Abhilash Thapliyal on working with Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari in ‘Faadu’: She is one of the calmest directors of them all – Times of India

After proving his mettle as an actor in the critically acclaimed series, ‘Aspirants’, Abhilash Thapliyal is slowly but gradually making his way up the success ladder. While he has a line-up of some very interesting projects up his sleeve, he will next be seen in Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s upcoming series, ‘Faadu’. Ahead of its release on December 9, ETimes got in touch with the actor for a freewheeling chat where he opened up about working with the ace director, his bond with co-stars Saiyami Kher and Pavail Gulati and more. Excerpts…

How did you come on board for ‘Faadu’?
For an actor like me, I still have to give auditions. Roles don’t come to me that easily. I was told about the character, the film and the director. All of this got me very excited. That’s how I came on board for ‘Faadu’.

Tell us something about the web series and your character in it.
‘Faadu’ is a love story but not the usual cool one. In fact, this one is a very ‘faadu’ love story. When I heard about the story, I thought ‘aisi kahani pehle kyu nahi aayi’. I play the character of Roxy who is a drunkard. He lives in the slums and is very shabby looking as you must have seen posters. He is very different from the way Abhilash is. It is not only about how he looks but also about how he thinks and how he perceives life. I had fun playing Roxy and I can’t wait for the audience to watch it on screen.

How was it working with Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari?
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari is one of the calmest directors of them all. It was amazing working with her. She gives so much freedom to the actors. Even while performing you bring in your nuances, you discuss what you think. She has a vision about the character but is very open about our ideas and thoughts. and that’s what gives an actor the freedom to introduce his thoughts behind the character. It was really nice working with her.

How was the aura on the sets of the film while shooting? Did you bond with Saiyami and Pavail?
The vibe of the set was really amazing. We faced a little problem because the slum area was a new environment for all the actors. So it took us a while to get acquainted with that. It was a 20-25 days shoot. I knew Pavail from before but I became friends with Saiyami during the shoot. They both are amazing actors. For an untrained actor like me, I really need such strong actors. I usually react and not act. Most of my scenes are with Pavail and Saiyami. While most believe that their co-stars become their friends, I think the actual friendship happens when you start hanging out outside of work. It has been one year now and we meet up every week or two. I believe that we are really thick friends now. We discuss things, work, people and a lot of stuff. I have gained two very good friends out of this project.

Are there any interesting or funny anecdotes from the sets that you would like to share?
The very first day when I became Roxy, I put on the make up and costume. As we couldn’t park vanity vans inside the slum area, it was stationed outside. As soon as I entered the set, our crew thought some drunkard had entered the set. They started shooting me out of the set. I had to tell them it was me. That was the moment we realised we had cracked Roxy.

Ashwiny has few but impactful films to her credit. Which of her earlier works do you admire the most?
I am in love with Ashwiny ma’am’s ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi!’. The characters and the way the film has been written, it has to be my most favourite work of Ashwiny ma’am.

You have been working with some ace directors like Navdeep Singh, Amit Sharma and now Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari. How has your experience been?
In the last couple of days, more names have been added to the list. You will come to know about them really soon. I am just lucky that I got an opportunity to work with such nice storytellers. The finest storytellers of this country. When you know that your director is such a prolific storyteller, you just surrender yourself and that’s what happened with me. A Delhi guy who knew nothing about the film industry, to have Navdeep Singh, Amit Sharma and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s number on his phone and to be able to talk to them whenever I want, it’s a beautiful feeling.

You shot for the major part of the series in slums. What were the challenges you faced?
Whenever we pass a slum area, we all subconsciously cover our faces. We avoid smelling that air. We want to get out of that area. To literally live there for 25 days, you just can’t do that. You start accepting and seeing life in a different way. The only challenges I faced were the challenges that I created with my perception of the slum. It was shattered by the end of the shoot. I think I see more life, more grit, more power in the slums now. My character helped me become a part of that world. Mostly, it helped me accept the lives that bloom in the slums.

Tell us something about your upcoming projects.
There are a couple of some amazing projects; some I can talk about, some I cannot. There is ‘Maidaan’. I have used my radio skills for my character in the film. Then there is Navdeep Singh’s ‘Shehar Lakhot’ which is very interesting. I got to play a fun and grey character in the film. There are three more projects I cannot talk about right now.

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