Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 17, 2017)

After his 2016 release, Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh, filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh is busy with three, hour-long films, which are part of a TV trilogy which he is mentoring and producing under his own banner. The first of the three films, Mirchi Malini, is a thriller featuring Akshay Oberoi who was seen in prominent appearances in Piku and Fitoor, and recently alongside Randeep Hooda in Laal Rang. The film also has Bengali star, Paoli Dam, who transitioned to Bollywood with Vikram Bhatt's Hate Story in 2012. Directed by Bengali writer-director Pratim Das Gupta, the film features Akshay and Paoli as husband and wife caught in a gripping revenge saga.

Speaking to Mirror from Kolkata, Akshay says, “In the past Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap and many other prolific directors have shot TV movies as it's a great way to experiment with unique narratives and engage audiences. This is the first time I am working with Sujoy and it's been wonderful. He's constantly making jokes and his laughter is infectious. He's extremely knowledgeable about cinema, watches every Indian and international film and discusses them with everybody on set. In fact, everybody on set is warm and welcoming.“ Mirchi Malini wraps up by month-end, while the other two films are still under production.

Before taking off to the City of Joy, Akshay watched the 2014 Bengali drama, Asha Jaoar Majhe (Labour of Love), which bagged the National Award for Best Audiography and Best First Film by a Director (Aditya Vikram Sengupta). Akshay, who was blown away by the gripping narrative, is now hoping Sujoy will hand him a list of 'must-watch Bengali films of all time'.

Recalling the first time he met Sujoy, a year-and-a-half ago at casting director Mukesh Chhabra's office, Akshay reminisces how Sujoy instantly recognised him from Piku. “He shook my hand and said 'Done hai bhai, done hai' and walked away, leaving me pretty clueless,“ the actor laughs. At the time, Sujoy was planning a feature film with an ensemble cast, which never took off eventually but the actor and director kept in touch. When Pratim later narrated Mirchi Malini to Akshay, there was no way he was saying “no“.

Akshay believes that Sujoy's new trilogy series is in complete sync with his thrilling storytelling style. “There are unexpected twists and turns, which are signature to a Sujoy Ghosh production,“ says Akshay, who will next be seen in another thriller, Shanker Raman's Gurgaon, which has received critical acclaim in the festival circuit, and Akshat Varma's dark-satirical drama, Kaalakaandi, also featuring Saif Ali Khan.