can give to the readers if they are caught in a similar situation?
I have never stayed with another family under the same roof, but yes I have had Hindu neighbours. I have literally experienced Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb all my life. Mere liye ye kuch naya nahi hai, bachpan se ese hi culture me pali bali hun jahan Hindu Muslim sath sath rehte hein, like a family. The show mirrors that exact experience of mine. But if I ever get into such a situation, I guess staying positive will be my only solution. Accepting and understanding each other make the whole experience easier. In addition to that, the show will also help you look at a newer perspective, for that you need to watch the show (winks).
- The show has a lot of Local Talents, what do you think about it? And how has been you journey in the industry?
Glamour ke chaka-chaund mein hum aksar real local talent ko ignore kar dete hain. But I am glad that the show made sure to give a platform to the local talents who truly deserve this sphere. The local talents also contribute to the authenticity of the show. I have been in this industry for the last 12 years. I did my education in Lucknow, then I moved to Delhi for my job where I realized that I need to chase my dream of becoming an actor. That dream led me to Mumbai where I did theatre and got opportunities in movies and serials. The journey was indeed a roller coaster ride. It is said, life’s a climb but the view is great.
- How has been your friends and family’s response to you taking up Aur Bhai Kya Chal Raha Hai?
I have a very supportive family, not just for ‘Aur Bhai Kya Chal Raha Hai?’ but everything I have done. Especially my father has always been there for me, throughout my ups and down. I’m blessed to have such supportive family. They really enjoy watching the show and I love how the amount of love and excitement that they share. It gives me a sense of motivation to work harder.