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'Modern Love Mumbai', 'Khufiya' actor Wamiqa Gabbi: ‘Vishal Bhardwaj creates magic on set’

Wamiqa Gabbi on working in Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Modern Love Mumbai' and 'Khufiya', Vikramaditya Motwane’s 'Jubilee', and sharing screen space with Naseeruddin Shah.

May 13, 2022 / 07:27 PM IST
Meiyang Chang and Wamiqa Gabbi in 'Mumbai Dragon', directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.

Meiyang Chang and Wamiqa Gabbi in 'Mumbai Dragon', directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.

Last seen in the Sakshi Tanwar-led series Mai about a mother’s revenge for the murder of her daughter, Wamiqa Gabbi is part of the series Modern Love Mumbai currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Gabbi, who has acted in a number of Punjabi films, stars in one of the six stories on love - Mumbai Dragon, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.

With a number of interesting projects lined up for release, the actress is waiting to see the audience's reaction to her varied characters. Edited excerpts from a conversation:

What attracted you to 'Mumbai Dragon'?

First and foremost, Vishal Bhardwaj. It’s been a while since he has directed something, and I was excited to be a part of something that people will be waiting for. The story is also really interesting – a combination of Gujarati and Chinese cultures set in Mumbai. Having a cast with names such as Naseeruddin Shah, Meiyang Chang and Yeo Yann Yann was the cherry on top.

Did you get to share screen space with Naseeruddin Shah?


Yes, and it felt surreal. For an artist, it is so important to be calm. The storm always has to be inside you. That’s how he is, and just being in the same room watching him perform teaches you a lot, and I was fortunate enough to witness that.

What was it like to be directed by one of the best filmmakers in the country?

It was a dream because I didn’t think I would ever get to work with him. I don’t come from a film family background so it’s not like someone would be recommending me to him. Like everyone else, I am a big fan of his work. After working with him, I understood why he is so different. You have to be there on sets to experience his magic.

You were supposed to work with Vishal on another project that got shelved…

That’s how I met him. I had cracked the audition for the series Midnight’s Children, which never happened. I don’t know how he saw the potential in me. I actually thought I wouldn't get it anyway so my audition was very relaxed, which probably made it better.

Wamiqa Gabbi with Yeo Yann Yann in 'Mumbai Dragon', one of six stories in 'Modern Love Mumbai'. Wamiqa Gabbi with Yeo Yann Yann in 'Mumbai Dragon'.

You are one of the leads in Vishal’s spy-thriller 'Khufiya' along with Tabu and Ali Fazal…

I am so excited about this project. On paper, the script is so strong but I feel what we have shot has gone even beyond that. I realised how Vishal Bhardwaj creates magic on set. I got a chance to be part of his world and it’s just a beautiful experience.

You are also part of director Vikramaditya Motwane’s digital debut series 'Jubilee'. What can you tell us about that?

It is amazing how they have recreated the world of cinema in the 1940s. It’s not every day that projects like Jubilee get made, especially on a scale such as this. I was initially rejected for it in 2019. Then last year, just when the lockdown was being lifted, I got a call saying that I have got the role. I don’t know who was doing it earlier but I am very glad that I got to be a part of it.

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Deepali Singh is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist who writes on movies, shows, music, art, and food. Twitter: @DeepaliSingh05
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