Please tell us about your character in Paatal Lok. Any special prep you had to do for the role?
Hathiram Choudhary is a character that is very vulnerable and easily understandable. One would be able to easily relate to him. Like everyone, Hathiram is struggling with his inner and external conflicts. He is just trying to attain victory and prove himself. As for the prep, I went through the script which was finely detailed by Sudip sir so it became easier to play the part. Since, the character is a cop in Delhi, Sudip gave me the opportunity to select the character's origin and I chose Haranya, because I am from there and it was easier to step into the shoes of the character since it came very naturally to me. As an actor and an artiste, you take up a lot of small nuances from people and induce it in your character, and since the character reminded me of my father, I took a lot of nuances from him.
How did you land up with the part? What made you say yes to it?
Maybe, I was there somewhere on Sudip's mind when the story for Paatal Lok was being written. He thought that Hathiram's character would suit me well and showed me the script for one-two episodes of Paatal Lok. He asked if I would like to play Hathiram's character and I accepted without hesitance. The character and the story are so strong that I don't think any actor would have said say no to it.
What was working with Sudip like?
Sudip sir is an excellent writer and working with him was a great experience. He really thought the character of Hathiram would suit me and he had detailed the script with such great intricacy that it was very easy to adapt to the character.
Paatal lok is generally associated with hell. But here, it’s hell if a different kind. How would you define ‘Paatal lok’? What according to you is paatal lok?
I think Paatal Lok is a reflection of our times. All of those characters that you see in the trailer, you can also find them in the news or the newspapers. The people from the trailer might appear to you like someone you have heard of and we are bringing them to you in a distinctive new way in the form of a fresh story. Every face you see in the Paatal Lok is a face you will see in society. Some face or some incident that you feel is about another world is actually what is really happening in the current society right in front of us, in the newspapers, it is something which we tend to ignore. It is a reflection of us and our society.
What can viewers expect from the show?
It is surely gonna be an amazing and relatable series. The show has been written beautifully. Since the OTT platforms are known for giving us so much time and length that some filmmakers are not able to utilize it properly. But in this case, there’s nothing less…nor more—the writing is as much as would be required to take us through the story, incidents, and relationships of each character. Even the set of actors are amazing and the show is based on a realistic space, you wouldn't feel like anything is unbelievable. I would say the mix of characters in the show portray the modern-day society. All of the characters are bought together at a crossroads because of their unique situation, even as each of them belongs to a different social category and society.
You’ve done a lot of crime dramas previously. Any plans of venturing out of the genre?
It wasn’t a conscious decision to do a lot of crime dramas. Somehow, the script always attracts me and I am drawn towards this genre. However, as an actor, I would love to do all kind of genres. For that matter even romance or a comedy film or series. I am here to experiment and open to everything.
You’ll be seen again in a negative role in Khaali Peeli. What draws you to such characters?
When I read a script and I like the writing, I just go for it and don't think about what shade the character has. I feel slowly and steadily, the demarcation between positive and negative is fading. Ideally, in real life, a common man can be positive at some point and negative at other. When you go towards realism, there's no good or bad. It's just a matter of perspective. When you start reading characters, the wall between black and white starts fading out.