Malik was born in Prayagraj and moved to Mumbai after his studies. He didn’t really have an ambition for acting and worked at several TV stations as video editor, promo producer, etc. He was unexpectedly cast in a small role in Gangs of Wasseypur when one of the actors suddenly pulled out. His authentic portrayal of Prahlad, the sidekick of the village head, played by veteran actor Raghubir Yadav, won him the Critic’s Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor. Malik recalled his journey in this interview with Anushka Jagtiani.
When can we expect Panchayat's season 3?
In March 2024, but we are trying to release it earlier.
Do you actually shoot in a village?
Yes, we shoot in a village 60km away from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. It’s like a rural set. There is an actual Panchayat office and a sarpanch house, in which we shoot. The villagers are very nice, they come to watch the making of the series.
You shoot in Madhya Pradesh in the extreme summer?
It’s 47-48 degrees Celsius when we shoot. We stayed in a resort about 20km away. We will be shooting there for another few years.
How do you prepare for a role?
I am acting after quite a while. I started with Gangs of Wasseypur and then got busy with other stuff. Initially, when this role came to me, I said no due to lack of time. When I read the script, I said who will watch this show? But the writer and director were determined that this is how the show would be. I said to them, "This is a well-written show but aren’t you afraid that no one will watch it?”.
But, I agreed then. I was helped a lot by Raghu Bhai (Raghubir Yadav). There is a lot of teamwork as 3-4 people are always in a frame. We follow a process wherein we read for 15 days and figure out the nuances of the scene.
Did you go to acting school?
When I first came to Mumbai 20 years ago, I enrolled in an acting school, but ran away after two months because I couldn’t afford it.