Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday starrer ‘Khaali-Peeli’ will feature an interesting third character, played by the iconic ‘cabs of Mumbai’. Director Maqbool Khan was keen to add a ‘Mumbai’ flavor to the film and found the best option in the popular fiat cars. “The first thing you see after stepping in Mumbai is a ‘kaali-peeli’, whether it is a rickshaw or a cab. So when we wanted to do something based in Mumbai, this cab became an important character of the narrative.” While Ishaan essays the role of a street-smart cabbie, Ananya Panday promises to complement his role with her ‘Bambaiya slang’.
Much impressed with his lead team, Maqbool Khan stated, “Ishaan and Ananya are young, energetic and smart actors to work with. Ishaan has performed all his stunts himself, no doubles were used. Ananya also did her own action scenes. She is very polished and young. For this role I wanted someone who was rustic, who can deliver Mumbai language and she invested in a workshop for it. Everyone on the sets would speak to her in the colloquial Mumbai language and not English. It was a blessing to work with them.” Narrating an interesting incident from the shoot ‘Khaali Peeli’, Maqbool Khan added, “Ishaan and Anaya are very punctual and dedicated actors. We had to request 4000-5000 people to empty a lane in Mumbai for a particular shot. And both these actors were on time. If not for Ishaan and Ananya, it would have been very difficult for me to complete this film.”
While Ananya worked on her language, Ishaan put on some muscle for his rustic cab driver character. “Ishaan had to look like a macho young man and I wanted to break his boyish charm. He worked hard on his body and put on muscle mass of 10-11 kilos without any supplements,” stated Maqbool. Interestingly, the filmmaker always wanted to cast Ishaan and Ananya. “I had Ishaan in my mind when we were considering actors to narrate the script to. He loved the idea and jumped on it immediately. As for Ananya, I had seen ‘Student of the Year 2’ and she had impressed me with her comic timing. She took a little while to say yes because she was a bit apprehensive, but soon came on board.”