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Scam 2003 director Tushar Hiranandani admits he wanted to make Saand Ki Aankh with ‘older actors’: ‘No producer backed me’

Writer-filmmaker Tushar Hiranandani is a firm believer in karma. And the way Scam 2003 came to him will make you believe in the magic of goodness too. During the pandemic, the director reached out to Hansal Mehta to ask him to give his friend some work. And while speaking, he also shared how his film has been pushed and he has been at home for two years. That’s when Mehta offered him Scam 2003: The Telgi Story; as he says that the first chapter ‘Scam 1992 The Harshad Mehta Story’ is his ‘favourite show ever’

Narrating the incident, he said he told Hansal Mehta he was doing nothing, and he asked if he would like to do a show. “My wife, who is also my producer, sternly told me ‘No, you can’t do a show’. Hansal sir said he’ll call back again. After speaking to Sameer Nair, he said it was Scam. I was amazed as I loved it and think it’s the best show ever. My wife also came around and was like ‘Yes, yes, do it’. I think Hansal sir came as a god in my life at that point and gave Scam to me. I was so excited but he had told me not to share the news with anyone. I think that was the toughest part,” the director laughed while speaking to indianexpress.com.

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On helming Scam 2003

While both the ‘Scam’ shows are about different people and time, the brand itself is a big responsibility. Acknowledging the same, Tushar Hiranandani shared that the pressure can be less daunting if there are the right kind of people to back you. He shared that Hansal Mehta held his hand through every frame, while Sameer Nair was a supportive producer. “He kept telling me, ‘no pressure’, and I thought that’s more pressurising. But he really meant it. When they saw some of the footage, they were really happy and told me again, ‘No pressure’. And I think then, I stopped thinking about it and started working more effortlessly on the show.”

Talking about Scam 2003 and Abdul Karim Telgi, the filmmaker said that as he read the script and learned more about him, he was amazed. “Every time he was pushed down, he rose higher. In the show, you would see how whenever he falters and you think he’s finished, he comes back stronger. The man thinks more better and smarter under pressure. That’s the most fascinating part about Telgi.”

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Ever since the boom of the digital medium, there’s been a constant debate around ‘actors vs stars’ on OTT. Tushar Hiranandani shared that the platform gives liberty to filmmakers to cast ‘actors’ rather than run after popular faces. He also shared that the medium is more about characters and audiences too have accepted the same. The filmmaker, who is also helming Sri with Rajkummar Rao, shared a rather interesting tale to add weight to his statement. He shared, “I was doing Sri and Scam both at the same time. When I spoke about it with my non-filmy friends, they were talking about Abdul Telgi but when it came to Sri, they were like ‘the Rajkummar Rao film’. Now, both are true stories but on OTT, we can focus more about the characters than actors. And I think that’s the best part. You would also have to watch the show to see how well Gagan Dev Riar has acted. I think he’s more Abdul Telgi than the man himself. If he was alive, he would have copied all his nuances.” Sri, as readers would know, is based on the life of on visually impaired industrialist Srikanth Bolla.

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Tushar Hiranandani on Saand Ki Aankh criticism

The filmmaker also reflected upon his previous film Saand Ki Aankh (2019) and how it received backlash back then. Based on the lives of Chandro and Prakashi Tomar, the film starred Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar as India’s oldest sharpshooters. While the film received fairly good reviews and the actors’ performances were appreciated many questioned why young actors were cast to play older roles.

Talking about acquiring real stories for films, the director said it’s an ‘interesting experience’. He shared that even when the stories are known by many, people can always visualise them differently. “With Saand Ki Aankh, I tried and failed. People shared that I could have gotten old ladies. I never said it but I was making the film with older actors but no producer was backing it. That’s a problem we face as filmmakers while telling stories. When it comes to Telgi, people are now saying they knew about him. But in reality, not much is known about him, and with this show, you will get to know a lot more about him,” Tushar Hiranandani concluded.

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Also starring Sana Amin Sheikh, Mukesh Tiwari, Bharat Jadhav and Shaad Randhawa in pivotal roles, Scam 2003 will premiere on SonyLIV on September 1.

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