Shihab Shaheen gets candid about ‘Morichika’
'Morichika' has a stellar cast. Can you tell us a bit about the casting process?
Casting Afran Nisho as Salaam Sharif Babu was unplanned, as I had no idea that he would be interested. I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with him, after which he agreed to take up the role instantly. However, I had to rework the character after Nisho was cast. Initially, Babu was meant to be loved, and then hated by the viewers. I changed the whole projection of Babu in such a way that people will hate him immensely, but will not be able to forget him. Siam is a well-established commercial actor. I wanted to break away from his screen image of the romantic hero. I gave him a challenge with the character Shakil, and I am pleased with his performance.
'Morichika' emphasises on prevalent socio-political issues. How did you plan to execute that to the viewers?
In the case of socio-political themes, I thoroughly presented both sides of the coin. On the one hand, there is Babu, a charming and flamboyant young political leader who strives upon power because it guarantees his freedom. On the other hand, Shakil is a simple police officer who is temperamental, but wants to ensure justice. Bonny, played by Mahiya Mahi, is a girl-next-door who is willing to work hard towards her ambitions. However, she fails to accept rejection gracefully, and that is how the story starts. I wanted to have a power balance in the series between the characters and the different sections of society. I aimed to explore the relationship between politics, economics, and social norms, and how they shape up the world of glamour.
You picked an array of shooting locations for this series. What did you have in mind while selecting them?
The sets always contribute to the plot. As the series is a drama with action, thrill, and romance, the locations had to radiate the essence of the story. Different colour schemes, backgrounds, and sceneries play important roles in establishing the mood for every scene. We shot at various locations in Dinajpur, Comilla, and other places under the advice of our location manager Malu Dewan.
What were some of the challenges you faced while shooting for 'Morichika'?
As we shot in multiple locations, the pandemic was a big setback. We had to finish shooting in just 21 days. While a day's shoot usually gives us six minutes of content, we had to double it up to 12 minutes of content as an outcome of every shoot on a daily basis.
How do you feel about the response to 'Morichika'?
The trailer of the series had created quite a hype. As it was Chorki's debut original series, we put a lot of thought into it. The messages and appreciation I received from my fans on social media and my colleagues via phone have been overwhelming. Now, I know that my efforts did not go in vain.
You have been in the industry for over 19 years, working on television and films. You recently ventured out to over-the-top (OTT) platforms. What are your expectations from Bangladeshi content on streaming platforms?
I feel that OTT platforms offer a lot of new opportunities and scopes. They can be a breakthrough for upcoming filmmakers. With digital platforms, creators can have easy access to the Bangla-speaking audience around the world. I request viewers to support both promising and established filmmakers, as we explore more of the digital space.