Conversations over coffee with team Money Honey
The web series, Money Honey earned rave reviews upon its release on the popular streaming platform, Hoichoi, during the festive season of Eid-ul-Fitr this year. The series is jointly directed by Tanim Noor and Krishnendu Chattopadhyay. It is produced by Dope Productions, in association with Half Stop Down. Amitabh Reza Chowdhury is the creative producer of the show.
“I have always been drawn to crime and thriller stories. Money Honey is based on a true incident that happened in Shonali Bank at Kishoreganj, but it is also largely fictional,” explains Noor. “I read about the incident in newspapers, and thought that it could be turned into a compelling script.” Noor further mentioned that Amitabh Reza Chowdhury, who played an integral role in the making of Money Honey, got the team in contact with the frontrunners of Hoichoi, and that is how the project took off.
Money Honey follows 32-year-old divorcee Shahriar Kabir, who works in the Dhaka Stock Exchange. His lifestyle is filled with gambling, partying, women and alcohol. However, things turn upside down for him when the stock market is hit by a major crisis. The series features promising actors Mostafizur Noor Imran and Naziba Basher in key roles.
Imran plays the role of Sohel, a miner who gets wrapped up in the world of crime. Noor approached Imran for the role even before anything was ready. Nevertheless, once the actor heard the script, he was determined to be a part of the show. Imran, who is a method actor, started preparing for the role during the pre-production stages of the project. He thought of every detail about his character, starting from his clothes and accessories to his mannerisms, taking inspirations from his surroundings and the people around him. Basher, on the other hand, plays ASP Maria Gomes, a brave and strong-headed law enforcer. “I wanted to be a part of the show as soon as I heard that my character is a police officer, but I kept my poker face on when I heard the story, because I did not want to give my excitement away!” laughs Basher. “The more I got to know the cast and crew, the more certain I became of my decision. The directors really helped me to ease into playing Maria.” Furthermore, she watched Criminal Minds and other such shows that have strong and smart female law enforcers as central characters, to prepare for her role. The cast of the series also includes Shamol Mawla, Lutfur Rahman George, Sumon Anwar and Nishat Priyom among others.
Money Honey was shot in different outdoor locations, particularly in Kushtia. The overall shooting experience was, at times, challenging for the team. “A lot of strength goes behind playing police officers and thieves. Many of us were injured while filming certain demanding scenes,” says Basher. “However, we were all so invested in the project that after every setback, we got right back up and were inspired to finish the job to the best of our abilities.”
The team also discussed the changes that they would like to see in the national television industry. “I think that the field of television in Bangladesh has not been industrialised and institutionalised as yet,” says Chattopadhyay. “As a result, it lacks the structure to enable artistes, writers, directors, producers and distributors to flourish. Our audience may be ready for bold, original content, but the industry needs a lot more investment and nurturing.” Streaming platforms, on the other hand, offer a sense of freedom, both to the storytellers in the way that they create content, and to the audience in the way that they watch programmes. Upon asking what to expect from the second season of Money Honey, Noor asks people to fasten their seat belts, as there will be new characters, new twists and more intrigue.