Shivani Raghuvanshi aka Jazz from Amazon’s Made In Heaven web-series shares insider secrets & speculates Season 2 plot
Girl on fire
Shivani Raghuvanshi does not come from a film family. In fact, her family isn’t even remotely involved in a creative field. But that never kept her from chasing after her dreams. Her scene-stealing portrayals of Neelu (from the Dibakar Banerjee-produced Titli) and now, Jaspreet “Jazz” Kaur from the popular Amazon original web series, Made In Heaven are proof that she’s destined for stardom. Quite like her character in the web-series, this Delhi-girl still feels like an outsider in the world of showbiz, but her self-confidence and talent is immense and relentless.
We catch up with her on a sunny morning at Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu over mango ice-cream sandwiches & raspberry sodas to breakdown her character Jazz, and her plans for the road ahead.
Ogaan: What drew you to acting?
Shivani: Nobody in my family has ever dabbled in a creative field but I knew it in my heart, even as a child, that I wanted to act. It sounds so filmy but I used to dream about it every night that one day I’ll get scouted by a big director on the streets of Mumbai and there’ll be no turning back. My strategy was to keep it a secret until my graduation and then plan my escape to Bollywood.
Ogaan: You did get scouted though, so that must’ve been a dream-come-true?
Shivani: On my way back from a college street play performance, I was approached by a casting coordinator in the Delhi Metro and that’s how I landed my first acting gig in a Vodafone ad. I was so excited that up until they asked me how much would I like to charge for it, it didn’t even strike me that I could make money doing this. A year later the same casting team called me down to Mumbai to audition for Titli (2014). Despite being a niche film, it got my foot in the door. It got me rave reviews and I started getting called in for auditions.
Ogaan: How did Made In Heaven come along? Were you at all apprehensive to work in a web-series.
Shivani: I knew that Zoya (Akhtar, Director) was working on this flag-bearer series for Amazon Prime so there were no apprehensions whatsoever. Everything she does is amazing! I didn’t expect a call for auditions but once I was called in, I knew it in my gut that this role was mine.
Ogaan: How much do you identify with your character Jazz and her life experiences?
Shivani: A lot! Jazz is a very naive but hopeful character who looks beyond life’s shortcomings and her web of troubles. I also love that Jazz doesn’t try too hard to fit-in, she likes to carve her own niche, another sentiment that I can relate to. My life experiences are very different though — my brother isn’t addicted to drugs (giggles)!
Ogaan: When the show displays Jazz’s secret affair with the mechanic, it was quite a shocking twist in her character arc, how did you feel about it?
Shivani: When I read the script for the first time, I was shocked too. I didn’t feel prepared for a sex-scene but the team made it so comfortable for me. I realise it was a breakthrough moment for Jazz. She seeks a temporary escape when her whole life was crumbling down and the mechanic offers just that. She refuses his help in the very next scene because all she wanted was a release, not a boyfriend. She really grows in that moment.
Ogaan: Jazz and Tara had similar backgrounds, but turned out to be such different people. Where do you think Jazz gets her self-confidence from?
Shivani: At the beginning of the shoot, I was told that Jazz and Tara are similar characters only ten years apart on the timeline. But the way I see it, they’re very different people and I hope that holds true in the next season too. Jazz’s life is a mess but at least she’s not a phony. Tara’s acute self-awareness feeds her insecurity and complexes, but Jazz is so completely naive that she feels no need to doubt herself.
Ogaan: Congratulations on the Season 2 sign-off, what can you tell us about the storyline?
Shivani: None of us have any idea. All I can tell you is that they’re still writing the second season and we start shooting end of this year.
Ogaan: What are your expectations from Jazz in Season 2? Do you think she’ll pursue her crush with Kabir?
Shivani: I hope that Jazz grows into her surroundings but still manages to hold her own. And as for her crush on Kabir, I doubt she’ll get distracted by a boy so easily!
Ogaan: What’s your dream role or genre?
Shivani: Having already tried my hand at indie projects, I want to do something super commercial, a fun Bollywood masala film. Dancing to a tune or looking glamorous on the camera, staying aware of my profiles — these are all such daunting tasks to me, but I want to see if I can do it!
Location: Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu, Delhi Parsi Anjuman, ITO, New Delhi
Makeup & Hair: Sheeny Kaul
Styling and Words: Spardha Malik
Assistant Stylist: Juhi Taneja