Ram Madhvani on Aarya: 'If the series has come this far, then I have the universe and Miss Universe to thank for it'

As Aarya Season 2 gets announced, Ram Madhvani talks about all the love and recognition he has got for the show, including an International Emmys nomination, working with Kartik Aaryan in Dhamaka, and whether he is concerned about comparison with Sardar Udham for his next series on the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.

Subhash K Jha November 12, 2021 11:45:05 IST
Ram Madhvani on Aarya: 'If the series has come this far, then I have the universe and Miss Universe to thank for it'

Ram Madhvani, a guru in the world of ad filmmaking, made his first feature film — the brilliant-in-its-own-right Let’s Talk in 2002. Not until 2016 did he come into his own with the well-received real-life midair thriller Neerja. In 2020, Aarya, the Disney+ Hotstar series based on the Dutch series Pinoza, has hit paydirt. After its huge success, Aarya has been nominated for the prestigious International Emmy Awards in the Best Drama Series category.

Edited excerpts from an exclusive interview with Madhvani below:

Did you expect this nomination, and now that you have got it, how hopeful are you of winning?

Did I expect a nomination at the Emmys? No, not at all! Season 1 of Aarya got more love and appreciation than my leading lady Sushmita Sen and I ever expected. We had to quickly move on to Season 2. I  really didn’t get any time to appreciate all the appreciation.

Watch teaser of Aarya Season 2 here

How hopeful are you of winning the Emmy?

I don’t want to sound clichéd. But for me, it is an honour in itself that we are nominated. We never expected it. I never go into anything with expectations. If the series has come this far then I have the universe and Miss Universe to thank for it.

That is a good line to use.

(Laughs) Please be my guest. But seriously, Aarya would not have been possible without Sushmita Sen. She brought her own personality, and her inner strengths as a human being, into the part, and took the character far beyond all expectations. There is so much to observe and appreciate in Sushmita. She can converse on any topic under the sun. She radiates positivity. If you go to a restaurant with her, she connects with everyone there, from the other patrons to the waiters. She has a conversation with all of them.

Was there an even better bonding while shooting the second season of Aarya ?

We shot Season 2 through the pandemic. Her professionalism and innate wisdom made it a lot easier. Really, I am thankful to Sushmita and Endemol Shine and Disney-Hotstar. We were on this project for 12 years.

Coming back to the Emmys, have you seen the other nominees in the Best Drama Series category?

No, I just haven’t had the time. I’ve been shooting for Season 2 of Aarya, and it’s now complete. I was also busy with my feature film Dhamaka, starring Kartik Aaryan, which is streaming later this month on Netflix. But they (the Emmy nominees) are all highly acclaimed series, and I intend to see them the soonest for my own satisfaction, and not to compare with the competition.

Speaking of Dhamaka, how was that experience?

I must say I’ve been exceptionally lucky with my actors. Whether it was Sushmita in Aarya or Kartik Aaryan in Dhamaka, they were fully involved and committed to the project. They went far beyond my expectations.

Now, you are going into a series on Udham Singh. Any fear of being compared with Shoojit Sircar’s film?

First of all, my series won’t be about Udham Singh. It will be about the entire Jallianwala Bagh incident. Secondly, I am a big fan of Shoojit Sircar’s work. I intend to see his film as soon as I can. I am sure what I’ve to say would be very different from his film.

Is there any genre of cinema you would like to attempt?

(promptly) The musical. I would love to do a full-fledged musical with lip-sync songs.

Dhamaka will premiere on Netflix India on 19 November. The International Emmy Awards ceremony will take place on 22 November. 

Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.

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