Purab Kohli on season 2 of “ Out of love ”
Season 1 of By love had the married life of a seemingly happy couple in the infidelity-torn small town of Coonoor. The series, based on the BBC original called Doctor Foster, was well received, with Purab Kohli and Rasika Dugal playing the central characters of Akarsh and Meera, coming in for the praise.
This Friday, By love returns with Season 2 on Disney + Hotstar, with the trailer promising an engaging watch. The telegraph met Purab on a call to Zoom about what was going on to play evil, why he likes being based in London and what life is like in the 40s.
I absolutely loved season 1 of By love. And according to the Season 2 trailer, your Akarsh seems to have gone completely psychopathic, for lack of a better word …
He’s just a man who got hurt! (Laughs)
To put it nicely! Did you have fun playing this crooked guy?
Yes Yes. As an actor, you want a character that has nuances and twists and a character graphic that goes everywhere. Akarsh completely changes from what you perceive to be in the first few minutes of the show … it’s a spiral in all directions. And not just Akarsh … I think even Meera (played by Rasika Dugal) does. Of course, we will always see her as the victim, but she is not a saint, I tell you! (Laughs)
Was the path Akarsh takes through the two seasons one of the main reasons why you signed up?
To be fair, the Indian version, at least for Akarsh’s character, is great … it’s better than what was there for the same character in the original. I watched the original and it’s a great show, without a doubt. But just for my character, the second season is a dream come true. When I read the script for season 2, I jumped for joy.
One of the biggest questions asked of a series that offers a sequel is how much have the characters grown. Is there a real graphic or is it just a repeat of the performance from the first season? They already had a good model of the British original, but keeping Indian sensibilities in mind and keeping in mind that Akarsh’s character needed more of where the original writers left off. .. I think they really accomplished a lot and I really enjoyed playing with him.
Revenge against Meera is Akarsh’s sole focus in Season 2. Of course, an actor’s job is to play all kinds of emotions, but what do you draw from to play someone like who feels so much love? hate and only wants to provoke his old woman’s life? I would like to believe that you don’t feel this intense hatred for anyone in real life …
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I do! (Laughs out loud) To say that I never felt the desire for revenge on someone will be wrong. Maybe we won’t go and do the deed ourselves, but there is a certain part in everyone that wants divine justice done if you are wronged in some way. We are all human at the end of the day. I have to admit that I have felt this at times. But the level that Akarsh is going to lower himself to is something I would never do. Also, the person he is in Season I … the cheating husband … is not me. I now consider myself to be a very honest person. I have been dishonest in my life and have learned the hard way. And now I think being an honest person is the best way to live.
For me, Akarsh was very difficult to play in the first season. I just couldn’t find empathy for him. My acting style is all about tapping into my own emotions and experiences and wondering how I could feel anything for him. Season 2 was easier in that sense because at the end of Season 1 it’s so destroyed that he uses it as a platform to step in and say, ‘This is where I’m from’ . So yeah, I had feelings of revenge, just like anyone would, and in Akarsh’s case, I amplified it using my imagination. It’s very subtle and sometimes not in the writing … as an actor you do little things on set and the director appreciates that and incorporates it into the script.
What was it like filming this season right in the middle of the pandemic?
It was good in many ways and the reverse in other ways. I now live in England and had to undergo a lot of tests to be able to go to India and tour. Taking long flights is not at all fun right now, and crossing airports is a nightmare. There are so many complications associated with the simple journey, just let yourself be on a shoot. We have been tested every four days, the number of people on the set has been reduced … If the actors get sick, then the shooting stops because the actors cannot be replaced.
I was on a very close five week race because I had to come back to London and shoot another project. So I had to be very careful. But it’s also amazing because Ooty is otherwise a tourist center, with thousands and thousands of people around. You don’t really like the place. This time we had no tourists and I found out how beautiful Ooty is. We basically had Ooty for us, plus the locals (smiles).
Is being based in London causing you to lose some projects in India?
It was a worry I had in 2011 when I left Bombay and moved to Goa. But I was comforted by the fact that Mumbai is only a 45 minute flight away. I was born and raised in Bombay and I love this city, but I also felt like I was someone who could make a living from Bombay while working. I went back to Bombay whenever I had to work.
The decision to move to London simply meant a longer flight. I started working on the web very early on. In 2014, I worked on a Hollywood project (Sense8) and realized that everything is now shifting to unique content. I felt that being somewhere in the center between East and West would put me in a better position to work on more global content.
My wife (Lucy Payton) is British and she didn’t like living in Goa. And since I work most of the time, it seemed easier to move to London anyway. Being a little away from all the madness gives me a better perspective on a project before I take it back. There are pros and cons, but I’m happy to be based in London.
For many of us growing up in the 90s, Purab will always be Mazhar. Hip hip hooray! What was life like in the 1940s? I just saw on Instagram that you got your first pair of glasses …
I love being in my 40s! Many people reacted to this image (of Purab in glasses and sporting salt and pepper hair) by saying, “Oh my God! You remind me that I am in my forties! Someone also said, “Oh, you don’t look that old”. I don’t look at him as old … I consider him mature. It is a beautiful period in life. I have children now and the responsibilities of a family. It sometimes makes you think that you can’t take off like you could when you were younger. But I love the way life filled in the 40’s. And as Akarsh would say, “You can still be mean at 40!”