May 3 2015
After the final episode of ‘Indian Summers’ was broadcast, we invited people on twitter to send their questions for actors Jemima West and Aysha Kala and they’ve responded…
IT WAS AFTER episode four that we began our live tweeting as the programme went out on Channel 4 every Sunday between 9pm-10pm between February 15-April 19.
The broadcaster’s most lavish and expensive drama, “Indian Summers” was just beginning to settle down and had won a loyal audience, not deflected by “Poldark” (on BBC1 at the same time) or simply were happy to put that on deferred gratification or watched the 10-part colonial drama on their playback systems. That was quite evident from tweets using the #Indiansummers – though be warned the real ‘Indian Summers’ (as in extreme heat is just kicking in).
Taking the rein for the live tweeting was our very own resident social media champion and contributor Chayya Syal.
She quickly built quite up a following with her own fast and nimble tweets, which often expressed what others were thinking and led to some amusing and entertaining twitter banter.
What emerged from all this at the end after the final episode a fortnight ago (on April 19) was an invitation to participate in special twitter questions to the actors Jemima West (who plays Alice Wheelan) and Asyha Kala (who is Sooni Dalal). #ACVASKALICE #ACVASKSOONI
Both kindly agreed to answer your questions, despite leaving for Malaysia to shoot Series 2, which will be aired in the UK some time early next year.
Thanks to all our contributors, not only those of you who sent us questions, but those who participated in the live tweeting and those who followed us on twitter to enhance their viewing experience of “Indian Summers”.
It was great to have you all and we hope that in the run-up to series 2 we will have some interesting announcements.
Back to this though – some folks asked more than one question and we had to restrict them to just three per person.
Among these was ‘Lightwoods Brasil’ which is actually a fan site in Brazil dedicated to Jemima West and Kevin Zegers.
They both feature in the film, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” (2013) which is a screen adaptation of the bestselling young adults book by Cassie Clare.
‘Brasil Lightwoods’ has been avidly following our articles and translated our interview with West into Portuguese.
West plays Isabelle Lightwood in the film, and Zegers is her brother – hence the name of the site.
Myleene Pedrazzi, who is behind ‘Lightwoods Brazil’ with her friend ‘Stefs’ told us: “I’m really obsessed by Cassie Clare’s books and Isabelle is my favourite character, so when I knew Jemima was playing Isabelle, I started to research things about her.”
And well, the rest is obvious.
Here are the twitter questions…
Jemima West answers…
Juliana Costa @meesvely
JC: Jemima, are you excited for a second season of Indian Summers?
Jemima West (JW): I’m absolutely thrilled to be back for a second series, we got here a week ago and picked up from where we left. It’s like a big family and it’s lovely to be with everyone again.
Lightwoods Brasil @LightwoodsBR
LB:What can we expect from Alice in this season from ‘Indian Summers’? The show barely finished and I’m excited.
JW: Well, I’m very excited too, because the story picks up 3 years after the first season, so a lot has happened in the meantime and there are plenty of new surprises for the characters. And not necessarily what one would imagine!
LB: I confess I screamed watching and Aafrin’s first kiss. How was it shooting that romantic scene?
JW: Nikesh Patel is not only a brilliant actor, he is also a good friend, so we had lots of chats about what we wanted to do with the Aafrin/Alice relationship and it was very respectful and professional.
LB: What’s the best features of Alice in your opinion?
JW:I think what I like about Alice the most is that she is a woman who follows her desires. She’s a risk taker.
B:Jemima, you root for Arsenal football club in England?
JW:Maybe I will start to!
MD:Can’t Alice give a lesson is niceness to those other English women? Is she too good to be true?
JW:Ah, Alice is a very loving person that is true, with values of equality and generosity. But I don’t think she’s too good to be true, she has her own share of issues and secrets.
MD: Was there any aspect of Alice’s character you didn’t like? Did you think there was anything she could have done differently?
JW: I wouldn’t say there are aspects of hers I don’t like, because I’m too attached to the character. I would say though, as Jemima, that certain of her choices I would not have made myself, because we are different people.
S: DO YOU EVEN GET WITH AAFRIN THOUGH? (as tweeted)
JW: Wait and see!
