Now a day’s story or the character plays the most important role rather than anything, whether it will be a film or a web original. The actor who has played ecstatic characters is the main attraction behind the success of good content. We found this intriguing same as when we saw Jaideep Ahlawat on-screen as Shahid Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur, Ak 47 in Commando: A One Man Army and many more.
He came into limelight in Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi as RAW official Khalid Mir. After spending almost twelve years in the industry, Jaideep Ahlawat is now there on Amazon Prime Video’s original Paatal Lok. His performance in this original is applauded everywhere. Ahlawat plays the role of a Delhi cop, who puts in charge of attempt to murder case of a TV anchor after being a failure in his life.
In a cosy conversation with us, the 40-year old opens a lot about his recently acclaimed venture Paatal Lok and so on.
Expresso: Much-awaited crime thriller Paatal Lok Finally released, I loved your character. I can’t remove my eyes off whenever you appeared on the screen…So How are you feeling?
Jaideep: Feeling very overwhelmed and good. Our team made this show with a lot of dedication, passion, and enthusiasm. Even the audience and the critics have really liked it and their reviews reflect the same. I hope that you liked the show too and make it reach to an even wider audience.
Expresso: Why do you say yes for Paatal Lok?
Jaideep: I could go on and on about why I said yes for Paatal Lok, but to mention some reasons; it is built upon a foundation of solid writing, it is very realistic, most importantly it is packed with touching emotions and one will easily be able to relate to it. The first time, I got the script with 2-3 episodes. I read it in the night and by the next morning, I still had my head wrapped around the intriguing story. It was as if all the characters had just absorbed me. The divide between the characters is clear in the beginning but as the story progresses it’s difficult to know what’s right or what’s wrong and it’s all in a grey area. The way characters interact with each other and deal with conflicts is also weaved with engrossing nuances. The approach to the writing of the story is just plainly breath-taking.
Expresso: What is the most difficult scene in this series?
Jaideep: I think the scene where my character of Haathiram Chaudhary tells Ansari what he feels about himself and what his wife and son think of him. I would not reveal all the details about it as I don’t want to give out spoilers but that scene was quite intense as it had a lot of emotions anchored to it.
Expresso: Your character is quite different please tell us something about it?
Jaideep: Hathiram Chaudhary is a policeman who is hustling with certain questions regarding his life and certain internal and external conflicts that many people in life struggle with and that is what makes him so relatable. From his personal relationships to problems at his work, he is fighting many obstacles to try and prove his worth. He is a vulnerable person who meets many intriguing people through his journey of self-discovery. All of these factors are what make Hathiram’s character so enticing and I am certain that his character will stay with me somewhere.
Expresso: Do you relate yourself with this character?
Jaideep: I think that everyone will relate to Hathiram or will come across a Hathiram in their lives. In fact, since the character is a cop in Delhi, Sudip had given me the opportunity to actually select the character’s origin so I gave him a Haranya one because I am from there and it was easier to step into the shoes of the character since it was very innate to me. As an actor and an artist, you soak up and absorb a lot of small shades and undertones from people and place it in your characters subtly, and since the character reminded me of my father I took up a lot of nuances from him, like Hathiram’s walk. Hathiram’s journey has deeply intrigued me. He is a very vulnerable character and relatable. I was never offered such a role of a man who is a failure in life and just wants to prove himself. It was a good change of pace for me to play someone with such a nice arc and so many different shades to his personality.
Expresso: What is the biggest thrill in Pataal Lok?
Jaideep: The biggest thrill when you watch the show is that it’s on you to decide how many sides are you able to see and how many sides are being shown to you. For example, the way that case was handed over to Hathiram, that wasn’t how it was in reality. So definitely there’ll be distinctive viewpoints and perceptions to the truth. My interpretation was that it is a journey where you won’t know what’s the truth and what’s a lie. So you’ll have to find that yourself.
Expresso: How did you groom yourself for this character?
Jaideep: I was around 85-87 kgs. Sudip sir told me to put on weight. Ultimately I touched 100 kgs. Hathiram’s character had to be someone who is not fit so that we can induce realism in the character. His struggles were essential to be exhibited with reality.
Expresso: There will be a different type of promotion due to this lockdown. So how difficult it is for you to promote Paatal lok virtually?
Jaideep: Yes the promotions went on very differently as after lockdown things have become different and it’s the new normal right now. So, of course, things did happen differently and more virtually but it was an experience in itself and honestly great fun. Somedays I did interviews for 8-9 hours a day and kept talking about Paatal Lok’s premise and the characters which was quite delightful and cherishable to do.
Expresso: Pataal Lok is Anushka Sharma’s first venture into web genre…how was your experience to interact with her on sets?
Jaideep: Anushka Sharma is quite remarkable as a producer. The experience I have had with her team; as I did not have direct discussions with Anushka, one understands that how the team works is how the boss will be too. The team was ready to do anything. When you get creative liberty, it was amazing. It’s visible through her team that she is really involved in perfecting the script including the minutest of the detail. She has a really creative mind and is really innovative. There would be feedback every now and then regarding how good a scene was. It’s an amazing production team. The production house focused a lot on the artistic aspect of the show and the script.
Expresso: You have played various characters so which is your favourite one?
Jaideep: The role of a RAW agent in the film Raazi was very memorable as I had a dream to join the Indian Army, a dream which unfortunately remained unfulfilled and that role came the closest to that. I think it will always have a place in my heart for that character as it was a related role to my dream.
Expresso: During your career span you’ve played a different type of character. But is there any specific character that you haven’t played yet?
Jaideep: I am looking for distinctive roles which require some hurdles to be crossed and boundaries to be broken. Something that challenges me. A big role that makes me thrive and flourish.
Expresso: How do you spend most of the time in this lockdown?
Jaideep: I don’t watch that much of TV as I am not used it… have been very busy with my work over the years so thankfully no habit now also to binge-watch. I may have just seen the TV for a day since the lockdown began. I do read a lot, stroll the internet to attain new knowledge and be updated about the happenings around me and watch some old shows classics may be. As an actor, it is useful to watch different actors’ work.