Mirzapur actors Shweta Tripathi and Ali Fazal get candid with Chahak Mittal about their roles.
Sailing on a giant cruise ship with arms open in the air, the breeze passing through the hair, running around in an open field or just dreaming about a prince on a white horse… all these have been a part of the fantastical world that the Hindi film industry has given to many young women.
Actor Shweta Tripathi, who has become one of the prominent names in the industry, had also dreamt of running around in an open field wearing a yellow suit while its dupatta flew in the air. She said, “I didn’t know about anything like Indie cinema, parallel cinema, or even the content of the films. I just knew that I wanted to be an actress and be on the stage, or in front of the camera.”
The actress, who made her acting debut with TV show, Kya Mast Hai Life, shared that she has come a long way since her role of Zenia Khan, a geek but full-of-life and ever-excited college student, to today’s Golu Gupta in Mirzapur.
“It was a very hyperactive kind of a role where I would crib about food or other petty little things. If I look at that, I would say that I have come a really long way,” she says.
It was all because of working under various directors that she understood the subtlety of roles and acting. “I realised that there was a lot more to acting and cinema than just being romantic or happy or running around with excitement. I explored the other side of being an actress.”
Films like Masaan, Haraamkhor, Trishna star Shweta in some unconventional roles compared to the ideal of of someone glamourous, who is supposed to support an actor’s heroic image. Her roles rather take centre stage with a fierce approach. How?
She says that it works both ways. “It’s not like you choose scripts rather sometimes they choose you. I had also auditioned for Fukrey once, but didn’t quite like the role. Not like I didn’t want to do any commercial films but somehow all the scripts that I was getting, I didn’t want to do those.”
And then, “Haraamkhor, Masaan, and Mirzapur really excited me. And that’s how I chose them.” If the scripts “excite” her, she would definitely take it up.
Actor Ali Fazal’s story is also quite similar. He talks about his role, Guddu Pandit, the kid who has grown up watching his lower middle class family and aspired to be like them. “The family has always wanted their kid to be a ‘hero.’ Even his aspirations’ length is as short as transitioning from having a bicycle to having a Luna (scooty),” he says. If there is a problem with the cycle and he finds a jeep nearby, he would be excited to see that and only think of having it and “looking like a hero” when his hair would flow in the open jeep.
“Hum banayenge Mirzapur ko Amrika (We’ll transform Mirzapur into America.),” says Guddu Pandit aka Ali Fazal of Mirzapur. That is how Ali’s role adds various shades of red to the show’s palette, where even though it is the 21st century “his aspirations are full of innocence and non-materialistic.”
Shweta finds his role “endearing” as even though “he appears to be the Hulk or Thor, he is very simple in his own world.” She says, “If you look at Fukrey’s chocolate boy and 3 Idiots’s sweet Joy to today’s Guddu Pandit, it is a treat.”
Among the huge star cast of the show is Pankaj Tripathi, Sheeba Chaddha, Rasika Dugal, Vikrant Massey, Divyendu Sharma, and Shriya Pilgaonkar. Ali was the last one to enter the stage. And, this last minute entry has a unique run-and-return story that Ali tells us.
“I had put my feet in the West, and then I was back here when I got Mirzapur. I was stuck when I read the script. But that wasn’t the part offered to me and I made an excuse to escape from it. But after a few days, the role of Guddu Pandit came to me and I immediately agreed,” laughs Ali.
He believes that the heart does stick to something and there are certain roles that “don’t leave you” until you make them happen.
While the actor had also prepared for a role in his forthcoming, Milan Talkies, he says, “I did eat a lot. It took a lot of patience as I had to shed around 10 kg weight for the role.”
While Shweta’s role of Golu, a young nerd, is a very tender and mild one. Ali describes it as “A Tom Hanks film — slow yet beautiful.” They both agree that there is a Golu in every girl as “she is the one living in this world of misogyny just like we have been since ages, but there’s more to her today, much more fierce and ahead of time,” says Ali.
Her apparent masturbation scene in the show has become the talk of the town and she feels that it is not anything that is “unusual” or even “bold,” rather something that is real and “was hidden for a long time. Now through such scenes, the quietness around it will seem unusual. It should be normal. It’s not just a scene, rather a reality. Men do it, women do it as well.”
Photo: Pankaj Kumar
Writer: Chahak Mittal
Courtesy: The pioneer