Abhishek Banerjee is the man of the hour. The actor has garnered immense applause for his portrayal of the character 'Hathoda Tyagi', in Amazon Prime Video's web series Paatal Lok. And now he is basking on the glory of fame.
The talented actor and casting director of Casting Bay have no qualms in casting for the series in which he is part of. The actor is ruling the webspace with yet another web show Kaali 2 where he is donning a dark character yet again.
In an exclusive conversation with International Business Times India, Abhishek Banerjee spoke in length about challenges he faced while essaying the role of Hatoda Tyagi, how is he handling the controversies surrounding Paalak Lok, his role in Kaali 2 and why his mom doesn't watch his dark shows.
Excerpts from the interview:
On how he bagged the role
I got a call from Sudip Sharma, he wanted me to do this role. somehow he saw vasishi (demon) one me. I don't know it's a compliment or insult. but this is how my journey on Paatal Lok began.
Challenges he faced while essaying the role
Hathoda Tyagi / Vishal Tyagi there are so many more like him. I just didn't want to the character, I wanted to live the role, understand his mindset what he is going through. My first thought when I decided to do the character, I wanted to personify the criminal mind and the state they are born.
How Vishal Tyagi he reached a point where he commits the gruesome crime. Very easily you can say they are cynical, but I wanted to know where does that cynicism come from where does the rage come from, it comes from society. When you reject a human being there are a lot many things that go inside his mind.
Not every individual gets it equally or we are too busy in our lives to let it be. I didn't only personify the criminal mind and the state they are born in. My process began with an understanding of crime. I was connected to vishal Tyagi, I connected with his emptiness nothingness, he was beyond revenge, byond rage and it made me emotional, every time I used to think of a situation.
I used to break down during and before the shoot. I used to talk so less on the set. The silence made me understand him better. I would sit by myself. I wanted to be him. It was a very tough character. And I didn't want to do any other way, else would have looked like any other serial killer. For me his reactions he was satisfied at the moment when people were interrogating there, not worried about the outcome that taught me, the stillness. Everything else became a by-product. It was a very internal journey.
On Paatal Lok focussing on gruesome corruption
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Paatal Lok, it talks about society, how does crime exist in society. Its is beyond the crime and it is beyond the stories lot of things mixed together. I think there is corruption in all the loks. When you are doing for your own good, the is corruption is in all forms of society and people are dealing with it.
On being accused of taking up actors role as a casting director
I don't know how to deal with it, I did my research, Gufi Paintal he was the casting director in Mahabharata and also acted in it. Writers are becoming actors, actors are becoming directors and writers so I always thought of it as a creative association of a like-minded people.
On controversies surrounding Paatal Lok
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I have always believed that questioning should be there but rather than bringing it up when something is becoming successful it should be brought up when no one is talking about it, that is what dialogue's all about. Why do we question things after they are successful and then try to bring it down rather than celebrate a project? Bring out the issues so that we have clear dialogue and we work towards a better system, also we also have a responsibility towards people as they are the audience they are the ones who are watching.
On Anushka Sharma's involvement in Paatal Lok
She doesn't interfere, she does exactly what a good producer does she supports. she has given a freehand always. i have worked with her in Philluri,Pari, Paatal Lok and she is a marvellous person. Clean Slate Production has been very good and helpful always.
On Casting Bay his agency handling monetary issues
We are dealing with 80 per cent cut, online auditions are happening, it would happen earlier too. The actors are doing Self-test, like before the outstation actors would give online auditions. We have donated, we are paying minimum wage workers their full salary.
On his casting agency growing giving a platform to one and all
When we began we were only casting for feature films, we were the first ones to cast for web, at that time TVF viral fever was the first production house to start with web and now we cast for web, TVC, films and short film.
On his yet another dark role in Kaali 2
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Watch Abhishek Banerjee as Jin Liang, a drug lord who will leave no stone unturned to reach his goal. #Kaali2 premiering on 29th May, only on #ZEE5. #UnleashTheKaaliWithin #KaaliSeason2 @paoli_dam @iamroysanyal @nowitsabhi @vidyamalavade @rahularunodaybanerjee @rohan_ghose @aritsen07 @parambratachattopadhyay @ig_roadshowfilmsofficial
In Paatal Lok, I wasn't speaking any line. In Kaali 2 I'm a storyteller, he is very dangerous here, a maniac, he is dangerous and doesn't need a particular weapon to kill anyone. It's in two languages Bengali and Hindi. I am glad it is releasing in Bengali. My parents wanted to me do something in Bengali.
Parents reactions to the dark role
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So my mom didn't watch it, she doesn't like me in dark roles. She is worried about seeing me in such roles. My dad hasn't given any reaction he has watched four sides of the Paatal Lok.
On doing any other genre dark show.
It's a coincidence both my dark shows Kaali 2 and Paatal Lok released back to back. My next two releases are comedy one is Helmet which is an out and out comedy while the other one is Ankh Mein Choli.
Is OTT the future?
OTT is the future, people are used to sitting at home, watching shows on big screens and small screen, enjoying the variety of content. It will be tough, once the theatres open, people will be more thoughtful in buying tickets, they will get bored easily, they need a lot of content. I would like to say, maintain sanctity, films will always survive, there is no better thing than sitting in a big hall and watching films on a big screen. OTT and cinema both will co-exist.