With Netflix releasing today their three-part original miniseries Ghoul, we talk to actors Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul about what went on behind the scenes of their dark, dystopian thriller and whether there will be a Season 2.
Radhika, first Lust Stories, then Sacred Games and now Ghoul. Your 2018 looks like a Netflix exclusive.
It wasn’t by design at all. In fact, Sacred Games was my first Netflix original. I knew it was a Netflix project, but when we shot Lust Stories, we didn’t know it was going to be with Netflix. Similarly, we made Ghoul first as a film. It became a Netflix series after I finished shooting for it. So when I was offered it, I didn’t know. What a great coincidence. I am very happy. Three months, three projects!
What was it that made you want to be a part of Ghoul?
Radhika: I found its setting and my character very interesting. It’s such an ambiguous, crazy, weird setup. I found it fascinating that my character was a game-changer and so different from who I am. I really liked it.
Manav: For me, it was Ghoul’s writer-director Patrick Graham. The way he has written the entire series is amazing. He told me beforehand how he wanted to make it. I was blown away.
How has it been working on the show?
Manav: It was wonderful. Radhika and I knew each other from before. We are both from theatre but this is the first time that we have worked together. The vibe on the set was amazing, which is very important, especially if you are shooting a horror series. It was an amazingly supportive team.
Radhika: It was like friends working together. It was very hectic but also a lot of fun.
It must have required a lot of preparation to get the nuances right?
Radhika: Patrick believes in rehearsals a lot. We had several one-on-one sessions and a 15-day rehearsal where he used to draw the whole architecture (the set was being made then) and tell us how it was going to be. We actually choreographed every single scene before we shot it. I have never worked like this before.
Manav: We did the military training very, very extensively because the way you talk, walk, hold your gun — all the basic things — they have to come naturally to look convincing.
Ghoul is set in the backdrop of a totalitarian regime. How relevant do you think it is considering the current global socio-political climate?
Manav: Ghoul’s subject is universal. That is why it’s very important that it is a part of Netflix because now in 190 countries people will see it and relate to it.
The ending is such a tease. It makes you want to watch more. Will there be a Season 2?
Manav: You want to see what happens next? Please tell Netflix this.
You have both done theatre, films and now are starring together in a web series. Has it been a conscious choice to keep pushing the envelope?
Radhika: I am not big on planning. So there is no strategy in anything I do. If I like something, if I feel excited about it, I’ll do it.
Manav: As an actor, we are always on the receiving end. We can only say no to things being offered to us. I am very fortunate that I have got interesting roles, characters to play.
In what ways is shooting for a web series different from shooting for a film?
Radhika: There isn’t anything different really. The shooting process is exactly the same. Their length is the only thing. When you have multiple seasons, you get to explore a character in great detail that you don’t get in films.
Radhika: I have Andhadhun coming. Then there is Bazaar. The Wedding Guest will be premiering in Toronto. It’s Michael Winterbottom’s film and also has Dev Patel. I have another yet-untitled film which I just did in the US.
Manav: I am working on my third book. It’s called ‘Tumhare Baare Me’. It is based on my Instagram writing and some of my earlier work. I am editing it right now. It should hopefully be out by next month.