From Liquid to Munna Bhaiya: Divyendu wants to keep experimenting

Ravi Bansal

New Delhi, Oct 24 (PTI) Eight years after his debut as lovelorn Liquid in Luv Ranjan's 'Pyaar Ka Punchnama', actor Divyendu has finally broken free of that image and says people on the streets now call him Munna Bhaiya, the name of his character in gangster drama 'Mirzapur'.

The success of 'Pyaar Ka Punchnama' found Divyendu trapped in the image of a comedic actor but instead of playing to it, the actor said he made a conscious decision to break away with 'Mirzapur'.

As Munna, the young spoiled brat and gun-totting heir to Pankaj Tripathi's Kaleen Bhaiya in 'Mirzapur', Divyendu is miles away from the boastful yet naive Liquid.

'It's Munna bhaiya all over right now. I can't escape this character wherever I go. When people meet me, they call me 'Munna Bhaiya'. But this is heartening and humbling to me.

'If you are playing a character and people start seeing you as that guy, then that is something incredible to know. It means they have appreciated you for experimenting with a character. It gives you confidence that you can continue to try things and choose different stories,' Divyendu told PTI in an interview.

'Like any other actor, I want to express different sides and shades of me. I want my audiences to believe that if Divyendu is in a project, there has to be something special about the project.'

The actor said it has always been quality over quantity for him otherwise there is a chance to get trapped in a particular image.

'When I started out with 'Punchnama' and 'Chashme Baddoor', they were both hits. A lot of people wanted me to carry on with comedies. But I took a conscious decision that I want to be an actor and not a particular character.'

Divyendu is now a part of anthology film 'Kanpuriye', which is set to release on Hotstar.

Asked if he has some personal affinity for the state of Uttar Pradesh, since 'Mirzapur' and his film 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha' were also based in the state, the actor said UP seemed to be 'the flavour of the season'.

'A lot of writers and directors are coming from UP so they are getting a lot of stories which are based in UP. Fortunately, I have been lucky that I got to be part of these projects.'

In 'Kanpuriye', which will also feature Aparshakti Khurana and Harsh Mayer, Divyendu plays one of the three protagonists.

'My character's name is Vijay Dinanath Chauhan and he is a lawyer and the son of a film obsessed man. The biggest irony of his life is that he is fighting his first case and he is the defendant. The story is about his fight for survival and his quest to achieve his goals and dreams.'

Divyendu is tight-lipped about the fate of Munna Bhaiya in the second season of 'Mirzapur'.

'The only thing I can say about 'Mirzapur' is that we have completed shooting second season and it will premiere sometime early next year.'

'Kanpuriye', directed by Ashish Aryan, will launch on Friday on Hotstar VIP. PTI RB RB BK