Luck By Chance

Alisha Shinde
Sunday, 3 November 2019

Actor Shamaun Ahmed talks about being part of Bard of Blood, working with Emraan Hashmi and how it’s all about content today

Indians seem to love thrillers; and films, television and OTT platforms like Netflix keep coming up with drama-thrillers that will leave them on the edge of their seats. One such series was the Netflix offering Bard of Blood that recently came to an end but can still be streamed on the small screen.

Bard of Blood, adapted from Bilal Siddiqui’s novel by the same name, follows the story of an ex-communicated RAW agent Kabir Anand, who returns to the agency as part of an undercover operation to rescue agents who are being held hostage in Balochistan. The story traverses India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The season 1 of the series had a bunch of powerful and impactful characters like Kabir (played by Emraan Hashmi) and his two cohorts in the operation, analyst Isha Khanna (Sobhita Dhulipala) and fellow agent Veer Singh (Viinet Kumar Singh). 

There are also other characters like Nusrat Marri played by Abhishekh Khan and his right-hand-man Qasim Baloch played by Shamaun Ahmed. Ahmed, who is a famous face on the silver screen in Kolkata, says that acquiring the role of Qasim is probably the best thing that has happened to him. “Bilal is a very good friend of mine and he had told me about the novel while he was still writing it. But back then, it didn’t occur to me that one day I will play a character from his book.” 

He points out that he has read the novel as well and found it compelling even before it was adapted into a series by Netflix. But shooting for the series was not easy, he tells us. “I had fractured my foot a few days before we began the shoot, so the day I arrived for the shooting, I could sense what people were thinking -- ‘What is he going to do with a broken leg?’ Ahmed exclaims. 

However all went well; they were even able to shoot all the action sequences smoothly later on in the series, he adds. 

Working with well established actors is difficult -- either your presence won’t make enough impact or else you might feel that the biggies are acting a bit snobbish. But that wasn’t the case at all for Ahmed. “Working with Emraan Hashmi was a good opportunity for me. He taught me how to get into the character and most importantly deliver punches, slaps or dialogues. He is a power performer and that’s what he even imparts to the newbie costars,” says Ahmed, adding that while working with Emraan, he never felt that the actor was senior to him in terms of screen time or industry experience. “Emraan has a very welcoming approach to his co-stars. Be it having food together or cracking jokes, he would do it with us which was super fun,” he says. 

Ahmed recently finished shooting for Ribhu Dasgupta’s next feature film, the official remake of Girl on a Train with Parineeti Chopra. Talking about making the switch from ads to web series and now a movie, Ahmed says, “We are living in an era where the lines between mediums are blurring. People want to invest and focus on content rather than the medium, and they have access to all sorts of platforms that are streaming and showcasing a lot of content. The real race now is to stand out which is possible only with good content. So it is safe to say that content is here to stay,”he adds. 

He points out that certain series are doing well even though there are no huge names which is a sign that the narrative of the content is important for the audience. 

When asked if Bard of Blood will be renewed for another season, Ahmed explains that at the moment things are under wraps. “But in case it does come back, we will continue to build upon an expansive and engrossing story with a killer storyline that the audience will enjoy,” he concludes.

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