INTERVIEW: Eve D’Souza of Auntie Boss

25 July 2017

INTERVIEW: Eve D’Souza of Auntie Boss

As Varshita, Eve D’Souza is psychotic, a control freak who will do anything to cling onto her boyfriend Donovan, even if it means faking an infectious disease. But Eve herself is anything but crazy, though some may find this hard to believe because of how convincing she is in her role in Auntie Boss.

Watch Auntie Boss on Showmax and catch the drama and the shenanigans of domestic helps and their bosses.

Here, Eve reveals more about herself and her character.

  1. You started out as a radio presenter. How did you get into acting?

After I quit radio, I started my own TV production company in January 2011. We’ve produced TV shows such as Travel Diaries, Mentality and Auntie Boss. My partner Lucy Mwangi and I produce all the shows and coupled up with hosting and acting in some of the shows; it can be quite busy and stressful.

  1. Tell us more about your TV production company, Moonbeam Production.

I was hosting TV shows part-time while I was in radio. Two shows – Triple Challenge and Vibe City – were actually produced by my current business partner, Lucy. We worked well on both shows, and I remember having numerous discussions on how frustrated we felt about the type of local content on TV. We wanted to produce great quality local content that would appeal across the board. It was a huge leap of faith, but we both quit our jobs in 2010 and started Moonbeam Production together.

  1. How did the concept for Auntie Boss come about?

It was purely through a conversation in the office between Lucy and me. She was venting about her domestic help and the ridiculous situations she’s had to deal with, and I started telling her funny experiences I’ve had with my domestic help, too. We just couldn’t stop laughing, and Lucy simply said, “This needs to be on TV, it would make a great show.”

  1. Auntie Boss is currently available on Showmax. What are your thoughts on internet streaming services like Showmax and the future of content?

I think it’s amazing that we now have access to great content at more affordable prices. It’s so easy and convenient.

  1. How did you land the role of Varshita?

It was never planned, but a situation came up where we needed to write out one of the main bosses. Lucy came up with the idea of having an Indian female employer, who is comically dramatic and over the top. I thought it’d be great as we don’t have many Indian characters on local productions. Because it was last minute and Lucy joked she doesn’t know any other Indian, she practically threw me on the show to play Varshita!

  1. We can all agree that Varshita is a little psycho. How do you bring out the “worst” to make her character believable?

Varshita is full-on psychotic, a drama queen, and totally obsessed with getting married to Don. I love playing her, because it’s always fun to play the villain; there are just no boundaries or limits. I actually enjoy playing her as I hardly get to be her in real life. Varshita says what’s on her mind, has no filter, doesn’t care what other people think about her, and is willing to fight and look crazy for what she believes in. It’s my chance to be a little more like that through her.

  1. In your honest opinion as Eve, what do you think about Varshita?

In the beginning it was uncomfortable to be honest, as Varshita was designed to be a hated character. But as more seasons went on I grew more and more amused by her and didn’t take her so seriously. I commend her commitment to Donovan and the truth is no one loves as crazily and as hard as she does.

  1. Tell us more about working with Maqbul Mohammed on the show, your onscreen chemistry and all that?

When Lucy told me I had to be Varshita, I knew Donovan had to be someone I was comfortable with. I had never acted before this so I was nervous enough as it was. I feel it’s always easier to play alongside someone you are good friends with. Also Maqbul is such a remarkable actor; he’s been doing this for years. I felt more confident we could pull it off with him as Donovan. I have really learned so much from him.

  1. You also worked with him at Capital FM, is that why he was chosen for the role of Donovan?

Yes, definitely. Actually, I have had so many celebrity appearances by people I’ve worked with before. Like I said, it’s always fun and easy acting with people you’re friends with and have great relationships with.

  1. All the characters in Auntie Boss are unique in their own way, such as Shiro and Silprosa, who are very rich characters. Who is your favourite?

When we were developing the characters for the house-helps, it was clear that Shiro was going to be a lovable character. We wanted her to be the character that everyone would fall in love with! Luckily for us we discovered Nice Wanjeri to play her and she is the most amazing actress. Lucy picked her out at a Kikuyu play. I think she’s definitely helped us make Shiro a stand out character.

  1. Auntie Boss has been on for six seasons and is still as funny and as captivating as ever. What is your strategy to ensure fans are hooked all the way through?

We’re actually currently broadcasting Season 11 on local TV. Lucy and I workshop with our writers before every production; we exchange and discuss ideas for the show as well as new characters to keep it fresh and interesting. We also do a lot of research on house-help stories. A lot of the times we invite actual house-helps to participate in our workshops and share stories of what they have gone through with their employers. We also get quite a few stories from friends and families that act as inspiration for some of the story-lines.

  1. What is some of the weirdest feedback you’ve got from people out there about your role as Varshita? People who recognise you from the show must have things to say when they meet you.

The weird thing is they think it’s all real. Everywhere I go, even at the gynaecologist, they ask me where Don is, why I didn’t bring him along. Recently I was filming a date scene with an Indian character at a restaurant. We asked the waitress of that restaurant to be part of the scene. She was so excited to meet Varshita but she looked at the actor playing my date in disapproval and quipped, “But that’s not your boyfriend.”

  1. How is the future looking for Moonbeam Productions? Any exciting projects we should be looking forward to?

We’re currently in production for a new comedy show commissioned by M-Net. It’s a spin-off of Auntie Boss based on Varshita’s character. It’s quite exciting because we focus on an Indian girl and her family merging with a Kikuyu boy (Don) and his family. We’re delving into the comedy in the clash and similarities of cultures and religions. It should be on air in November this year.

For more authentic local comedy on Showmax, watch Kenya’s breakthrough sitcom Briefcase Inc. featuring Elsaphan Njora, who has also appeared in Groove Theory.

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