Who doesn’t remember Kukoo from Sacred Games? Besides Ganesh Gaitonde, Kukoo was possibly the most popular character from the hit Netflix show. It was a breakout role for actor Kubbra Sait who earned accolades for her sensitive portrayal of the character. Now, actor Priyanshu Painyuli of Mirzapur and Extraction fame has revealed that he was in talks to essay the character.
Speaking to a daily, Painyuli spoke about a few roles he had auditioned for but lost out on. “One of my favourite ones was MC Sher, Gully Boy, which Siddhant (Chaturvedi) did. This is an interesting one, not many people know about it. I was a finalist with Kubbra for Kukoo’s role in Sacred Games. So I lost weight and this was while Bhavesh Joshi was being edited. (Vikramaditya) Motwane sir came to me and he said ‘We are trying to figure out whether a guy should play Kukoo or a girl. And we are testing people, auditioning people, would you like to understand this?’ And I met Anurag Kashyap sir and understood the part. He said ‘I know how you act and I have no problem with that. Tu accha kar hi lega scenes mein but read some of the Kukoo scenes and see if you want to attempt it. Because it is a little tricky to play that part,” he said.
“So I read those scenes and said give me one month’s time. So it took a lot of prep. These guys also enjoyed the prep. I remember wearing five inch heels, walking around the house, lost weight. I have pictures of my Kukoo trial test. The same get-up that Kubbra did. I got the eyelashes, the wig, the same gown, and I had to learn the dance very very much. Like Parveen Babi was the reference. So I danced at the studio in the whole outfit. Eventually, Netflix and everybody decided that (they should go with a woman for the role). But I think what Kubbra brought in that I was missing somewhere was that she was bringing in that body language which is very important as Kuk. When I saw her doing it, I thought yea, she was the right one. I wasn’t so graceful when I danced either,” he added.
[Image Credit: Priyanshu Painyuli]