Abhishek Banerjee, Paatal Lok’s Hathoda Tyagi, has come a long way from small roles in multiple films to becoming a household name with his latest outings. The actor, who rose to fame with roles in films such as Stree, Dream Girl and Bala, is happy with the success he has acquired on the digital platform owing to his work in Mirzapur and then Paatal Lok.

Abhishek loves the era of the OTT and wants to just act without thinking about the box office of the film. The actor once developed a fear of auditions after being rejected several times but now has more than half-a-dozen projects in his kitty.

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Abhishek opened up about his days of struggle, his confidence that kept him going and his views on the insider-outsider debate. He also shares why his mother is not interested in seeing any of his latest work. Excerpts:

Watch: Abhishek Banerjee on Paatal Lok, nepotism

Has your family watched Paatal Lok now?

No. My mom and wife have refused to watch it. I coaxed my wife to watch it but she is not changing her decision. My mom has been very, very angry ever since the trailer arrived; there is no scope of a dialogue there. She said after watching the trailer, ‘what are these dirty clothes that you are wearing’, she is basically angry because of that. She is angry with the makers, producers, costume department and everybody else that why did they make her son wear bad clothes. My father is the only one who watched it and he loved it, though he said ‘you have such few dialogues’. More than the violence, it’s the glamour issue. The family thinks that shooting means going to good locations and wearing good clothes. Here it is completely raw and different. She can’t comprehend that this is also showbiz.

What do you have to say about your transition from your comic role of Jana in Stree to Hathoda Tyagi in Paatal Lok?

If I am getting love for something, then that character becomes the most important one. I enjoy doing comedy and it helps me earn a living. Where there is drama and more hard work, it gives a different level of satisfaction because you know you have worked harder. Comedy is very close to me, I find humour in even the most serious situations in life, it comes easier to me. But when I do stuff like Mirzapur, they draw a lot of blood from me. I really like that tired look, it feels like a workout.

 

Have you ever faced a terrible experience during an audition?

Every time someone used to reject me in an audition, I used to think ‘it’s their loss bro’. I used to think of myself as a very good actor, always. That belief started shaking during my late 20s when I stopped giving auditions because I started getting scared of it. I was rejected so many times that I was scared to even enter the auditions. That was a trauma. I put on a lot of weight, stopped taking care of myself and was living a very different life till TVF Pitchers happened. That one scene from the show brought me so much love from the audience, that made me believe in myself again and I started the process of giving auditions again and doing short films. I told myself that I can’t give up and need to keep working at it and I did that.

You also have a brief appearance in Manoj Bajpayee’s Bhonsle which recently released online.

Bhonsle was shot before Stree. I just wanted to be on set, it was a learning experience for me. Manoj Bajpayee is such an institute as an actor. Someone who has been there in the industry for so many years, has proven his acting prowess, and a gentleman who gives his 200% — that teaches a lot to a youngster. I started understanding the process, dedication and commitment of senior actors. I am going to make my family watch the film. Oh! My mom is not going to watch it as I am again wearing bad clothes.

Also read: Neeraj Kabi says instead of arguing about nepotism ‘raise your talent’: ‘There is no way that you will be eliminated’

Tell us more about your upcoming films, Helmet and Aankh Micholi.

Helmet is a comedy film. Me and Aparshakti Khurana came together after Stree and had a great time. The film also stars Pranutan Behl and Ashish Verma, we all became very good friends. Producer Dino Morea used to come on his bike to the shoots and everyone would say, ‘why have you taken us, take him.’ It is an interesting film and has a social message.

Aankh Micholi is a family comedy film. Umesh Shukla is a very sincere director. This has an ensemble cast of Paresh Rawal, Divya Dutta, Sharman Joshi and many others. It’s going to be a mad, mad film.

Author tweets @ruchik87

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