Netflix’s Hindi show Kaala Paani, released on October 18, 2023, has got everyone talking. Set in the island of Andaman, the series is about a mysterious virus taking lives as residents and tourists do everything to save themselves and their loved ones. Amit Golani and Sameer Saxena directed the 7-episode series, written by Biswapati Sarkar. The survival thriller stars Ashutosh Gowariker, Mona Singh, Sukant Goel, Amey Wagh, Arushi Sharma, Radhika Mehrotra, Vikas Kumar, Chinmay Mandlekar, Rajesh Khattar, and others.
In an interview with Leisurebyte, one of Kaala Paani cast members, Arushi Sharma, reacted to Kaala Paani on Netflix receiving a tremendous response. She spoke at length about playing Jyotsna Dey, a nurse, and dealing with past trauma and overwhelming circumstances.
Kaala Paani Trailer
Read Kaala Paani (2023) Actor Arushi Sharma’s Interview
What do you have to say about Kaala Paani’s success?
We all are very happy, definitely, because we shot for it for almost a year, and it was a challenging shoot. I mean, to get the kinds of reviews that we are getting today, it’s really heartwarming to see the responses. It’s a very different kind of show, and to get the kind of review that we are getting, even from African countries, is a proud moment for all of us.
After the pandemic, a lot of dark crime thriller series have made their way. But there are people who also seek light content. Now here comes a survival thriller that is eerily similar to pandemic events. Were you ever concerned about how the show will be received?
No. I think because it’s not just about the pandemic our show is focusing on or the medical emergency that happens after something like this takes place. But it’s also talking about the different journeys of these characters. There are so many characters, and I feel we were sure about those things that, you know, this is how we’re going to connect with people. Because it’s written beautifully. And yeah, so there was no worry as to whether people were going to connect with it or something.
Your character Jyotsana is already going through past trauma, and suddenly, she is pushed into these stressful situations, with hardly any hope left for anything good. Towards the end of the series, when you find some hope, that’s also taken away. Did playing a character involved in such disturbing situations affect you?
From the script level only, I felt like there’s a lot of depth and weight and a lot of trauma to Jyotsana. And, you know, that was a process for me, for sure, to go that much deeper inside my thought process and emotions, and it does something to you. Of course, your perspective changes, and you start looking at the minute details of things that affect you. When we talk about trauma, we cannot take that lightly. You know, it is a sensitive topic. And I tried to learn as much as I could about PTSD through YouTube. I talked to Biswapati Sir and Sameer Sir about what we could show in this episode about what’s happening.
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I also met a couple of doctors and therapists to help me understand what happens inside those people who are feeling it. I’m sure, to some degree, all of us feel anxious, and those things keep coming up. But when we talk about trauma, and when we have to portray that on screen, it has to come with a lot of responsibility. So, I took that process personally; honestly, I never thought that I wanted to do it in a way that it should look like this or that. I just wanted it to look personal, and that was the process that I took. I made it personal.
I felt like whenever I was crying or feeling for that character, I was truly feeling for it; I was not doing it to impress anyone. So those things I’ve taken from this character. I feel I’ll always want to have that connection with every character going forward.
You mentioned in an interview that you even had a panic attack towards the end of the series. How did you deal with it?
As I said, I took it very personally. I started thinking about whatever had happened. I mean, most of the time, we shove it under the carpet and do not talk about it. But then I started discussing these things with my parents and with my friends, whoever I could meet. I was discussing what is inside me and those things when you start putting them on the table and thinking about them again, and again, I feel it makes you anxious. I don’t know whether it was a panic attack or what it was, but it was a very weird thing that the first time I felt like, you know, my hands were sweating and my heartbeat (was fast).
For no particular reason, it just happened out of nowhere, and I was not in control of my body or how my body was reacting. So maybe it was happening because I was in that zone of just thinking continuously about certain things in my life that must have happened. Yeah, but it was tough. Then I understood that maybe this is not the right way to be. Then I took the help of a therapist, and that was a process to come out of it.
Kaala Paani is now streaming on Netflix.
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