When we stepped onto the KIN filming set one sunny afternoon, we felt like we were intruding on something. The sets that we’ve seen on TV for the past year or so were right in front of our eyes, and we curiously peered around as we took in the surroundings.
“Welcome to my home,” Ebi Shankara declared with a grin as he gestured for us to sit down in his living room. Dressed for a day of filming that would begin after our interview, he chuckled, “Sometimes I feel like I spend more time here than I actually do at home.”
The filming schedule for KIN pretty much takes up all of his time, as he shared that in a regular week, they film almost every weekday. Weekends, thankfully, are off days.
“Personally, I find it very easy to leave my work at work. At the start of every week, I’ll go through my script for the next few days. I don’t bring any of the energy from work home. Even though I spend a lot of time on set, it’s never been a problem for me,” he explained.
As we looked about the home, we noticed a few things that we didn’t quite remember seeing on TV.
“We usually film about two to three months in advance, so what you’re seeing here is what’s going on in the ‘future’, in a sense,” Ebi laughed. “Though you’ll have to be sworn to secrecy.”
This secrecy, he mused, was how the five-year time jump that the series went through on September 30’s episode was kept under wraps for so long.
“My friends and family don’t ask me to give them spoilers. They’re all very invested in the series, so they’ll never want to spoil themselves,” the actor shared. “Even if they did ask me, I wouldn’t be able to tell them anyway, but I’m glad that they’ve never asked. Everyone around me loves the show.”
The five-year jump wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, however, as his character, Kenneth Bala, had to deal with his wife Deanna’s death just before the jump. After the time jump, he’s now working with a different bunch of child actors, and has had to say goodbye to the younger version of his reel-life kids.
He said, “After spending so much time together, I feel like I watched the kids grow up in front of my eyes. The youngest, Nikky (played by Aiden Viknesvaran), was just a baby when we started but now he can walk and talk. He’s not even my kid, but it felt so special.”
That wasn’t the hardest goodbye he had to say, however, as he let on that having to bid goodbye to Deanna (played by Gayathri Segaran), was especially painful.
“The both of us are friends in real life, and she’s been a real joy to work with because we bounce ideas off one another and we know how to bring out the best in one another in terms of our acting. The last scene we had to do was very emotional, and I’m glad that I had her as a partner in the show,” Ebi shared.
He paused for a moment before quipping, “Maybe they can bring her back somehow? I don’t know how they’ll do it, but that would be interesting.”
Ebi was joking, of course, and clarified that he’s happy with how Kenneth’s story has progressed so far.
One day, in the faraway future, when KIN comes to a close, Ebi also has the kind of ending he has in mind for Kenneth.
“Rather than to say that he’ll have this or that, the only thing I truly hope for him is to be at peace with himself and the decisions he’s made,” he shared. “Wherever he may be or whatever he may be doing, I hope that he’s happy, and at peace with whatever he has and doesn’t have.”
Catch up on past episodes of KIN on Toggle.
KIN airs weeknights, 8.30pm on Channel 5.