While Cyrus Sahukar is one of the most loved VJs/anchors in the country, the man is currently in news for his acting performance in ‘Mind The Malhotras’, the new show on Amazon Prime Video. Incidentally, the show marks his debut in the digital space. In this exclusive interview, he talks about the show, his long journey in showbiz, bringing his popular characters ‘Piddu The Great’ and ‘Simi Girebaal’ back, wanting to reinvent himself as an anchor and learning more as an actor.
You have been very selective when it comes to acting projects. What made you say yes to ‘Mind The Malhotras’?
I have been busy doing projects as an anchor all these years and two-three years back, I thought I would actually like to do more acting work. I was very active in theatre when I was in school and thus, was always interested in acting. I have been doing plays and was a part of this popular act directed by Atul Kumar called ‘Trivial Disasters’ with Purab Kohli, Richa Chadda and Kalki Koechlin. What drew me to this show was the fact that this was a light-hearted, comedy about an urban family and was very relatable. I really liked the premise of the show. Rishab, the character I play, is that average Indian good guy who does not like to party or have fun but instead is concerned about his family and trying to do the best he can for them. I think these kind of characters are very rarely represented in films or shows. No one talks about and no one empathises with them. That was one of the reasons why I was excited to play this character.
The show has been produced by Born Free Entertainment. How was the experience of working with Dia Mirza and Sahil Sangha?
I loved working with them. I was a part of Sahil’s first film ‘Love Breakup Zindagi’ too. He is a really sweet person and he makes sure that the environment on the sets is very positive. Both Sahil and Dia make a great team and it is a great production house to work in. Usually, when I shoot, everyone would go to the green room to eat. Here, we would always eat together. Sometimes, you are part of a great show but the process of making it turns out to be horrible. That can never be the case with Born Free Entertainment. They are a great bunch of people and an absolute delight to work with.
This is your first project on the web.
Yes, this is my first full-fledged project on the web. I am glad the show is on a platform like Amazon Prime Video. I find the digital space very exciting. There is also a lot of clutter and not everything that is being made in this space is great but it has enabled one to tell stories that otherwise would have never been told. It is a really exciting time for content creators. The way people consume information has changed drastically. Everybody is on their phones now. OTT platforms are giving a lot of variety to the viewers and giving them the option to watch content at their own convenience. We did not have that opportunity earlier.
Some people say that this digital evolution will mark the end of digital consumption. Do you believe in the same?
No, I think all these mediums will start merging. I recently did a show called ‘Anti Social Network’ for MTV. We had a special episode for the web. All the episodes of that show are on Voot. So, people who missed watching it on television can now watch it there. I do not think there is a competition between different mediums. They can co-exist together.
One also remembers you for the spoof-based characters you played like ‘Piddu The Great’ and ‘Simi Girebaal’. Any plans to bring them back?
Yes, there is a plan to bring them back. Those characters became very popular then but I think they would have become even more popular had they been introduced to the viewers today. That kind of comedy was quite ahead of its time. I want to write a show around them. I hope to be able to do that soon.
Mini and you started working in MTV at the same time as VJs and now, you have done this show as actors.
Mini and I always have been close friends. It was great to work with her on this show. Working with people you have known for a long time is always a good experience. I am a single man. I do not know how it feels to be a father and I was playing one in the show. Sometimes, I wold ask Mimi ‘how do you scream at a kid?’ (laughs).
At this stage, what excites you more – acting or hosting?
Both the things excite me equally. I am looking forward to reinventing myself as an anchor and doing more work as an actor. I am doing podcasts, long format interviews and a lot of other interesting things. I just finished doing a show called ‘Signature Masterclass’. I did this amazing interview with Shah Rukh Khan in one of the episodes. I really enjoy hosting. Acting is a completely different art form. I want to learn more as an actor. I want to do projects where I am not playing myself.
You have co-written a film called ‘Kadak’.
Yes, I had a lot of fun writing the film. It is a film set in one night. It is about a Diwali party gone wrong. Kalki Koechlin, Tara Sharma, Shruti Seth, Ranvir Shorey are a part of the cast along with me. The film is in the editing stage and should, hopefully, release sometime this year. I play a crazy, self-obsessed but quite unhappy motivational speaker.
Would you like to direct a film?
I would love to direct a film but I do not I have the requisite skills to become a director at the moment. It is a very difficult job. You have to manage so many people on the sets and almost act like a psychiatrist to them. I hope I direct a film someday but I am not sure when that will happen.
What are you doing next?
I have started doing a wellness podcast with a friend called Shyamal. Everybody I meet is going through anxiety and stress. We are interviewing scientists, psychologists and super-thinkers. I am recording that currently. I hope we can make a positive difference through this podcast. I have had a pretty crazy year. ‘Mind The Malhotras’ was my seventh project I did this year. I am planning to go on a much-needed holiday now.