Jamie Lever’s debut film ‘Cuddles’ to release on Disney+Hotstar (Photo Credits-Instagram)
Jamie Lever, daughter of veteran actor Johnny Lever, is making her acting debut with Kabir Khurana’s short film ‘Cuddles’. Starring Jamie Lever, Vivek Vaswani, Komal Chhabria and produced by Rakesh Desai, Cuddles will be streaming live on Disney+ Hotstar from 3rd December. Cuddles is based on a short story by Larisa Thule (Kafka and the Doll). It is written and directed by Kabir Khurana and co-written by Avirat Parekh.
Talking about Cuddles, Jamie Lever said, “When I met Kabir and when he narrated the story to me, I understood his story. It was difficult for me because I have always done comedy and this is a very unique project, very nuanced, very real, heartfelt, different from everything I have done in the past. I was just excited to play a fresh and refreshing character. When it comes to comedy you can go over the top and be loud with your performance but when you have a subject like this, you need something really subtle, heartfelt and underplayed to bring out those deep emotions It has to be Kabir was very helpful. We did some readings and he made me realize how you can tap into those emotions and bring them out in the scenes. Overall, I had a great time working with Kabir and the entire team, a young energetic and motivated batch, so sure of what they set out to do. I also love that Kabir has included a bit of singing which is one of my strengths. I got a chance to sing live and record my own songs, which is a great opportunity.
Talking about his choice of actors, Jamie Lever and Vivek, director Kabir Khurana said, “Casting for short films is always challenging. Since there is no market for shorts, the effort is not always to cast a capable actor who fits the look of the character, but who is also a well-known face to get the right visibility online. A lot of names were thrown into the mix, Jamie Lever and Vivek’s names also cropped up. My mom was a big fan of Jamie’s stand-up and online content and I thought it would be interesting to see him break the stereotype of just being a comedian, being a nuanced and emotional performer. I felt she was being pigeonholed the wrong way and she was incredibly versatile. The film captures her diverse talents and she even sings a song in the film which plays over the end credits! Casting for Vivek was equally challenging. We wanted an actor who could bring that warmth, innocence, simplicity and age-old wisdom and Vivek was the perfect fit. Incidentally, he also did a small role in my dad’s film (in 2010) and when I called him, he immediately agreed! It was an honor to work with both Johnny Lever’s daughter and Vivek. Apart from being great actors, they are wonderful, friendly people and I would love to work with them again. We’ve had some great conversations.”
Vivek Vaswani is a veteran actor, director, producer and educationist who plays a pivotal role in the film. Talking about his role in the film, Vivek said, “When Kabir approached me for Cuddles, I was more than happy to be a part of it. Although I am now in academia, serving as Dean of the School of Contemporary Media at Pearl Academy. Nothing makes me happier than being able to act, the biggest thing is that it is a good script which is the need of the hour.’
Producer Rakesh Desai shared, “Cuddles has rekindled my creative thirst. Unlike my experience in the banking industry, this is a different learning opportunity and a way to contribute to cinema. Working with extremely talented people like Kabir, Jamie Lever, Vivek, Komal and the production team made the experience even more enriching. The story is short and sweet, simple and relevant.
“Cuddles is a story about hope and we are confident that in heartbreaking times like these, this project will connect with viewers even more than usual.” Added writer-director Kabir Khurana. Kabir is a 15-time International Award-winning filmmaker, who earned a Filmfare nomination for his last project titled Suttabaazi.
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