Actor Jaideep Ahlawat is on a career high as his web show, Pataal Lok that released earlier this year, continues to garner him appreciation. Ask him how life has been post that show, and he laughs, “In the lockdown!”
On a more serious note, he adds, “I got a lot of love from people. Today, people make memes about my character Hathiram and share. Just recently, I got a message from a person claiming he has watched Pataal Lok for the 12th time, I was mesmerised. It has been a great experience, and it continues to be. I’m happy to have been a part of that.”
And the 40-year-old’s latest release is Khaali Peeli, which had to forego a theatrical release due to the Covid-19 shutdown of theatres. The actor says that the film was envisioned with the big screen in mind.
“I know the director, Maqbool Khan for some time; he’s very passionate about cinema and filmmaking. When he narrated the story to me, it had the feel of retro cinema. I knew Ishaan (Khatter) from before, I thought it would be a good combination. Maqbool has merged the retro with elements of today,” he gushes.
Ahlawat realises these are unprecedented times, and hence they couldn’t help but release it online. “These are difficult and different times. What matters is the essence of the story, which I am sure will reach to people on the small screen too,” he says.
The Raazi (2018) actor has managed to strike a good balance between both the web and films. Pataal Lok might have made him a known face, but he started his Bollywood career with Priyadarshan’s Aakrosh. A few films later, it was with Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) that people finally took notice. The film’s director Anurag Kashyap is currently mired in a controversy, with a female actor accusing him of sexual harassment.
When asked about the matter, Ahlawat says at this point, he won’t really like to say much about it. However, he does extend support to Kashyap and says, “I believe that he’s a very good director. He has given work to so many outsiders, without any laag lapet. Each and every actor of Gangs of Wasseypur got work, be it Manoj Bajpayee who was already a star, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Richa Chadha. The smallest of characters got work.”
While making it clear that he shouldn’t say anything since it’s a legal issue, he adds, “We’ll get to know the truth, it can’t remain hidden for long. He’s a strong man, I know personally that he is one of the most helpful people to anyone, especially outsiders in this industry.”