At the MTV IWMBuzz Digital Awards 2019 last night, writer Siddharth Mishra grabbed the trophies and attention for his work on ZEE5 Originals. He won the best writer award for the widely popular web series Rangbaaz along with an award for 377 Ab Normal for being the Best Digital Film On The Web. He is also the writer for Rangbaaz Phirse starring Gul Panag and Jimmy Shergill. In this interview he tells us what to expect in the new season, and also talks to us about his win and why this award is not the greatest compliment he has received for his work.
Watch the trailer for his award-winning ZEE5 Original Rangbaaz here.
Int: You’ve written both seasons of Rangbaaz – both being related to the world of crime, but you’ve also written 377 Ab Normal which is very different and talks about love and equality. Do you have a genre of stories you prefer to write?
Siddharth: No, not at all. In fact, I don’t stick to one genre and in fact I would like to break genres. So thanks to ZEE5 I got to explore different sides to my writing.
Int: When you wrote 377 did you do research? Did you meet other LGBTQ couples?
Siddharth: Yes, because the movie is based on real-life stories. So I personally met some of them. The others I spoke to on the phone. That’s how I got to know them and then wrote the story. I’ve remained in touch with some of them on whatsapp and all, but not all of them because some are very busy people. They liked the film which was the biggest consolation for me.
Int: Talking to them, how much do you feel the landscape has changed for homosexual couples? How much further do you feel we need to go?
Siddharth: To say it has changed, will be an overstatement, but things are changing. We are on the right path and 377 Ab Normal I would say is another effort in the right direction. Thanks to Tarun (Katial CEO, ZEE5) as well, who wanted to make something on this topic. But yeah, things are gradually changing.
Watch the trailer for the Best Digital Film on the web 377 Ab Normal, here.
Int: Do you plan to touch upon any other landmark or controversial judgments?
Siddharth: No, I haven’t planned anything like that. But if anything comes my way, why not. Controversial, I don’t know, but landmark judgments why not.
Int: You worked with Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub on 377 Ab Normal and now again on Rangbaaz Phir Se. What’s your working equation with him like?
Siddharth: He is a wonderful actor, you know. He adapts himself so well into every character. 377 was a completely different journey with him where he played a real-life character. In Rangbaaz Phirse, he plays a mix of different characters. You will see a different side of Zeeshan in Rangbaaz Phirse, even different from his films.
Int: Jimmy Sheirgill mentioned that the Rangbaaz series is about people who didn’t have to become gangsters but were pushed to become one. Does that hold true for the upcoming second season too?
Siddharth: There are so many gangsters, India is full of gangsters, every country is full of gangsters. We actually picked stories of gangsters who were doing well in life but circumstances, systems, caste politics and many other reasons forced them to become dreaded gangsters. So Rangbaaz tries to show the human side of gangsters, without glorifying them without focusing on the crime and sex attached to gangsters usually.
Int: You’ve done a lot of work which has received critical acclaim. What is the best compliment you have received?
Siddharth: After Rangbaaz season 1 I got a random call from the guy who actually killed Shiv Prakash Shukla in 1998. It was the guy whom Ranvir Shorey‘s character was based on. The actual guy called me after getting his number from somewhere. His son had watched it and recommended it to his father. When the father, the actual killer saw it and told me he really liked it and wanted to show it in police academy because it would be inspirational for that team. So that was the best compliment I got.
Catch up on the real-life story of gangster Shiv Prakash Shukla in Rangbaaz season 1 before the highly-anticipated season 2 drops in December this year.