Exclusive: The cast of Mumbai Diaries decode season two of the series

Nikkhil Advani’s Mumbai Diaries is back and is getting praised for its portrayal of the 2005 Mumbai Floods. The series continues several months after the events of the first season, with the Bombay General Hospital staff facing a fresh array of obstacles due to a day of relentless rainfall. In the series, you will once again see familiar faces such as Konkona Sen Sharma, Mohit Raina, Tina Desai, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Satyajeet Dubey, Natasha Bharadwaj, Mrunmayee Deshpande, and Prakash Belawadi, all reprising their roles from the first season. Additionally, the new season will introduce new cast members, including Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Riddhi Dogra.

In an exclusive conversation with Filmfare, Mohit Raina, Tina Desai, Satyajeet Dubey, Natasha Bharadwaj and Mrunmayee Deshpande, share their experience of working with Nikkhil Advani, shooting scenes in water, while also sharing insights about their characters.

This season is based on the 2005 Mumbai floods, can you share about the filming process

Satyajeet Dubey: Since it was physically so challenging we had to be on our toes all the time but it was great. But there is new learning, I have learnt how to act underwater. I suffer from sinus and thus faced a lot of problems performing those shots but I guess that’s something you have to bear to get the job done right.

Mrunmayee Deshpande: I only faced the issue of learning the medical term problems.

Mohit Raina: In the beginning I removed my specs and kept them in the bag, so I don’t have to again and again wipe them. I have always kept something on top of my head, so that I could speak. These are some things that you learn on the go but all and all it was a different experience for all of us. I also learnt there is no use of wearing the shoes, in fact on the first day I wore them I used to come out and dry them but then I realised how many times will I do this. and so I started wearing slippers.

Mrunmayee Deshpande: And you know, Nikkhil sir took long takes. When someone is performing one surgery, someone is coming with new patients. So, you have to be on your mark all the time. You have to be aware of what’s going on around you and be ready to give your reaction on time.

What were some of your personal prep work for this season?

Mrunmayee: Script was everything for me personally. See you have to perform surgeries and the difficulty level was increased, so we had to redo our medical workshops, we had to remember all the medical terms and we had to get it right.

Tina Desai: I had a lot of stuff to do because my character is pregnant in this season and so I had to a) understand what it’s like to behave normally while being pregnant, b) how to feel the discomfort in a car, and also because the track continues with further complications and what exactly goes on mentally? What goes on physically? How does one move in such an environment? Luckily, my neighbour who’s been through a very similar situation, so I was able to get, like, live, real, testimony of what can happen but also I wore the prosthetic belly and I walked around the house just to see how it feels to sit and stand, and it’s very creepy. Because it’s made of silicon, it’s really uncomfortable and it sticks to your body.

Mumbai Diaries 2 Interview

Mohit, what mindset did you go in while filming Farzaana’s operation scene, when your character, Dr. Kaushik Oberoi freezes in the ER?

Mumbai Diaries 2 Interview

So, Nikkhil sir had called me to the office and sat with me and explained to me, what he is expecting from Kaushik Oberoi and he had told me very clearly that, ‘this is a guy who is a workaholic, who has been working for so many years and works 22 hours a day and now there is a gap of nine months, he has not worked for those many hours, so you need to understand that this is a person who is trying to comeback, he is not confident now, he has forgotten everything, he is at the backfoot, you see how you want to go about it,’ so, fortunately for me because, in the first season I was not able to save Mr. Kelkar, those visuals were very fresh in my mind, so while filming that scene I didn’t have to do too much, I only had to remember those visuals from the first season and that really helped in that scene. Last night, I saw that scene and it really came out beautifully. Thanks to Malay Prakash, our DOP (Director of Pictures) the way he has played with the light and the camera because while filming I didn’t realise it, but when I saw it, he has done a fantastic job.

Natasha, how did you tap into the role of someone who just lost their parents?

I think it was season one, which ends with Diya losing her mother, which is something for anyone is extremely life altering, when you lose such a strong pillar in your life. And more so for Diya, because her mother is the link between the father and Diya, so for her to grapple with that, to pick up the pieces and herself and just get up, act stronger because she always wanted to be a doctor, she always wanted to save lives, so she doesn’t want to deter that. So, this season, she is more hopeful, she is trying to work on herself, she has done therapy, and she wants to deal with her anxiety and depression in a healthy way instead of taking pills. She is trying to empathise with her father and this season she is also dealing with a patient who is going through identity issues, so when she is talking to the patient’s parents it’s also very therapeutic for her and at the last moment Diya comes out stronger.

Tell us about your real life 2005 Mumbai Flood experience

Mohit: I was in Chembur, I was coming back, I had gone there to help my nephew get admission in college and I got stuck in Bandra for approximately three days. There was no food, the entire road was blocked and it was also my first day in the city and so, I wasn’t really familiar with the roads, so I had no other option but to stay in one place because I didn’t know where to go. Social media wasn’t there so you really didn’t know what was the situation, so you were only hearing from the passerby, that a tree had fallen, a car had fallen, accidents, and people helping each other. I survived those three days on Parle G biscuits, so, the ‘spirit of Mumbai’ came and all the people were helping each other. I don’t think that anybody should face this, but what we can learn is to help each other whenever something like this happens.

See Also: Mumbai Diaries Season 2 trailer: Mohit Raina and team fight against the devastating Mumbai floods 

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