Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Poacher: Executive Producer Alia Bhatt says ‘supporting such a story is important for us as an audience’

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Bollywood leading lady Alia Bhatt donned the hat of an executive producer in Indian Malayalam language web series Poacher, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on February 23 to positive reviews. Directed by Richie Mehta, Poacher is a story (based on true events) about forest officials who uncover an ivory poaching ring. Alia joined the cast at the trailer launch and Sundance Film Festival where the show premiered. IBNS-TWF correspondent Souvik Ghosh reports

Q. How was donning the hat of an executive producer?
A. It was a fun story which I have never told before. Richie and I met back in 2022 when I was a full blown pregnant and just about to pop. We spoke about everything under the sun, ranging from parenting to cinema to art. In that meeting, he took me to the world of Poacher.
Firstly, I was flabbergasted that it was all based on true events. And then we kept talking. He was gracious enough to share the first two episodes and then the whole show. But forget the executive producer, I just responded as a person. When I watched the show, I couldn’t stop watching it. It’s a binge and how. One just can’t take himself/herself away from the characters. Nimisha (Nimisha Sajayan, actress) is outstanding. Roshan (Roshan Mathew), with whom I have worked, is unbelievable. Dibyendu (actor Dibyendu Bhattacharya) sir too.
The entire cast holds the audience’s attention to the screen. Richie told me the story so beautifully that it just moved me emotionally and physically towards him to offer my help. Our team really believed that we would like to be a part of stories that move and impact the audience and stir some sort of conversation long after watching it. It can be a conversation with oneself as well as others.
Q. As an executive producer or a producer, do you experience similar feelings like that of an actor ahead of release?
A. Butterflies still remain in the stomach. I think when one is creatively connected and wants something to do really well, there is anticipation and nerves. It’s exciting because I can’t wait for people to watch the show.
Q. How do you feel supporting the story which is based on true events?
A. I was perhaps not aware of the incident when I watched it but it still deeply impacted me. It really leaves a deep impact on the audience. I was in tears, smiles, entertained, scared, thrilled and more, watching the show. But supporting a story like this is really important for us as an audience. I want to thank Richie for bringing us this story and putting this together. There is a lot of genuineness and heart in it which are evident in the show.
Q. What is that one thing that drew you most towards the project?
A. It’s really hard to say, genuinely, because there is so much. For starters, the performances. Nimisha, Roshan and Dibyendu sir are just fantastic. I am forever a fan of all of them because of what they have brought to the characters. Of course it’s about the overarching of the crimes that’s happening in the show but the audience will also go deeper into their lives, which is so enriching, interesting and emotional. There are beautiful moments that each of the characters have. The perspective with which Richi told the story leaves the audience enamoured. So it’s not one particular thing but a whole lot of things that drew me towards the project.
Q. How do you see the entertainment sector as being a tool for creating change and impact in society?
 
A. The entertainment sector has got the power to influence, but not immediately. It’s just about something eventually happening. What is upbringing? It’s a conversation- what one sees, learns from and sets an example. What we consume becomes our example over time. So these are the little things which we choose to consume over time and they slowly creep into our DNA as a person and how we conduct ourselves in our society if they are entertaining and engaging. Of course cinema, content, music, podcasts, books put a massive power to influence or change lives.
(Image credits: Verified Facebook page of Alia Bhatt) 
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