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Idea of Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein was brewing for almost 20 years, says director Sidharth Sengupta

The writer and director of the upcoming Netflix series explains how he waited for the right time to tell this story.

Photo: Courtesy of Sidharth Sengupta on Twitter

Our Correspondent

Sidharth Sengupta’s upcoming Netflix series, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein (2022), tells the tale of Vikrant (Tahir Raj Bhasin), a man caught between a woman who loves him (Shweta Tripathi Sharma) and one who desires him and wants to control him (Anchal Singh). The drama series follows Vikrant trying to find a way of out this complicated situation.

Sengupta, who is known for creating popular television shows like Balika Vadhu and the web-series Apharan (2018), used a quote from William Shakespeare’s Othello to describe the series: 'For she had eyes and chose me.'

The writer-director feels this simple line perfectly represents the series that looks at love and gender dynamics against the backdrop of crime and desire in the heartland. He had been keeping the story aside for a long time and this just happened to be the right moment to tell the tale.

“The idea of Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein was brewing for almost 20 years,” Sengupta said. “Since television is conservative in India, both [writer] Anahata [Menon] and I had kept this story close to us, waiting for the opportune moment to tell it... and then Netflix happened. It took a few drafts to get the best script possible and breathe life into it.

“My inspiration for the series comes from the pulpy thrillers in classic Indian cinema spotlighting Vijay Anand and Salim-Javed, whom I grew up admiring,” he added. “I have always been a fan of their work and Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein, the title inspired by the iconic 1990s hit song from a film [Baazigar (1993)] of the same genre, is an ode to all the pulpy thrillers of those times.”

Sengupta collaborated with Menon on the story and actor Varun Badola on the dialogues to showcase real characters, an interesting dialect, locations and cultural nuances.

He said, “It has been an absolute privilege to work with such amazing talent who have brought these layered characters to life, whether it's the engaging story by Anahata Menon, the sharp and witty dialogue by Varun Badola, or the high-octane performances from Tahir Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi, Anchal Singh, Saurabh Shukhla, Brijendra Kala, Surya Sharma, Anant Joshi and the others. All the characters have shades of gray, a reflection of real life, and the actors have done a brilliant job bringing them to life. A special mention to the music by Shivam Sengupta and Anuj Danait, which brings in the desired flavour and soul to the series.”

The twisted love story comes to Netflix on 14 January.

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