TV and film actress, Gauahar Khan, is very excited at the positive response her debut Hotstar show, The Office is eliciting. “To be honest, the initial reactions were mixed. We (BBC Studios India and Applause Entertainment) were not sure how people would respond to the Indian version of this very popular international franchise. But luckily, things are much better now as people sample more episodes. I guess the story and characters grow on you.”
“Colourful office head Chaddha (Mukul Chadda) ends up saying a lot of weird stuff in humour which obviously does not wash down well with most staff who have no alternative but to grin and bear it, for he is boss. My head office liaison character, Riya, on the other hand, tells him where to get off. She represents many office women who won’t take sexual advances lying down,” says Gauahar, whose last Hindi film was Begum Jahan.
“I like my character, for I have not done anything similar before. I had played a secretary in Rocket Singh : Salesman of the Year before, so you can say that I have got a promotion.” Her well-known TV shows have been Bigg Boss 7 (winner), Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 5, I Can Do That, etc.
“It was quite a challenge to keep the khadus straight face when Chadha was does his stupid and totally politically incorrect stuff.”
“It was very important to have such colourful characters, otherwise a 9-5 office setting would be very boring to watch. Rather, simple stories eg mixing of veg and non-veg food leading to a fiasco makes for more fun watching. One other angle is of bonding, as it happens in any office. Some people get along very well, while others can’t stand the sight of each other, yet need to co-habit. Such friction between TP and Amit provides good entertainment for the rest of the staff,” says Gauahar Khan.
When asked about corporate hierarchy which is now even entering Bollywood, she says, “I have not really worked in an office set-up to say more. But yes, a chain of command is everywhere. Does not a film director report to his producer? And let’s face it, there is good and bad everywhere. But in our series, there is no clear division of labour due to Chaddha.
In closing, when we ask Gauahar Khan, who is very active on social media to comment on the raging debate about Zaira Wasim quitting Bollywood, she says, “I really don’t want to comment on issues concerning religion, as it just adds fuel to fire. Everybody has the right to live their life on their own terms. My point is simple – why can’t we focus on more important issues like civic sense, malnutrition, water shortage and environmental degradation?”