In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Batti Gul Meter Chalu actor Divyendu Sharma talks about how he was wary of doing the same kind of roles after playing his famous character Liquid from Pyaar Ka Punchnama. He will be next seen in Amazon Prime Videos’ Mirzapur.
Q. How satisfied are you with the way your career graph is going?
I am right now at a pretty happy place. When I had started, obviously Pyaar Ka Punchnama had given me a very good start. It got me awards, accolades, everything. But, with it came the same kind of roles and characters, that too in comedy. My focus has always been on showing different sides of me as an actor. So, I was a little concerned about the fact that I shouldn’t be slotted as a comedy actor, which was why I was not very keen on signing every film that came my way. I didn’t want to milk the publicity that I garnered from my first film.
With Batti Gul Meter Chalu, and my next project Mirzapur, I can safely say that I am in a place where I am doing different kinds of roles.
Q. When did this realisation strike you? When did you become so calculative about the kind of films you want to be a part of?
Since the very beginning actually. After Punchnama, when I started getting calls, I was very happy that I was received so well. But then at the same time, I was offered the same kind of roles. So I was okay with doing comedy, but it was very important for me to do other stuff as well. I didn’t want to only be a part of hit franchises. It was very important for me to be satisfied as an actor, as an artiste, and that comes only if you do roles that challenge you as an actor.
Q. You are playing a supporting role in Batti Gul Meter Chalu, but the film’s story actually revolves around what happens to your character Sundar Mohan Tripathi. How open are you to playing supporting roles, and for how long?
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was the first film where I played the so-called “supportive” role. Otherwise I was always playing the parallel lead. I decided, as an actor, if I like the character in the story, then I’ll do it. So, that’s my bottom line now, to not get stuck in these tags of whether you are the first lead, parallel lead, supporting role, or whatever. Things have opened up a lot now. Every role is important in the stories that we are telling because writers are giving flesh to every character. And the audience is also demanding such wholesome stories now.
Q. How open are you to new platforms?
For someone like me, who comes from a film school like FTII, we are always on the lookout for new platforms. Because at the end of the day, as an actor, you are only looking out for great stories, and the characters that you really want to play. These days, all the good work globally is happening on the web. Web is a platform which gives you ample time to tell your stories, more time to establish your characters and stories. It is more detailed. It is an interesting platform, and people are being brave here. They don’t have to play safe in terms of box-office numbers and marketing. Web, as a platform, demands very high merit, because at the end of the day, Game of Thrones, Fargo, True Detective are all on the same platform. Every other show is just one click away from your show. So will you be able to hold your audience? It puts much more responsibility on us as artistes to really be out there and give our best. In the end, it doesn’t matter what platform you are working on, but the stories you want to be a part of.