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Raj and DK Interview: Shahid Kapoor Vijay Sethupathi Painting an original Farzi world- Cinema express

Painting an original Farzi world

Filmmaker duo Raj and DK talk about creating the world of Farzi, the pinch of quirk in their content, and more

Published: 21st February 2023
Painting an original Farzi world

In the world we live in today, the line between reality and fiction has blurred, with counterfeit goods thriving. In this world that’s increasingly fake, it is the meticulous dose of reality in Raj and DK’s Farzi that has fascinated audiences a lot. “We showcase a bigger picture of this scam of counterfeiting currency by weaving in the haves and have-nots in the society, the disparity, the juxtaposition of high-rise buildings and slums, the system, and the art in it," says Raj, about creating a canvas of realness and relatability to paint a Farzi world.

With a consummate entertainer like Shahid Kapoor playing Sunny, an artist who becomes a master counterfeiter, and a terrific Vijay Sethupathi as Michael Vedanayagam, a cop in pursuit of the former, Farzi marks the sophomore series of the creator duo after their hugely successful debut, The Family Man. "We got this idea to do something on currency counterfeiting after reading a survey that was published 10-12 years ago. It said that one out of four notes in India could be counterfeit. I was shocked by this number. However, later, another survey claimed that the number would not be more than 0.1 per cent. But we still wondered what it would be like if one of the four notes in our wallet were fake. That would be a faceless crime, wouldn’t it? This seemed like a unique concept to work on," says Raj. 

Fans of their previous series, The Family Man, have lapped up Farzi as well, mainly for its quirky treatment and humour. Be it the conversations between Sunny and his friend Firoz about breaking out of the middle-class rooster coop or building a 'tired special officers' universe by having Michael work with Chellam sir and Tiwari, many portions have been received positively. Acknowledging that quirk and humour are their strengths, Raj share that these aspect of their storytelling style evolved organically. “We try to find something that’s off in a normal situation and then see how it can be presented humorously,” he says, drawing reference to a scene in The Family Man where the husband (Manoj Bajpayee) checks the meaning of an English cuss word uttered by his wife, in the middle of an argument. "The humour element in this scene came up naturally and hence, it was relatable to the audience. I think this is what is labelled as quirky in our filmmaking,” DK says. 

Just days after the release of Farzi, Sunny and Michael have already become part of popular parlance, and we even have the Indian meme scene using the series as source material. Apart from the writing, it is also the casting that allows for such post-release impact. Farzi marks the first full-fledged series for Vijay Sethupathi, and it marks the OTT debut for Shahid. While Raj appreciates Vijay Sethupathi's unwavering efforts to make learning a continuous process, DK adds, "I was amused by how he does a lot of films across languages and of course, a variety of roles, simultaneously. When I asked him why he does this, he told me that he sees these roles as an opportunity to watch co-actors perform and subsequently learn from them." 

DK hails Shahid’s dedication and reveals that he was surprised to see the actor’s intense preparation for the role. "Usually, we have to brief the actors before each shot. But in Shahid's case, he was thoroughly prepared. He remembered the smallest aspects that were discussed during pre-production, and there were instances when he even reminded us about them," Raj shares. With true crime stories being the flavor du jour of OTT, Raj and DK believe Farzi exposes viewers to a crime that hasn't been widely discussed. "Our audiences have been exposed to stories based on various crimes but hardly anything about counterfeit currency. That’s where we see Farzi making a real difference," says Raj.

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