Interview: Good Bad Girl's Samridhi Dewan says she hasn't seen Fleabag | Web Series - Hindustan Times

Interview: Good Bad Girl's Samridhi Dewan says she hasn't seen Fleabag, thinks Maya is like 'petrol'

BySuchin Mehrotra
Oct 23, 2022 06:47 PM IST

Samridhi Dewan talks to Hindustan Times about her new show Good Bad Girl and its comparisons with Fleabag and Pushpavalli.

In SonyLIV’s promising dark comedy series Good Bad Girl, Samridhi Dewan plays Maya Ahuja. After six years at her law firm, in a moment of panic, just as she’s about to be fired, Maya lies and says she has breast cancer. As the lie escalates, she realizes that having people believe she has cancer gives her everything she’s ever craved - sympathy, attention, and popularity. Also read: Gul Panag bagged law degree before Good Bad Girl: 'I have no intention of practicing in future'

Samridhi Dewan in Good Bad Girl.
Samridhi Dewan in Good Bad Girl.

An intriguing character study of a delightfully immoral figure, even when the show doesn't quite come together, Samridhi’s nuanced performance ensures that Maya is forever fascinating. She skillfully navigates Maya’s pain, instability, and tragic need for connection beneath a plucky, people-pleasing veneer.

In the show’s first week, it found itself on Ormax Media’s list of the most watched films and shows on streaming, clocking in 2.7 million views. An impressive feat for a niche dark comedy.

Over the phone, Samridhi spoke to me about creating Maya, navigating her fragile mind, the Fleabag and Pushpavalalli comparisons, and the hopes for season two.

Edited Excerpts:

What’s the response to the show been like so far?

It’s been very extreme. People either just don't get it and hate it, or they really really like it. I haven't heard anything in between, and I feel like that’s good in some sense (laughs).

I imagine the audition process for a character like Maya must have been very specific. What was that like? Which scenes did they have you do?

It was a very long audition process for this, and rightly so. Especially for a character like this. We did the college interview scene, which is in the first episode, and the trailer. And we also did the scene where Maya’s parents find out how she’s been making money in college. I kept getting told that my audition was very different from all the other actors but I don't know how exactly (laughs). In my head, this was the only way to play her.

It really is such a fine performance, especially in how you navigate the comedy with just how vulnerable and broken she is. Was there a specific moment either on set or when you were with the script when you felt “I got her. I know who she is”?

I think that happened before we even started shooting. When we were having these long conversations and workshopping, I used to ask bizarre questions which I think helped me. One of those was asking the creators “if Maya was a scent, which one would she be?”. After thinking about it they said petrol, and it just felt right. Some people like the scent of petrol, others don't. It can burn and destroy everything, but also very useful. It just fit. I think that’s the moment when I felt like I found her.

At times the show is obviously very funny, like Maya’s scenes with her doctor, and at others, it’s very tragic and emotional, like when we see her with her family. Was it difficult to balance the delicate tonality of the show?

I don’t think I thought of it like that at all. I was just living this part. The consequence of it could be a comedy for you or tragedy for the audience. I don’t think I ever thought about what the tone of a specific moment or scene needed to be. I feel like that was already built into the writing and situations, so it never felt like a balancing act.

In terms of references, the two gold standards in this space are Fleabag and Pushpavalli, which the show feels clearly inspired by. Did those two shows ever come up in conversation?

Not much. Of course, Fleabag did because that’s another flawed female character. But there wasn’t much conversation about it. Also, I haven’t actually seen Fleabag or Pushpavalli, so, they didn’t really come up in conversation much with me.

We obviously empathize with Maya for much of the time but she can also be so hurtful and unstable towards others. By the end of the show, how did you want people to feel about her?

I really just wanted people to get her. I personally didn't want her to be the villain. But, of course she’s crossing all these lines. But it’s not like I wanted people to just feel sympathy. I just wanted them to understand that this person exists and they’re an amalgamation of everything that’s happened to them and even if their choices aren’t something we agree with, we get why she’s making those choices. I wanted her to be more than just a compulsive liar or just a manipulative person or just a victim of what’s happened to her. I just wanted people to understand why she is who she is.

I struggled with how the season ended. It felt like the personal character study side of the show was suddenly sidelined to make it more of an abrupt thriller with a big cliffhanger. How did you see it?

I never thought of it as a genre-specific thing. What happened in the end in the jail made sense to me because she’s now in the biggest situation she’s ever been in. This is the biggest mess she’s made for herself and this is what it’s come to. She’s behind bars. And this person is never going to break down or ask for forgiveness. And the cliffhanger worked because it’s about how she gets out of this one. She’s always going to have something up her sleeve. Or if she doesn’t, she’ll find a way out. But she’s definitely not going to stop, that’s not what her life has been. There’s no one she can turn to, no support she has. She’s a lone wolf who has to fend for herself. We don’t know how yet, but she’s going to get out of this. So, for me, it felt like a fitting end to this journey.

Speaking of how she’ll get out of this one, is it too soon to ask about the status of season 2?

Of course, the intention is to carry on her story. But it really all depends on the audience and what they want. It always comes down to that.

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