Bollywood actress Gauahar Khan loves a compelling psychological thriller and her latest web series ‘Bestseller’, streaming on Amazon Prime Video from February 18, ticks all those boxes.
In the series, Khan plays Mayanka, the supporting wife of popular novelist Tahir Wazir (Arjan Bajwa). When Wazir meets a stranger, played by Shruti Haasan, he gets inspired to write a novel based on her troubled and violent past. Haasan plays a waitress at a cafe who claims to be a huge fan of Wazir’s works.
But what Mayanka and her bestselling author husband fail to anticipate is a murky twist in their lives when they get embroiled in a murder mystery following their interactions with her.
‘Bestseller’ is written by Dubai-based talent Althea Kaushal, who co-wrote scripts such as ‘Game’ and ‘Happy New Year’, and also stars Mithun Chakraborty and Sonalee Kulkarni as fierce cops.
Khan, who has acted in shows such as ‘Tandav’ and films like ‘Ishaqzaade’ and ‘Rocket Singh’, talks to us about her latest series, her journey in Bollywood, and working on strong roles …
Excerpts from our interview with Khan …
Tell us more about your new series ‘Bestseller’ and your role in it.
In ‘Bestseller’, there are these five or six characters whose lives are intertwined with each other. On one hand, you have this Assistant Commissioner of Police (Chakraborty) and her assistant (Marathi actress Kulkarni) who are trying to solve a mystery.
My character Mayanka is your everyday woman. She’s great at her work and a go-getter. She is a leader in her work-space, but in her personal life she keeps the needs of her husband Tahir Wazir and her family before hers at all points.
It’s a familiar scenario for many women today. There’s a compromise on various fronts involved and those kind of complexities makes my role intriguing. Mayanka is an important factor in ‘Bestseller’.
Have web shows like ‘Bestseller’ given actresses a chance to explore their range?
These days there’s something to watch for everyone. There are variety of shows out there in several genres like sci-fi, documentaries, and psychological thrillers being made. So we can’t keep it boring or stereotypical.
It’s great time for actors like me. I get to play a nagging wife in ‘14 Phere’, a politician’s right-hand person in ‘Tandav’, and I get to play a wife with complexities in ‘Bestseller’. I am truly excited for this new phase of our careers.
Many young women will relate to my character and it’s a role that will make the viewers latch onto our series … A lot of people are losing their marbles in the show. When the script came my way during the first lockdown in India in March 2020, I couldn’t stop reading it and kept waiting for the manuscripts. I play a pivotal role in the series and that gave me a lot of faith to keep going during the lock down. And perhaps, that’s why I was so fascinated by ‘Bestseller’.
It’s close to my heart and belongs to the thriller genre. In fact, the writer of the show Althea [Kaushal] is Dubai-based and she was my writer for my career’s first thriller in 2012 called ‘Game’. It was such a good film, but it released at the wrong time during the World Cup and didn’t get as many eyeballs. She’s a brilliant writer. Her ‘Bestseller’ is also going to keep you on the edge.
So, you don’t play just a token supportive wife to a brilliant novelist husband going through a writer’s block?
There’s a lot more to Mayanka than that. These days characters written for women have a lot more responsibility and they can now share the weight of the show. Roles are specifically written for us. In fact, even actress Sonalee’s part as a female cop is a great role. So, kudos to the writers who have given us equal weightage in this series.
Are you happy with where your career is headed now or has the sheen of working in entertainment worn off?
I still don’t think I have done my time in entertainment. Even when I turn 80 years old, I will feel like I have not done my time. I am a performer who wants to work in all mediums of entertainment – TV, OTT (streaming), stage, or films. I want a part in it all. As of now, I am pretty satisfied with where my career is going. I am extremely choosy with my projects, otherwise you would have seen me in many more projects. I always wonder about the impact of my character in any project that I am a part of. I am in no rush to add to the volume, but I want to be a part of quality scripts.
Don’t miss it!
‘Bestseller’ is out on Amazon Prime Video on February 18
I enjoyed the thriller ‘I Care A Lot’. She was diabolical