Sushant Divgikr is popularly known as Rani Ko-HE-Nur.

Sushant Divgikr recently completed the recording of Marvel’s Wastelanders, a podcast series presented by Marvel Entertainment and Audible.

Sushant Divgikr, popularly known as Rani Ko-HE-nur, has many reasons to celebrate. 2023 began with a bang as they became the first drag queen to represent India at Dragcon in the UK in January. In February, they were a part of the panel in the India Conference at the prestigious Harvard University and spoke on behalf of the transgender community. They are all set to mark their big Bollywood debut soon. To add to these feats, Sushant recently completed the recording of Marvel’s Wastelanders, a podcast series presented by Marvel Entertainment and Audible. The segment titled Star-Lord has Sushant playing Cora, a Rigellian Recorder, and also has voices by actors Saif Ali Khan and Vrajesh Hirjee.

In a freewheeling and exclusive chat with News18, Sushant tells us that they took inspiration from the legendary actor, Rekha, who they look up to as the ultimate drag icon, to play their character in Star-Lord. “My character is grey and it’s androgynous. It’s not a man or a woman because she’s a machine. If I’ve to draw a similarity, I would say that Cora is a lone ranger. She doesn’t need anyone, even a partner. I would like to say that Cora is learning from Rekha ji,” they say with a smile.

Sushant reveals that they have a background in theatre and credits it for helping them record for the podcast. Shedding light on the same, they say, “Theatre helped me. And because I’m a singer too, my riyaaz helped me modulate my voice. I started with theatre. I did a lot of musical theatre. I was actively doing it for a while when I was younger. I would say that was my first acting job. I even did Shakespeare and that was quite heavy. In the audio field, I’ve done other series. But in Marvel Wastelanders, I played a recorder for the first time.”

But lending his voice for an audio series like Marvel Wastelanders was no cakewalk. Speaking about it, they remark, “I felt like I was Alexa’s cousin (laughs). Having said that, for the first two days, I was dying! I was like, nahi ho raha hai! It was quite tough to sound like an AI recorder. I could have never imagined that I would play a Marvel character someday and that would be an AI recorder. On the third or fourth day, the character finally sat inside me and I could switch on and off. But the first two days, I was praying to all the gods!”

What also made it a special experience for Sushant was the fact that it was an extremely ‘democratised’ process and the autonomy given to each artist helped break the barriers set by the hierarchical film industry. “There were days where I could just come in and record two episodes but I had other commitments. On other days, if there was an artist in the studio, I could come in so that we could do our lines together. We could come according to our own schedule. And that’s what I loved the most,” they state.

Sushant further continues, “You weren’t expected to be there on somebody else’s time. So, that hierarchy of artists wasn’t there. It was such a democratised space, it was like an equal playing field. There was a sense of autonomy and we didn’t feel bad about other people not being able to make it on the days when we were available because we had their voices with us, which was integrated by the core team.”

Sharing their excitement about getting to collaborate with some established and senior performers, Sushant exclaims, “The series also has Ashish Vidyarthi, Jaideep Ahlawat and Vrajesh and they’re such amazing artists. I’ve literally grown up watching them. In the continuation of things, there are other people also who I’ve started off with like Yashaswini (Dayama). But these are legends in our industry. To be spoken in the same breath as them makes me feel like I’ve won my award (laughs)! I feel humbled.”

The franchise, adapted from Marvel’s hit series, Wastelanders, features Marvel’s most iconic and beloved heroes as they fight to regain order and justice in a post-apocalyptic future where Marvel’s Super Villains have been in power for more than 30 years after a tragic event that killed nearly all Super Heroes – V-Day. Star-Lord will be released on June 28, 2023. ​

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