Sonakshi Sinha Talks Prime Video Thriller Series ‘Dahaad’: ‘It’s Really Like My Debut All Over Again’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Bollywood A-lister Sonakshi Sinha is making her streaming debut with Prime Video’s “Dahaad” (“Roar”).

Sinha, whose father is the actor and politician Shatrughan Sinha, made her Bollywood debut with smash hit “Dabangg” (2010) and has starred in more than 30 films since then, alongside top actors including Rajinikanth, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar.

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Set in a small, sleepy town in Rajasthan, western India, “Dahaad” is an eight-part crime drama that follows sub-inspector Anjali Bhaati (Sinha) and her colleagues at the local police station. When a series of women are mysteriously found dead, Bhaati is tasked with the investigation.

“The most challenging aspect of the role was actually to keep it as real as possible, because coming from the school of cinema that I’ve been a part of, for so many years, there’s been times where there have been a few realistic roles, but there’s been mostly those commercial masala potboilers where they do expect a certain different kind of acting,” Sinha told Variety. “So, for me, it was challenging to keep it as real as possible in this one because of the nature of the show, because of the nature of all the characters in the show, and the way it was written, it was very realistic. So I tried to not make it ‘filmi’ in any way. It had to be very straightforward, very neutral, very real.”

“It’s really feeling like my actual debut all over again, because it was such unknown territory that I was stepping into. My father is an actor, but that was a world that I was always away from growing up. So it felt very new and exciting. And I’m getting the exact same feeling right now when ‘Dahaad’ is right around the corner, up for release,” Sinha added.

The series is produced by Excel Entertainment and Tiger Baby and directed by Reema Kagti (Prime Video series “Made in Heaven”) and Ruchika Oberoi (Venice winner “Island City”).

Sinha had to undergo extensive training for the role, including attaining peak physical fitness, learning to ride a bike, becoming adept at judo and mastering the local dialect. “The sense of authority, your walk changes, everything happens once that uniform comes on,” Sinha said.

“The way that it’s written, I feel it was tailor made for me. And this is really something that I could sink my teeth into. It’s a very strong and powerful portrayal of a woman on screen, which are the kinds of roles that I like to do. It was really just something that I was waiting for,” Sinha added.

The first two episodes of “Dahaad” premiered at this year’s Berlinale Series, a key component of the Berlin Film Festival, marking India’s debut on the platform. It was Sinha’s first time at a film festival and she describes the experience as “phenomenal.” There were initial worries as the episodes played to a largely German audience but they were soon dispelled. “They were clapping on the jokes. I was just so stunned because as Indian at heart, the show is – it’s set in the heartland of India – but it’s just so global. They were getting all the cultural references, they were getting the jokes, they were getting what was going on,” Sinha said.

“Dahaad” streams across 240 Prime Video territories from May 12 and Sinha describes the expanded audience for her work as a “huge deal.” “As an actor, everyone wishes that you have the widest audience as possible, and this is the widest as it gets,” Sinha said. “I want people to really sit up and take notice of good Indian content.”

As for a second season, Sinha said, “I hope so because I really want to be Anjali Bhaati again.” The “Dahaad” cast also features well-known Indian actors Vijay Varma, Gulshan Devaiah and Sohum Shah in the lead roles.

Next up for Sinha is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Netflix magnum opus “Heeramandi” and Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bollywood film “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan,” alongside Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff.

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