Exclusive: Tony Luke On Expiry Date: I Learnt Both Hindi And Telugu For This Series

Tony Luke talks about the latest thriller Expiry Date on ZEE5 and his first Hindi film role in Badla.

Tony Luke caught the audience’s attention when he made his Bollywood debut alongside Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan. He was famous of his work as a model and an actor in the Malayalam film industry. Expiry Date, which released in both Hindi and Telugu, is a romantic thriller with Tony Luke playing the leading role. He talks about learning both Telugu and Hindi for this series which was shot during the lockdown.

Watch the trailer for the series here.

1. Sneha Ullal and Ali Reza, your co-stars, mentioned that when they heard the story of Expiry Date, they only heard about their roles. How did you hear the script first?

Oh definitely not. I was there when they began writing the storyline. I had this amazing meeting with Sharath Marar (producer) and Shankar K Marthand (director). That was when the essence of the storyline was told to me and since then I’ve boon onboard with this project. I’ve read the whole screenplay about 25-30 times.

2. What was your first reaction to the story?

I was immediately attracted to it. For me a thriller needs to have a hook and if you see, every episode of Expiry Date has a good hook. I was in love with the story and began brainstorming about the potential of the show.

3. The trailer too is interesting without revealing too much about the series. So, how much can you tell us about the character of Vishwa?

The first time I read the whole screenplay, I felt Vishwa is just like you and me. He wants to be a good husband, a good boss and a caring father. Over the entire story, his life slowly falls apart. You know in World War 2, the Nazis watched some of the most beautiful paintings in the world burn. Human tendency is such that, deep down, we love watching something beautiful get destroyed. For me, Vishwa is a beautiful person who is destroyed.

4. What is the meaning behind the name Expiry Date?

I think it is an interesting title because you shouldn’t take it literally. The meaning behind expiry date is that nothing lasts forever. So things in Vishwa’s life might seem great but it goes downhill soon.

5. The characters have messed up relationships with each other. How was the equation between actors on set?

Everybody was professional. Plus this was not a film shoot. We shot 250 minutes of footage in 4o days because of the Covid-19 restrictions. Plus we shot every scene in two languages so we did everything twice. So we didn’t get to really hang out and bond on set. Once the shoot was over, we all had to go back home because of Covid-19. So we didn’t really bond on sets but we were all complete professionals.

6. What was it like shooting during the lockdown?

To be honest, I was a little worried because I was watching the news and they were saying so many people died and all. I also thought about my team. I can generate funds for them and their family only when I work. So, I decided to say yes to the project, mostly because of them. Once we went on set it took me a day or two to get used to it, but after that it was really smooth. The director really took care of us and made sure everyone was safe on set with proper precautions. ZEE5 also made sure that me being the lead actor didn’t become too much of a heavy baggage for me.

7. How was it being a part of a bilingual series in Telugu and Hindi?

I’ll tell you one thing. I have a jinx on my head when it comes to languages. Before doing Badla I didn’t know a word in Hindi. I was nervous because I was going to be shooting with Amitabh Bachchan. Luckily I have always been good at picking up languages. So I watched many Hindi films and eventually, got a hang of it. Even with Telugu, I needed to learn the language. I watched comedy videos, films and interviews in Telugu to learn the language and dialects. There are also some similarities between Telugu, Tamil and Malalyam. So, I was able to learn faster.

8. Your co-star in Badla, Taapsee Pannu, made the leap from Telugu to Hindi cinema. Do you see yourself doing the same with Expiry Date?

I love to work in amazing projects and Badla was a good introduction. Even with Expiry Date, audience around the country and the world will get to see my work. The language doesn’t matter because the future in pan-India. There will be a time when films in different languages will be watched all over the country. If you see OTT platforms, you will see Indian content is all united, no matter the language. So I am going to continue doing projects that interest me other than the languages they are in.

9. Do you see yourself doing more films and series for the web and why?

Stock prices of OTT platforms have been increasing all over. This shows how much they are improving. I mean, people will always need theatre and cinemas but OTT is making it easier for people to watch what they are interested in. I will definitely want to work more with digital platforms.

10. 5 Reasons people should watch Expiry Date on ZEE5? 

It’s an excellent thriller because it keeps viewers excited and surprised. It is made beautifully by a hard-working team. It has all the human emotions of love, betrayal, jealousy and fear. It has two beautiful actors including Madhu Shalini and Sneha Ullal. So, if people don’t want to see ugly actors like me, they can watch it for them. Also, I think this is one of my best works and I have put in a lot of work. So, I would love for people to watch it for me.

If you enjoy dark romantic thrillers like Expriy Date, you should definitely check out the Forbidden Love Anthology, featuring four films by four national award winning directors.

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