Amol Parashar is still known for his portrayal of Chitvan from TVF’s Tripling. The actor gained immense popularity from the show, which was amongst the first Indian web shows to achieve success. Last year, he was seen opposite Konkona Sen Sharma in Alankrita Shrivastava’s Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare that also featured Bhumi Pednekar and Vikant Massey, and this year he signed a film as a leading hero with veteran actor and filmmaker, Subhash Ghai.
In an exclusive conversation with Spotboye.com, the actor gets candid about his journey, success of OTT, Tripling 3, his film career and more. Read excerpts from the interview:
This year marks your 12 years in showbiz. How has this journey been for you?
I don’t see it as long honestly, as for me it has had two different parts. For my first three-four years, my career revolved only around theatres, even if I got any ads or small roles in between. In the last five years, with the OTT boom, it has been part 2 for my career and even I started enjoying it. The roles are better now and so is the response. Also, I had exhausted my experimentation with theatre when OTT came along the same time. Even the people I used to do plays with have moved on, and now we are doing films and shows together.
I think your career can be divided as pre-Tripling and post-Tripling…
Yes, it can be divided in pre and post OTT. Even my life was different before, and not just my career. It felt like a completely different profession working in theatres then working on shows.
How did your association with TVF influenced your future choices?
Tripling came around the time when I had already done theatre for a few years and I was going through a dull phase. I had done a lot of different roles in plays and now, they were getting repetitive. I was looking for something new or maybe try out in films. I was to do a big film but in 2014-15 but the film got shut two days before shoot and it marked a lean phase for me, and then Tripling came along.
I shared a common background with people from TVF, so I knew them from before. While I was busy doing plays, they wanted to write but we knew we would cross path someday. We were to do a different show initially, but it the changed to a road trip show that turned out as Tripling. In 2016, there was not much of a budget or scale, as a show usually meant four people in a room. There was no scale of outdoor shoots and cars, so Tripling was an ambitious project at that time. I had the confidence in the company as they had done projects like Permanent Roommates and Pitchers, so they had credibility.
The character of Chitvan was also exciting but it came with a huge responsibility. I had doubts if people would laugh with him or not, or what if it came across as weird. But thankfully it paid off for everyone, as it was a risk for the platform too since the show was about siblings and it had no love, sex or romance.
Suddenly, people making films and other web shows saw my work. Earlier only a select few people saw my plays at a time. With YouTube, millions saw my work. The medium was opening up and everyone wanted in on it, but nobody saw the boom coming like it did. In 2014, I couldn’t have even imagined that I’d be doing five web shows in 2018, or even there would be a thing called a web show.
You come from IIT, and in our country people go to IIT to get a stable and secure job. You made a switch from that security to an unstable profession like acting. Was there any apprehension from your family’s side?
Definitely, like any other middle class Indian parents, my parents were apprehensive as this field is very far and remote for them. They had no clue about the industry and the image that people get lost here and get into bad things, added to it. They were worried but I was pretty clear. I assured them that if I don’t get work, I’ll get back to my job, and I wasn’t doing it just out of excitement. But even I didn’t think that I’ll come to Mumbai and do films and shows. I had no clue about the industry but I liked and acting I wanted to do it. I told the same to my parents, and they felt assured by my assurance.
But I never felt the need to go back as people started noticing my work and there was something positive happening throughout, be it plays, ads or even auditions. If Tripling wouldn’t have happened, I might have gotten done with acting, but I got something new and adventurous at each step and it never let me get bored.
But my parents still sometimes tell me, “Dekh Le Kuch Aur”, by which they mean something stable. They haven’t lived a life where they don’t know what’s going to happen six months from now, and they fear that and perhaps that excites us.
So, is there a possibility of Tripling 3?
The possibility always exists as none of the characters have died in season 2 (Laughs). When we were makings season 1, I didn’t even know that there will be a season 2. Going by that experience, if TVF wants to make season 3, they might think of something. The actors are still there, they just have become a bit busier. But definitely, there is always a possibility.
