- Published 20.01.18
He is an ace science student but plays a guy flunking exams in college. She can’t swim but aces a song sequence set in a river. Both Yash Dasgupta and Mimi Chakraborty beat the odds for Total Dadagiri, directed by Pathikrit Basu, which releases today. A t2 chat with Yash and Mimi over brunch at Deck 88, The Astor...
Total Dadagiri is a college romance. What are your memories of dadagiri in college?
Mimi: I never faced ragging. I had a close group of friends and I would always stick with them. I never spoke with anyone outside that group.
Yash: I didn’t face any ragging because I was well-built. Others felt I was a senior who had entered
college as a junior (laughs). I actually saved others from being ragged. If a senior bullied a classmate of mine, I would go fight with them. We had a gang…
Mimi: He was a very good student.
Yash: I studied science… I used to study because of my friends. I would help them out for exams and in return I would take money from them. It was a good way of getting money that time in Bombay. If someone betrayed me, I would make sure they failed in their exams the next time (laughs). And in this film I am helping myself out. I am carrying all the chits, but this character is so dumb that he gets the wrong chits for the exam! So he doesn’t even know which exam he is getting the chits for.
What does dadagiri mean to you?
Yash: Doing dadagiri where it is required. Dadagiri doesn’t mean bullying weak people.
Mimi: Dadagiri means fighting for oneself.
Have you been involved in fights?
Yash: I have been involved in gang fights in Bombay. Someone broke a glass bottle on my head. I did not know what to do. Initially I didn’t feel it, but then I realised I was bleeding. I went to the hospital alone at 3.30am, and got 12 stitches. I had told my mother that I was staying at a friend’s place, so the next day she came over and started crying. And I was like, ‘Please don’t tell dad’. I have sobered down a lot after entering this industry.
Mimi: In school I always fought with boys. I was very tomboyish.
Yash: You still do jhamela?
Mimi: No, not at all.
Yash: Look in my car, you’ll find self-defence weapons.
Mimi: I have a hockey stick in my car.
Yash: I have something like a stick that you can fold. And I have a knuckleduster that gives an electric shock. Touch someone with it for three seconds, and the person is down for 45 minutes.
Mimi: I fight for a reason. I am a feminist…
Yash: You are a feminist?
Mimi: That means we are fighting for ourselves.
Yash: What are you fighting for?
Mimi: It’s about being reasonable… For example, a hero and heroine should get the same remuneration.
Yash: But Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone get the same amount.
Mimi: Maybe it has started happening in Bollywood. Men and women should have equal rights. We are not against men. We are fighting for ourselves to be protected in all the ways we can. We are supporting ourselves.
Mimi, which subjects gave you sleepless nights in school?
Mimi: I was bad in chemistry and math.
Yash: You should have mentioned this before. You could have got tuitions from me and I would have earned some money!
Mimi: I had to sit for a retest once. I finished my studies and a day before the retest I went off to a friend’s place… I told my mother that I had a meet in school the next day. Meanwhile, my friend called up and inadvertently blurted out about the retest. I got some real scolding from my mother when I returned home. I have done many goof-ups. I tell my mother everything.
Yash: Our street fights were really lethal. Nothing was calculated, it was very random. It was not the right thing to do…. But then boys go through that age, they get into fights, woo girls…. and then you come out of it and you tend to be more sober and calm… because you need to set an example for the younger generation.
How many girls did you woo in college?
Yash: I had this thing… I wanted to date two-three girls at the same time, and I wanted to get them to the same restaurant at different timings and show off to my friends. Without letting the girls know of course! And of course, things went wrong… I spotted someone walking into the restaurant while I was with another girl. And I felt like hiding under the table (laughs).
Mimi: I never had a boyfriend in school or college, though boys would hang around outside my classroom. I was in Class XI or XII… I would see 15-16 boys outside the classroom. I would ask my friends, ‘Why are they here?’ and then got to know they had come to see me. I was quite surprised.
Mimi, how did you manage to lie on the branch of a tree for the Chinte parli na song?
Mimi: When they told me that I would have to lie down on a branch on a river, I just had only one question — how far down is the water? It was six-and-a-half feet from the branch. And they assured me that they’d catch me if I fell. No problem! Once I lay down I realised that the tree was shaking with every breath I took. So I held my breath. Everyone felt I was lying down gracefully but actually I was holding on to the tree really hard with one hand. Now, the trail of my gown was in the river, and with every wave I felt the pull!
Yash: And she was there for a long time… we could have given her cushions.
Mimi: And Baba (Yadav, choreographer) knew that I don’t know how to swim and I have vertigo. Whenever there is a song sequence, he’ll make it a point to put me in a spot and create a situation!
Are Yash and Mimi the cutest screen pair in Tolly?