Sharvari on The Forgotten Army: Tried our best to honour the Azad Hind Fauj
The debutant recalls the gruelling shoot of Kabir Khan’s Amazon Prime show
Debutante Sharvari Wagh has a big year ahead with two huge projects: Kabir Khan’s The Forgotten Army and YRF’s Bunty Aur Babli 2. Sharvari plays the female lead in The Forgotten Army. Her character, Maya, is a key member of the famed Azad Hind Fauj or The Indian National Army (INA) that fought against the British in a bid to free India.
Sharvari reveals that the shooting process was enormously challenging and that she has given her ‘blood, sweat and flesh’ for the project. “I think the entire team has given their blood, flesh, and sweat for the project - The Forgotten Army. It was a demanding shoot and the entire cast, men and women, had to endure the same level of physical challenges that pushed us to our maximum and tested our will power. There were no shortcuts for anyone and none of us expected to have it either,” she shares.
The actor has trained with around 100 girls from the National Cadet Corps to get into the skin of her character and train herself physically for the role. Her training was intense as she learnt how to use a rifle and bayonet charges, how to hold the rifles at all times, while at war or at ease, and learnt body postures while shooting the rifles.
On the shoot, Sharvari fired real rifles with shell cases but without bullets and it used to have a massive recoil on the shoulder and throw sparks in one’s eyes. “I remember that my hands got cut every single day when I was firing the real rifles. Every time we had to put bullets into those rifles (cock the rifles), the flesh would be pulled out of our hands because we were using the ones from the era,” she says.
The shoot was in incredibly challenging terrains and Sharvari and the team crawled in hay and sand under iron bars and were also made to do hurdle jumps on a set of iron bars. The team had to walk through difficult terrain like hills and rivers while it was pouring. Sharvari, particularly, had to run in a jungle, jump over fallen trunks of trees, cross rivers, and go uphill and downhill in real jungles. The shooting required her to be dropped from a harness into a river and she also tumbled down hills without a harness in rain and mud.
“Between all the fight sequences, our intense training sessions and the challenging landscape in which we did our action sequences, it was gruelling for us but it didn’t matter. We were getting to tell everyone the untold story of the Indian National Army who laid down their lives to fight against the British and we had to be extremely authentic in showing how much they endured for their motherland,” says the actor.
Sharvari says she took inspiration from her character in the project to endure and overcome the intense shooting process. She says, “Kabir sir was clear to us that we had to give our 200 per cent and I relished the challenge. For me, I simply channeled Maya in me. Whenever we had a physically challenging shoot, I thought what would Maya do in this situation and slowly all the pain, all the bruises, all the drops of blood seemed insignificant. It is so inspiring to know how much this forgotten army endured and we have tried our best to honour them with all our heart.”