Actors Sayani Gupta, Maanvi Gagroo, Kirti Kulhari and Bani J of ‘Four More Shots Please!’ share their excitement at the show’s ‘Best Comedy Series’ nomination for an International Emmy — and they don’t care for the haters
It was during a drive from Mumbai to Goa that Sayani Gupta, who plays an investigative journalist Dee in Four More Shots Please!, got a message from Anu Menon and Nupur Asthana, the show’s directors, that read ‘congratulations!’. Surprised at the no-context message, she texted back digging for more and found out the show had been nominated for ‘Best Comedy Series’ at the International Emmys for 2020.
Even during the lockdown, the girls look camera-ready, Bani J’s locks an ombre wave of purple, Maanvi having swiped turquoise eyeshadow across her eyelids, Kirti rocking a trendy spectacles and Sayani donning an emperor-esque necklace and vampiric lipstick. It harks back to the success of the series, particularly that of season 2, which launched on Amazon Prime Video on April 17, 2020.
Sayani, not wanting to jump the gun, wanted to know if this was fake news or not. “I’m The Hindu of this group here,” she giggles. After a confirmation, her spirits were lifted. Over a video call with the cast of Four More Shots Please! — Sayani Gupta, Maanvi Gagroo, Kirti Kulhari and Bani J — all agree that the Emmy nomination is a huge motivator.
The girls get it done
“I then messaged on our group chat and Maanvi was the first to go ‘whaaaat?!’ Rangita Prithish Nandy, the creator and producer on the show, texted saying ‘this is fake’ and I tried convincing her it was real,” affirms Sayani, “It was funny, given I was driving to Arjun Mathur’s house in Goa because he has also been nominated for a Best Actor Emmy for another Amazon original Made In Heaven. And I messaged him, and he didn’t know either.”
Bani then tacks on, “The first thing I do when someone says anything about our show is go online and double check it. I had literally gone on a Google deep dive!”
The nomination of the series marks a shift in global recognition of Indian entertainment ventures, Maanvi agrees. “The Indian content represented on an international level has been very culturally suiting of the colonial palate; you want to feel bad for them until a white guy or girl comes along as a saviour. These stories depict a real part of society that has been under-represented — of financially independent women who live lives high on fashion and glamour. It feels great to represent that part of India.”
“I just hope this is a sign of better things to come,” adds Bani, who plays Umang Singh, a bisexual gym trainer, “The nomination should not be taken lightly. That a genre that’s not ‘old school and exotic’ is being recognised speaks volumes, and it is a contemporary story about social dynamics of different communities — especially a series with women in the lead!”
Away with the trolls
However, the Internet does have its fair share of naysayers. Twitter was soon inundated with tweets of dissent for the show’s nomination. Maanvi, who portrays the well-off Sidhi Patel, playfully asks, “Were they men?”
Meanwhile, Bani simply quips with a laugh, “There are always going to be haters. I just put on my ‘hater-blockers’ and drink my ‘hater-ade’! I just look at it like ‘why are you guys down there just hating, come join us up here where it’s cooler!’”
Sayani acknowledges the show’s uniqueness, “It’s a very polarising kind of show;it will make people, especially men and some women, uncomfortable. But to the trolls and naysayers out there saying the show is morphing reality, the nomination itself is the response of ‘boss, you’re not right.’ There’s no better revenge than success, and the nomination gives an impetus to do better and more. It’s a fresh breath of air, which was reassuring for the strange times we are in.”
Does the nomination put pressure on actors for their upcoming season? “It surely adds fuel to the fire,” responds Kirti, whose character Anjana Menon is a single mother and a lawyer, “ We are coming out of the super success of season two and the nomination does change the energies for the better. Any recognition is something we want, but not actively seek.”
The girls chuckle when Kirti mentions how antsy they all are with the productions being pushed due to the pandemic, proving they are raring to go for a new round. Bani adds, “I’m just happy to shoot, period, primarily because of lockdown. A nomination is great but my energy is not going to be any different because I always loved shooting with all of my energy.”
She adds jokingly, “Partying and vacationing will not stop the characters even in a post-pandemic world, even if they’re four shots deep.”
The International Emmys will be taking place on November 23 from 11 am ET / 9.30 pm IST, during which the winners will be announced.