Bollywood: 'Tuesdays & Fridays' is a new age romance with a difference
Debutant actors Jhataleka and Anmol Dhillon hope their millennial romance appeals to a cross-section of cinema lovers as it releases this weekend.
One bears the surname of a famous actress, the other is a model and pageant queen with no ‘film connections’. But both Poonam Dhillon’s son Anmol Dhillon and former Miss India International Jhataleka Malhotra have something in common — the burning desire to succeed in an industry that either makes a superstar out of you or relegates you to a distant memory in the collective consciousness of cinema buffs.
Tuesdays & Fridays, which marks both Anmol and Jhataleka’s debut in Bollywood is tagged as a millennial romcom built around the unusual premise of a couple who meet, as the title of the film suggests, only on two days every week: on other days they are ‘free to date other people’.
While the storyline may seem a tad outrageous to Bollywood purists, the actors insist their film will resonate with audiences of all ages. Jhataleka, who plays entertainment lawyer Sia Malhotra, says, “I honestly think it’s a film that everybody will love watching. It’s not a complicated story which has some suspense to reveal — it’s a light breezy film that is all about its moments, the emotions that the simplest things in life bring out in you. And we tend to ignore those moments so it’s just a reminder of everything that you should actually sit down and breathe in, emotionally. It’s definitely one of those films where I connect with every emotion that I am feeling whether it’s about a boyfriend, my mother, or a friend. We’ve tried to capture all those relationships. So it’s not just the story (of the couple) but also about all the others that play a role in this relationship being the way it is. I think it caters to all age groups. It’s a family film.”
Anmol who takes on the role of an author, Varun Sarin, echoes Jhataleka’s sentiments. “You do wish it resonates with a lot more people, especially because everyone relates to love stories in some way or the other.” While acknowledging that the film has a “different vibe” and a “slightly quirky” concept, he adds, “Tuesdays & Fridays is new and different but at its heart and soul it is a light love story which hopefully some people relate to and try this concept in real life, maybe… let’s see how that plays out!”
In a chat with City Times, Anmol and Jhataleka spoke about what inspired them to take up acting as a career, what having no film connections is like, what having a famous actress for a mother is like and why they hope people give them and the film a chance.
JHATALEKA: A DREAM DEBUT
“I feel my dream is finally going to materialise after the years that I have invested in becoming an actor. To finally have your debut film coming out is definitely exciting but it’s also a little nerve-wracking. There are jitters because you don’t know how people are going to respond to your performance and the film altogether, so yes, it’s a bag of emotions at the moment!”
PAGEANT BACKGROUND WAS HELPFUL
“I knew that I wanted to become an actor right when I got out of Grade 10. My mother took a while to take it in, but she wasn’t against it. All she said was that ‘as long as you treat it like a career and you take it seriously; I don’t want you to be treating this as some hobby and just leave it midway. And you do have to realise that we don’t have any star background or any connections so it’s only going to be that much harder. We will try and go all out together for as long as we have to make this happen.’
“I thought the Miss India pageant would be a good experience for me — to be out there and to also prove myself and understand the industry. And I only realised that modelling and the pageant has nothing to do with acting. Acting is another hustle altogether. Getting through those doors is a completely different ballgame. But I’m glad I started with Miss India because the experience helped me get on track.”
TOUGH BAGGING THAT FIRST ROLE
“What happens with someone who doesn’t have an industry background is that the opportunity to bag that first film is not impossible but it’s tough. You give auditions and they don’t tell you anything, so you’re living in a very uncertain space. Of course it does make you feel dejected. Because you put so much of your heart and soul into one thing. And I think that’s just a very normal part of being here (in this industry) and doing what we do.”
NEW AGE MILLENNIAL ROMCOM WITH A DIFFERENCE
“Tuesdays & Fridays is a very new age millennial love story where the girl is an entertainment lawyer and the boy is an author and that’s how they happen to meet at first, through their work space. It’s basic, it’s romantic, it’s real more than anything else. I feel everyone will be able to understand the little moments that we’ve tried to capture in the film through the journey of this relationship. We set out thinking that we have got it all together and then once you get into that space you’re like ‘oh it’s not going my way at all’.”
ANMOL: SUPPORTIVE PARENTS
“When we were growing up our parents (his dad is producer Ashok Thakeria) kept us away from the industry; my mom had taken a little break from acting and the spotlight because she wanted to focus on bringing me and my sister up. We became a priority. So growing up we had a normal schooling, and it’s only around 2006 or 2007 that I suddenly wanted to pursue acting after watching a particular film. It was never because they told me to; they wanted me to finish my graduation and then do whatever I wanted to do. So they were very supportive and at the same time told me that it was not an easy place. There’s so much competition and there’s so much going on — you really need to know how to pace yourself, each journey is different.”
INSPIRED BY HRITHIK ROSHAN
“I remember I had seen Hrithik Roshan in Dhoom 2 and loved the way he was presented, the way he danced, so that was one of those moments where you feel — I want to be like that or do something like this. I think that was one of the few experiences where I was inspired and looked up to someone.”
A GREAT COMFORT LEVEL
“As luck and destiny would have it Jhataleka and I both debuted in this film. It was a very easy journey with her; it was always pleasant to see her face on the set, spend time and act together! It was smooth sailing. Now my second film would be tough because my first film was such a lovely experience.”
HOPING FOR LOVE FROM DUBAI
“I think there are a lot of Bollywood lovers in Dubai; the audience is huge. I think that’s lovely and every time I have been to Dubai it’s been a great experience. I’ve seen how warm and loving they have been towards my mother. If we step out to a mall or a restaurant they (fans) have been very warm. So I hope they shower a little bit of that warmth and love on me because it’s my first time and hopefully they like the faces they see.”
DEBUT IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
“I think eras (for cinema) have completely changed. My mom used to tell me stories about how at that time if they had to use the washroom it was a task, if they were shooting somewhere outdoors or at an out of the way location. So we obviously have more things, more access but then with the positives there are a few negatives; there will be a bit of scrutiny as well but to be very honest I am just grateful and happy. I think I will take each day as it comes. I’m not very bogged down by criticism, I take it in a good and positive way. If I need to learn or improve I would love to hear that. That’s my approach.”
Tuesdays & Fridays, written and directed by Taranveer Singh and produced by Bhansali Productions,T-Series and SCIPL, releases Thursday, February 18 in the UAE.