Sikandar Kher reveals he suggested using poker chips: ‘It was supposed to be a deck of cards…’

Actor Sikandar Kher’s career has seen a resurgence after his performance in the Disney Plus Hotstar series Aarya. Despite making his Hindi film debut with the 2008 release Woodstock Villa, which did not perform well at the box office, Kher’s career had been marked by a series of forgettable movies until his role in 2016’s Tere Bin Laden 2 caught some attention.
However, it wasn’t until his role in the 2020 Ram Madhvani series Aarya as Daulat, Sushmita Sen’s trustworthy henchman, that Kher had his career-defining moment. This led to accolades and award nominations, and in less than two years, he starred in the acclaimed Netflix feature Monica, O My Darling, where his role was considered an extended cameo at best.
Despite this, Kher’s performance was praised, and he gave credit to his “captain” Vasan Bala and his colleagues on and off the camera. He revealed that he had been filming a movie with Dev Patel during the pandemic’s third phase when the script for Monica, O My Darling was pitched to him.
Sikandar stated in an interview with indianexpress.com, “I was in the middle of a demanding action sequence that had been going on for days in Indonesia, when I received a call from the casting agency. As soon as I heard that Vasan Bala was directing the film, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. He is a filmmaker that I have always admired and his work is something that I love to watch. I quickly read the script while on a five-hour transit flight to Dubai and was immediately drawn in. I couldn’t stop scrolling.”
When asked about why he was cast in the role of Nishi, Sikandar revealed that neither he nor the director ever discussed it. However, he expressed that he was happy to take on the small but significant role, stating, “It’s like a cameo, but I enjoyed the script so much that I couldn’t say no.”
The poker chip sequence in Monica, O My Darling is considered to be one of the best in the film. According to the actor, there was no rehearsal for the scene and it came together naturally. Sikandar shared that there was only one table read before filming began and that he had initially hoped to not start with this scene.
However, due to the lockdown, they had to begin with it on his first day of shooting. Despite the lack of rehearsal, Sikandar credited the talented cast and crew for making the scene flow smoothly. What he didn’t mention, however, was that he had actually suggested the use of poker chips instead of a deck of cards for the inn scene, which added a crucial aspect to the scene.
Sikandar explained to us that the scene was originally supposed to involve a deck of cards, but that idea fell through as he was having trouble mastering the sleight of hand technique via Zoom. He shared that he used to play poker professionally in the past, and that’s how he knew some tricks that could also be done with poker chips. He sent a recording of himself performing the trick to director Vasan Bala, who loved it and decided to use it in the film.
However, the custom-made poker chips that Vasan ordered were much heavier than regular poker chips, making it difficult for Sikandar to practice his tricks. Despite this obstacle, he was able to get used to the weight and successfully perform the trick in the film. In fact, it even became the iconic “O” in the title card of “Monica, O My Darling.” Sikandar ended by saying, “Everything works out.”

John Smith

John Smith

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