Used to lock myself in a room for 5–6 hours a day: Vishal Jethwa on playing a serial rapist in ‘Mardaani 2’
Used to lock myself in a room for 5–6 hours a day: Vishal Jethwa on playing a serial rapist in ‘Mardaani 2’

Television actor Vishal Jethwa has made is big screen debut with Mardaani 2 last week. The actor has been garnering positive feedback for his role in this action thriller which stars Rani Mukerji as a cop. In an interview, the actor reveals about how he bagged this role, his first meeting with Aditya Chopra and much more.

Was it bit frustrating initially when you could not reveal anyone about signing this film?

Yes, it was frustrating. I am quite a social person, I used to attend all parties and then suddenly I was told not to go out as it could affect your character. But I knew it will help me and my character and future for sure. Past one year I spent on working on this film. Now it feels it was worth it. I used to tell my friends that there is something confidential which I can’t tell as I could not meet them or go out with them much often.

How were you finalise for this role?

Shanoo Sharma had called me for the audition; she had not seen my work. Initially I got a call and I thought it is some prank. My manager told me about it who handles my social media. I told him that why won’t they call me directly as they can easily find out my number from anywhere so it seems a fake thing. Then I spoke to them and realised it was a genuine thing. I thought let’s give it a try as I did not want to miss this opportunity. I had auditioned for some other film and other role. They called me again. I was given a brief for this character and then had to audition again. It was a long process. After some time you start feeling proud of yourself that how did do all this. Once she was sure she told the Yashraj team about me. I will always be thankful to her for giving me this opportunity. She sent me to director Gopi Puthran, then again he took my audition, and he asked me to do more scenes. He also asked me about my real life and background because he thought it was necessary for him to know this. They also checked if I can take up that much pressure or not. After that Adi sir and everyone were convinced then only I was selected for the role.

How was it to meet with Aditya Chopra?

I am I think one of the lucky person, who got to meet him and spoke to him. He is a star maker but you will never feel that he is the same person who has created so many people. He is a simple person, when I met him for the first time, I was bit scared. After watching my audition, he knew me by my name. I was bit nervous but he gave me a lot of confidence. If you meet him you will know he is a simple person. He told me he has seen my audition but there is a difference between audition and the film. You are going to work with Rani Ma’am and you know what kind of artiste is she. Even though she is his wife, he spoke to me like this. He told me to surrender completely to Gopi sir and it helped me a lot. I always made sure that I should not break trust of Adi sir, Gopi sir and Shanoo mam.

Was there pressure of performing better as the first part was a hit?

I had not seen first Mardaani until I sign this one. I had heard many good things about it. I thought of watching it then I think Tahir Raj Bhasin did excellent job in it, he did everything in a subtle way. However there was no pressure on me to perform better as the first one did well. It was worried about the quality of work I can give it to them. If I had taken that pressure then it would have affected my work. One day I performed dialogues of the entire film in front of Adi and Gopi sir and they both liked it. He then told me not to practice too much as it will look technical in the final cut as we did quite of few workshops before starting the film. After that I did not have to hold the script again throughout the film.

How difficult it was to get the right psyche of this mentally unstable character and coming out of it?

Earlier I had to think only about how to get inside the mind of this character. I had played negative roles on television but they were not that difficult because I didn’t have to live them. It was a different ball game together when you do a film. I went to Meerut and stayed there for three days; I ate the local food, roam around in the town, spoke to people and tried to understand their attitude. I had seen many news and videos of such crimes so that I could understand mentality of such people. I used to wear my costume of my character for nearly four months. I used to lock myself in the room for five –six hours for a day. I would put a chair in front of me and try to take out all my aggression on it. At times my family also had to bear with my frustration. I remember I would get headaches quite often. I had become some other person and would get angry for no reason. I would want everyone to keep quiet. I was travelling once with my sister from Kandivali to Andheri and I did not speak to her at all and shouted at her too. Later I said sorry to her when I realised my mistake. It was difficult to get in and come out of the character as powerful as this. I started wearing my regular clothes, started talking to people around me and have a light conversation with them.

Would you go back to television now if you get an opportunity?

I want to do more films and wish to make complete use of this break which I have got. If at all in future I feel that whatever I wanted in my career is not happening the way it should have then I have no issues to go back to television. I always feel work is work and I believe television will keep its doors open for my always.

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