Shah Rukh Khan is hailed as the 'King of Romance' and the superstar stayed true his image even in his digital debut as producer. It was Shah Rukh who added an emotional arc to "Bard of Blood", an adaptation of Bilal Siddiqi's espionage thriller novel of the same name, with Kirti Kulhari's Jannat Marri.
The series, a Netflix India Original, produced by Red Chillies Entertainment, opened to positive reviews on Friday and Kirti's performance as Jannat has been appreciated by the critics as well as audiences. Kirti reveals Jannat, a Balochi woman with strong political background, came into being as the 53-year-old star felt the edge-of-your-seat thriller needed an "emotional centre".
"Jannat is not a part of the book and I was told this in the first meeting. It was Shah Rukh Khan's idea to introduce Jannat into the story. He knew the book. "I was told he felt there was so much thrill and action in the show, but there was a need of something emotional. An emotional centre which binds everything together," Kirti told PTI in an interview.
The thriller features Emraan Hashmi as an expelled spy, Kabir Anand, who is recalled from his new life as a Shakespeare professor to save four Indian agents who are held hostage in Balochistan. On his return to Balochistan, Kabir battles the ghosts of the past, including the pain he caused Jannat, the woman he loves, while performing his duties as a spy. Kirti says, even though the character had less screen time, she decided to go ahead because it challenged her as a performer.
"They called me for Jannat and told me that the character is only there for a couple of episodes and I was ok with that. I got the narration and fell in love with Jannat. As an actor I should be in love with the character I'm playing and I completely fell in love with her. "There is so much that she goes through and that was a real challenge for me to tell her story inside out in just two episodes. It was a lot of work. And as an artiste that's what I seek. For me simple is not fun.
The character should push me hard to go deep. I was more than excited to play Jannat and I said yes to the role in the first meeting itself." The 34-year-old actor adds the fact that Jannat is not an Indian part doubled the excitement for her. "I could see myself very much as Jannat and I'm glad that it turned out the way it did."
Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, "Bard of Blood", also features Viineet Kumar, Sobhita Dhulipala and Jaideep Ahlawat. The seven-episode series is penned by Siddiqi and Mayank Tewari.