Secrets of ‘Sacred Games’

Untold stories of Kubbra Sait on sets

11 Jul 2018, 15:00

NTV Online
Photo: Collected

Everyone is talking about Sacred Games – the first original Indian series by Netflix. Apart from the mind-blowing performances by the leads, Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, there is someone else who prominently stands out. A diva of a character, Cuckoo! She walks like she owns Mumbai. She speaks like there is no one more desirable than her. She earns the fancy of the antagonist. And she brings the most shocking twist to the series. Cuckoo is a hermaphrodite. The character has been essayed by Kubbra Sait, who has done a commendable job, right from daring to pick this role up to carrying it out with utmost maturity, report the Indian Media.

We talked to Kubbra and asked her why she picked up the role. ‘I think no one else wanted to do, so I picked it up,’ she joked. She further adds, how could she have said no to such an opportunity to play such a strong role. ‘I did not think about repercussions. It was the moment. So empowering, so honest, there was no way I was not going to do it,’ she said. ‘I am portraying it as real and authentic as possible in terms of emotions. That is going to be my winning streak,’ she added.

In of the boldest scenes ever for any Indian production, Kubbra gives a full frontal nude shot, showing off a hermaphrodite’s genitals. ‘The first clause I received was that there will be full frontal nudity. And my rebuttal to that was, in a humourous way, ‘Acha! They are going to show my penis? Let them show it. It is not mine.’ I swear to God that was my first reaction. But keeping my humour aside, this may work, this may not work.’ 

Talking about being comfortable with the scene she said, ‘Insecurities and inhibitions are all inside your head. If you empathise with your character, all of this is extremely easy. The biggest hurdle is your mind.’ She further said it was not a hurdle for her, and added, ‘I think nudity, not just for the viewer, even for the actor, is a hurdle in the mind. For me, it was not a hurdle. When you are acting you are baring your soul. And your soul is far more infinite than your body.’

Kubbra shot for all of her nude and sex scenes on her first day of shooting. ‘I got ready. I wore my penis. I walked down. The first day I shot, I shot for all my nude scenes on that day. They wanted to get all of it out of the way and then shoot for other scenes,’ she said.

She further revealed how she broke the ice and said, ‘I remember I walked out of my vanity, I walked to sets. I remember meeting Anurag for the first time, he was sitting there with ADs. I sat down, literally spread my legs and said: ‘Nuts anyone?’ And everyone started laughing. And that was the icebreaker.’

At the moment India is at a very crucial point in time. Hon’ble Supreme Court is reviewing the archaic Section 377, which pretty much criminalises LGBT community’s ability to love. At a point like, Kubbra’s ‘daring’ to play the character is commendable. Ask the actress to give one message for the community and she says, ‘I have to say that the one thing I have learnt from the LGBT community over these years is that they are doing so much to be the voice of change. And they are doing so much to bring to light the fact, that you can be whoever you want to be and love whoever you want to love. My respect for them. I am going to be a crusader in the future if they want me to. I also stand in front of them as an empty canvas, requesting them to teach me, to empower me with knowledge, and let me know how I can inform myself more. Because I know that a huge amount of change can happen just with the right amount of information to the people. And it is amazing how the world is parading, marching for change. I want to thank the crusaders for stepping up.’

Kubbra Sait, who plays the role of a transgender cabaret dancer in Sacred Games, told Times Now why she shot a frontal nudity scene seven times. She explained that Anurag Kashyap, who co-directed the web-series with Vikramaditya Motwane, even apologised for making her film several times. ‘He made me do the scene 7 times - every time after the scene, he'd come to me and say I am making you do this so many times, sorry haan... don't hate me, I know you hate me, don't hate me.’ She added: ‘I would literally fall on the floor crying every time. He made me cry real-time 7 times. And when we finished the scene, I was still crying on the floor and he hugged me and said I love you so much and thank you for giving me this scene. I walked out of the room and everyone clapped, I didn't know it was so beautifully done.’

Before filming, Kubbra revealed what had happened on the sets: ‘I was laughing then, but I had to cry in the scene. We got to the vanity, he asked me what I drink, I said wine and he said get her a glass of whiskey. So he poured me a glass of whiskey and start reading the lines. Then I also start reading the lines, he takes the paper away and he says to me feel what I am saying... The minute he saw one tear in my eye, he said ab koi baat nahi karegaand I am going to see her on set. He poured me another glass of whiskey, nobody spoke to me until I went on set.’

Kubbra Sait, who has featured in television series like Fourplay and Going Viral Pvt Ltd, toldTimes Now that she wasn't apprehensive about taking up the role. ‘After I went to the audition, they told me there's frontal nudity scene and when you see the show, you can see how beautifully it has been shot. How vulnerable it is. You can never go wrong when you have a great team to work with,’ she was quoted as saying.