You had your first major film with a big cast and production house with Dolly Kitty last year. How did it change things for you?
If we weren’t all going through this Covid-19 situation, I would have seen an immediate effect of the consequences. The film had actors who have been working for a long time and they have a following and it reached out to some more people, whom my shows hadn’t yet. I got a good response from the audience as it was a completely different character for me than Tripling. And I actually shot Tripling 2 and Dolly Kitty at the same time. The audience saw a new side of me and liked it while the film reached out to people who had heard my name but not yet seen my work. Although, I haven’t been able to see the professional effects that clearly yet, I do believe that if you do something nice, people remember it.
How was it working with Konkona, and feeding off her energy, experience and talent?
I was working with all these people for the first time and what helped was my character, as it was someone who keeps to himself and is young and naïve. I was mostly sitting quietly in the corner when I wasn’t shooting as I was like a kid, who was in between these popular people and just was keeping quiet and doing his thing. I kind of fed on that energy and used in my scenes.
It’s not like I had many days of shoot, as we shot for about 12-14 days. So, I didn’t have time to build on any equation. If it worked it worked, otherwise it didn’t and you just fake it on camera. But in this case, even though both Konkona and Alankrita come with so much prestige and laurels, they were very gentle and real with me. They never made me feel that I was a new talent, they made me feel like an actor and it made me feel comfortable and an equal part of the process. And that comes naturally to them, they don’t fake nicety. They are honest and humble about their craft and that shows in their work. You also realise that even you want to be that way.
You will be next seen in Shoojit Sircar’s Sardar Udham Singh with Vicky Kaushal. How was it being directed by Shoojit?
Earlier when in interviews, I was asked about the directors I wanted to work with, he was always on my list. And it happened very swiftly and suddenly within 20 days. I met them and shot the film during that period. It was a really smooth experience, just like I had with Konkona and Alankrita. You wonder what would you talk to them, but when on a set, there is a collaborative nature that makes you feel that you are making the film together. He is so calm, composed, humble and focused and that is the whole environment on set too. I hope to get to work with him again soon as it was a short experience this time, even though as fulfilling.
You are also working with some of the finest Gen-z actors like Vicky or Radhika Madan in Feels Like Ishq. How are they as co-stars?
I have been very lucky in terms of co-stars, be it Konkona, Radhika or Vicky. They are all focused on their work and they do not spend time on extra things. They are really secure and I learnt that it is what makes them who they are. They want to do well for the whole story, not just for themselves, and that is similar to the culture of theatre. When you do a collaborative effort, everything feels and seems good.
In 2019, there was an announcement of you doing a film with the Bhatts. What’s the update on it?
The film has been shot and is ready and I am quite excited about it. Now it will mostly be an OTT release. It’s very unlike the Vishesh films’ projects. The genre is a comedy which Vishesh films is not known for. I have worked with the director, Rishabh, before. It’s his first film and he is also very excited about it. I am just waiting for that day when I myself get a message on an update on the film.
You also signed a film with the legendary Subhash Ghai. How is it working under his guidance?
Even though he isn’t directing the film, you learn a lot from his vision of cinema. He has worked with so many actors over the years and he looks through any of his actors now. We did a couple of readings with him and he was impressed by how quick I picked up the scenes, while I was also impressed by his knowledge. We were to shoot the film in April, but now let’s see what happens.
In an earlier interview, you had mentioned that you are also focusing on writing. So, how is that turning out?
During theatre too, I’d use to write for plays. So, there is that side of me which took a backseat in the last five years as I got busy with acting, but I realise there is a part of me that has ideas and is trying to develop a story. With so many platforms around, and so much hunger for content, the demand has increased. So, that is why I started doing that again.
I developed an idea during the lockdown last year and shared it with people when lockdown opened and the response was good. With things locked up again this year, I expanded it further. It also became a way to spend my creative energy during the lockdown. It helped keep bad thoughts away. And I have to say, writing is more difficult than acting, but also fulfilling.
Image Source: Focus PR, Instagram/amolparashar
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