Never Kiss Your Best Friend Lockdown Special is the latest of the lockdown special shows we’ve seen on ZEE5. The others including Bhalla Calling Bhalla and Yaar Da Punch. Anya Singh and Niki Walia are the only two actors to star in both the first season of the show and the new lockdown special. In an exclusive chat, they both admit being a little sceptical about the series at first but after seeing the confidence of the makers in the story they decided to take the plunge. Read more about their fun and new experiences of shooting during the lockdown here.
Watch a promo for the Never Kiss Your Best Friend Lockdown Special here.
1. The biggest challenges they faced while shooting from home…
Anya: Obviously at that I was really confused how we would do it. But the director Arif was quite confident so I was confident. When we started the whole process there was a lot of back and forth on zoom call so it would take a lot of time. At home you cannot control the environment like a set. Everyone at home is going to do their own thing like my dogs will disturb a shot or your mom will come to check on something.
Niki: When they sent me the idea for the show they wanted me to send photos of places in my house that I am open to shooting in. I thought they would say sorry we cannot use this because my house was being renovated. I am a performer so being Happy Aunty is natural for me. The challenge for me was to keep a clean frame because there was a lot of cleaning up to do. In UK when our shoot began the builders were also allowed to come and do our work. So I had time between 5 am to 10 pm to finish my scenes. So setting up and scheduling the shoot were my biggest challenges.
2. On bonding with the new cast without being on set
Anya: So I did all my scenes with Javed sir in real-time. We would also do zoom calls where we would read the lines together. But it is very different from meeting people and having actual conversations. I think the director was the one who bonded and understood everyone.
Niki: Oh it was crazy. I had worked with Javed Jaffrey before and he’s a family friend so that was okay. The bonding with Zain only happened after we finished shooting. I used to hear from Arif of how Zain has done his scene and I would do my scenes. Even with Anya I already had good chemistry that also came naturally to me. It has been a very interesting experience for me.
3. Funniest blooper from shooting at home…
Anya: We were doing this Dalgona coffee challenge in one of the episodes. The first time I made it, in six minutes I was done and it was good. Arif wanted to take another shot so I tried making it again but for 45 minutes I tried and it just didn’t happen. And with every bad attempt, there was more stress because the crew is waiting for you. Even the Go Corona Go song at the beginning of every episode was fun because we were told to just be super weird and crazy.
Niki: Oh there were so many. First of all, Sumrit writes just how he thinks. Secondly, I am not like Happy Aunty in real life at all. I am a Punjabi but I am not loud like she is and I don’t speak in the accent she does. So there’s a scene where I am telling Tanie in one scene that I know she is in love before she knows it herself. The line I had to say was, ‘Rehne de Tanie tujhe potty aa rahi hoti hai usse pehle mujhe pata hota tha ki tujhe potty aa rahi hai’. This line was the hardest to remember for me and I took so many takes because I would never say that line and I had to make it sound cute and not dirty. Even my husband couldn’t stop laughing while he was holding the camera. There was a scene where I was standing in my front yard shooting for one scene where I had to say lines like ‘Haraamzaade’ and such words. All my neighbours were at home looking at what is going on, so I felt really conscious.
4. Early audience responses for the show
Anya: I think people have missed Sumer and Tanie. So people who watched season one liked it but wanted to see Sumer. The people who only saw the lockdown special loved it. They related to everything happening on the show. I also want to thank the fans for giving Tanie a lot of love. I am really grateful that they loved my character and connected to her so well.
Niki: I thought the story and everything were great for the show. However, I was a little worried because the new season didn’t have Nakuul (Mehta) and it was shot while the first season was shot entirely in London. But I am glad it all worked out well. We even got a new set of fans for the show, Zain Imam fans. For my character personally people message me saying I remind them of their mother. Some ask if they can call me ‘mom’. I also get people saying why do you play mom characters when you look so young. I just think, you never can really please everyone (laughs).
5. First thing you will do once the lockdown is over…
Anya: Probably go and hug my friends. Because of the whole proximity thing I have not even been hugging my grandparents. So once this is all over, I will go and hug people close to me again.
Niki: Actually I am quite comfortable during the lockdown. I am with my family and we spend good time with each other. My sons still follow their school schedule so that’s good. I am busy doing work around the house. Even the house renovation is coming along well. So the only things I am missing are being with friends and working. I can’t wait to be on set with all the people around, shooting for real.
What is the first thing on your To-do list once the lockdown is over? Let us know in the comments below. Meanwhile, stay entertained at home binge-watching the latest content from films and web series on ZEE5.