Jaideep Ahlawat makes pain very real, if not necessarily relatable. The exhaustion on his face in his characters always feels earned, be it Gangs of Wasseypur or Raazi or Paatal Lok. In his new film An Action Hero, he plays a mysterious man called Bhoora, who wants to wreck havoc in the life of superstar Manav, played by Ayushmann Khurrana. In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, Ahlawat talks about blurring the lines between black and white, hero and villain, working with Ayushmann Khurrana, and which are some of the questions he’s tired of answering during promotions and interviews.
What are some of the questions you’re tired of answering during promotions and interviews?
Very valid question. There are certain questions that get generic and you don’t enjoy answering them. Questions like ‘How was your experience doing the film?’ I feel little strange.
The one common factor that binds some of your projects like Gangs of Wasseypur, Paatal Lok, and now An Action Hero is how the creators and actors have blended intensity with humour. How do you amalgamate the two contrasting emotions?
I think that’s the job of an actor. You have to play the characters the way they have been written. That’s the whole beauty of playing such characters that the audiences think the actors have done all of it, but it’s the writers that have infused all the traits into those characters very beautifully. I like playing characters that have a lot of layers, it’s interesting to essay them.
Watching the trailer, it’s hard to decide or decode who’s the hero and who’s the villain. Do you enjoy being in such films where the audiences cannot predict right till the end who’s right and who’s wrong?
I never read my characters as heroes or villains, I only read them as characters; characters that have their own stories, logics, and reasons. And he’s the hero of his story, if the story is narrated from his point of view. I consider myself to be a hero whenever I play a character. You won’t be able to play that character unless you’re satisfied by its story and logic, why he does what he does. An Action Hero is written in such a way that it’s the story of two people that meet each other at a juncture of their lives. Both have their own backgrounds, lives, and thinking. I feel there’s no hero or villain in this film, it’s just the story of two people.
Whenever people talk about action heroes, they talk about Akshay Kumar, Tiger Shroff, Vidyut Jammwal. How convincing has Ayushmann Khurrana been as an action hero?
You watch the trailer and decide how convincing he has been. He’s brilliant in the film. Again, there’s a beautiful line in the film- ‘Action mera kaam hai, shauq nahin.’ This guy leads a dual life, once as an action star and the other as a normal human being. You won’t get to see this in any other film how an action star behaves in real life.
You’ve worked with Anurag Kashyap, Meghna Gulzar, and Priyadarshan. But when you work with a first-time director, how different the atmosphere is on the sets?
I’m already convinced that I’m working with a director who knows what he’s making. When you meet Anirudh and interact with him about cinema, his passion, you know you’re in safe hands. Throughout filming, I barely must have seen my shot on the monitor to know what I’ve done. 95% of the dialogues in the film are what the writer gave us. Anirudh may be making his debut as a director but he has seen the world of films for long, so we have to count that experience of his also. He’s very soft-spoken, understanding and loving. I had a great time working with him and I’ve already told him to narrate me his next film.
A lot of actors during their struggling days did films only for quenching their thirst for work. How was your approach like when you began your journey?
Almost the same, to get at least something so that people come to know about my work. Right now you’re sitting at home and nobody knows you’re an actor. Even today, I’m unable to say ‘Sir, I want to work with you.’ I don’t think I said to anyone that I’m an actor and give me an opportunity. I used to come to know about auditions, began making friends, people began knowing me. If I start getting work, I can say to directors that I’ve done something. The initial 3-4 years were like this. I knew I would be able to get work from my work, I was always this much confident. I would never disappoint them.
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