For both Jemima West (JW) and Aysha Kala (AK)
A: Hey guys you cheer for a football team?
JW: I love a good football match. When we were filming last year we had to watch the World Cup at very weird times because of the time difference, and that was very frustrating! Still looking for my favourite local team though.
Aysha Kala (AK): I was supporting Manchester United before I was born. My dad is a die hard fan and all my family support them. There’s always football on the TV in my house. However, my boyfriend is a West Ham supporter and he’s always trying to poison my mind.
A: I love you and your work and I was wondering what you liked in Malaysia.
JW: Thank you so much. Malaysia is a fascinating country because it is in the heart of Asia and at the crossroads of so many cultures, which make it so diverse and enriching.
AK: THE FOOD! Penang has the nicest food in the world and when we’re filming all we talk about is food. At breakfast we talk about lunch and at lunch we talk about dinner.
Inspiration Arts @inspirationart5
IA: Did ‘Indian Summers’ hold back on the brutality and realities of the empire?
JW:The reason why this show appealed to me so much in the first place is because I felt like our writer Paul Rutman had really succeeded in portraying the different cultures, and points of view as much as each other.
AK: I think Paul explored this in a very subtle way. The pack mentality of the British and the struggle of the Indians. However I think he really explored the contradictions in these people lives it wasn’t as clean cut as all the British were cruel and all the Indians were victims. Many of the characters don’t know where they stand and this is what makes them such great characters to play and watch.
MD:But how did Bhupi know that Jaya was waiting at the river for Ralph?
JW:That is a very good question for our writer Paul Rutman.
Paul Rutman: My theory was that Bhupinder followed Jaya down to the river. (At one stage, I was going to have Bhupi watching Ralph meet Jaya in the same spot that morning, but figured it would give him away as the killer.)
AK: Wait for series 2 to find out more.
MD: Will ‘Indian Summers’ go up to partition?
JW: That is the intention, if all goes according to plan, that the series would pan out over the course of 15 years, from 1932 to 1947.
AK: If we are lucky enough to go for 5 series I think Paul’s plan is to go until partition maybe even after but nothing is set in stone.
Sarika Sethia @sarikasethia
What drew you to your characters (a)? How did you get into character (b)? Where do you see your arcs going (c)?
JW: The strength and precision in which each and every single one was portrayed. And the interest in developing the male and female characters as equally as each other. We read books, had lots of chats with our directors and creators, and lots of group rehearsals on the weekends. The arcs are beautifully developed for the upcoming series, it’s all very exciting.
AK (answers each separately): a) Sooni has a drive that comes instinctively. Shes not scared to say what’s on her mind sometimes to her detriment. She’s not quite sure what to do with it in season one but hopefully season two might find her a bit more mature. (b) Being on the set and immersing yourself into the world of India in the 1930s was a great way to get back to the character. Also feeding off the other actor in the scene with you and always thinking what would Sooni do, not what would Aysha do. Having to do an Indian accent is really helpful as it’s so far removed from me. (c) We know a little bit about series 2 as we’ve started filming again. But that’s all top secret.
Were they any bloopers? If so could you mention one?
JW: There were quite a few adventures linked to the locations we were filming in, most involving animals and insects. Once filming a scene with Fiona Glascott (Sarah) for episode 9 we had a coconut attack by the monkeys on the trees above who were not happy we were taking up their spot.
AK: There wasn’t any that I can think of. The only mad incident that I can think of was Olivia (Madeline) being stung by a scorpion at the dinner table. The perks of filming in a tropical country.
HK: Which was your favourite scene?
JW: It’s very hard to pick a favourite because there were so many lovely scenes. But if I had to choose I’d say I love filming all the Chotipool scenes, feels very much like our home now.
AK: I loved working with Ayesha Dharker (Nalini) she’s so brilliant and doing the riot scene with her and Ashna (Rabheru – Shamshad Dalal) was so much fun.
For Aysha Kala only
MD:Sooni has had no conflict/choice to face unlike Aafrin and some others. She’s had it easy! Does she face conflict in 2?
AK: I think her conflict in season on was very much her love for her brother vs her hate for his working with the British. As for season 2 I don’t want to give anything away, you’ll have to wait until next year!