Mirzapur, starring Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Vikrant Massey and Divyendu Sharma, has been garnering a mixed response from the audience. But what has left the world amazed is the stellar performance of the power-packed cast. Recently at the launch of the show, Ali sat down for an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com about this project.
Opening up about the series, Ali said, “There are a lot of stories in it and maybe that’s why we couldn’t make a film out of it. It’s a nine-part series with a really exciting storyline. It basically delves into the lives of two brothers and their rise in Mirzapur. It is a completely fictional world with a nexus of gangsters, carpet making industry and some really bad things. But then that’s the way of the world.”
The actor worked on giving his character a distinct look and feel. When asked if it was a tough task, he said, “It has been quite a journey. It must have been challenging for all of us, maybe except Pankaj Tripathi (laughs). I know it would be a surprise for many to see me in this role. And I don’t mind saying, but I wouldn’t have cast me for this keeping in mind my roles in the past. But all thanks to Amazon and Excel for getting me on board. I am hungry for such challenges. And personally, I Iove working with accents. Mirzapur has a very relatability factor and as actors, we have also tried to keep it as real as possible. While many would assume it to be just a gangster series, it has no larger than life scenes and is very close to real life.”
The 32-year-old further added, “It has been indeed quite a transformation. But my victory was in finding a mental transformation. To be honest, I was one of the last actors to get signed and I hadn’t gotten any time to prepare. I was also busy promoting Victoria and Abdul. I will confess, on the first day, my body was not fully ready as I would have wanted. So I hacked the crutch to make Guddu intimidating and everyone loved it. To be honest, it was my insecurity. I did not want people to feel I was incompetent and was on the shoot without any preparation. So it was a great thing that I got to use my fears to my advantage.”
Speaking about his chemistry with his co-actor Vikrant Massey, he said, “While filming, we really spent a lot of time together. But it was not to form a chemistry, for we instantly bonded. We are quite like-minded people and also have the same beliefs. I really feel that my job becomes easier when I have a good co-actor opposite me. When you start competing, you only mess it all up. Actors have to be selfless to work better. And we really had so much fun together.”
With his Hollywood film getting acclaim from all quarters, we asked if he feels Mirzapur will also find a global audience. “Totally! I think it was one of the reasons why I was so interested in this. I knew it’s going to latch on to a lot of people. Firstly, it’s really good quality and is really rooted. Anything local gets an instant connect with anyone. Because the local language and society are the same everywhere. There is an emotional connect,” Ali concluded.
Bankrolled by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment, Mirzapur is created by Karan Anshuman and Puneet Krishna and directed by Gurmmeet Singh. The first season is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video and also stars Rasika Duggal, Harshita Gaur, Shriya Pilgaonkar and Shweta Tripathi.