The new season of popular web series Tripling launches today. Starring Sumeet Vyas, Maanvi Gagroo and Amol Parashar, the five-episode series has been helmed by Sameer Saxena. An original by The Viral Fever (TVF), the season also stars Shweta Tripathi, Gajraj Rao and Kubra Sait in pivotal roles.
At the screening of the series on Wednesday in Mumbai, Gajraj Rao sat down for an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com. Basking in the success of his last release Badhaai Ho, the 47-year-old spoke about working for the web, changing trends in content consumption and the appreciation that’s coming his way.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
What brings you to Tripling 2?
I have had a long association with TVF having worked earlier on Tech Conversation with Dad. Working on this medium with such shows really helps me connect with the millennial audience. So when it comes to TVF, there aren’t many question marks on any project. I really trust the team. Also, I was getting to work with Shweta Tripathi, who I really admire. I knew that this journey with Sumeet, Maanvi and Amol will be an interesting one.
Do you feel the web helps senior actors connect with the young audience?
Absolutely. And the most important thing is that one can experiment with characters and content on the web. There are no sleepless nights over Fridays in the medium. No one worries about the loss if the audience doesn’t come to watch it. And that has given courage to makers to work on different genres.
Give us an insight into your role in Tripling 2.
It’s a very quirky character. He is like a nawab and continues to live in the past world. He still has pet pigeons. Honestly, I don’t want to give any spoilers. All I can say is that you haven’t seen anything like this.
Has life changed post Badhaai Ho?
It has really become a lot more positive. Earlier when people used to click pictures with me, I would be awkward. I wouldn’t even know if they know who I am. But now there is so much warmth all around. It really inspires me to do more better work.
But do you feel the success and recognition came quite late?
I really believe in hard work and destiny. When God writes the screenplay of your life, you cannot do anything to change it. Things will happen when they have to, one has to just continue doing good work. I really have no regrets, neither am I sad that it came after 25 years. At least it did come, what if it did not even after 50 years?
Are you now conscious of your upcoming choices?
I am not taking any kind of pressure, only soaking in all the positivity and filtering out the rest (smiles). As for my next choices, just like Tripling, I also believe in embarking on a journey. I always want to know what’s the road ahead in a story, who are my co-passengers, pilot, writers and technicians. I even want to know which all stations would it have. I always choose a project based on all these factors.
Nobody would have thought that Badhaai Ho would do so well, even commercially. What do you feel has caused a change in the consumption of content among the audience?
It’s because there is now a large section of younger audience and even creators. It’s interesting to have youngsters half my age direct me. The generation is so sharp and intelligent. They are not stuck on their chairs. They have no apprehension and are not scared to attempt something out of the box. And that has really given a new boost to the kind of content that’s been made. I am really happy that out of the scripts that are coming my way, most of them are by young writers and creators. That’s really a positive change.
Recently, a debate was sparked after you won the Best Supporting Actor award while your co-star Neena Gupta took home the Best Actor award. As an artiste, do these things affect you?
Recently a 60-year-old couple came and hugged me at the Bangkok airport. Almost in tears, they told me how through my character, I have given them a reason to rejoice. Today, I have people at malls, airport coming up and heaping praise on me. Even when I step out to buy vegetables, I have fans greeting me. These are like my Oscar.
These titles of supporting, negative, comedy actor, etc don’t really affect me. Yes, you do feel slightly bad but it doesn’t create any bitterness in me. For me, being recognised for my work is more important. For 25 years, I haven’t even been nominated, so winning an award is a huge thing. I am getting to walk on the same red carpet as Amitabh Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal, Rekha or Hema Malini. I had Shah Rukh Khan hug and tell me how much he liked my work. That’s much more than awards for me.
What’s next for you?
Thankfully after Badhaai Ho, I am getting some good offers. But I am in no hurry. I want to choose the best roles ahead. Also, I am busy directing ad films. Honestly, I am in a happy space juggling between these jobs. I have also been working on a script. If it works out well, then I should announce my film in a year or two.
Tripling 2 is currently streaming on TVF and Sony LIV.