Sometimes, it is difficult to introduce some people. Amol Parashar is one of them. The actor might not be the most familiar face in the industry today but he is slowly and steadily making his presence felt. In ‘Traffic’, an upcoming film which release this April 29th, Amol will be sharing screen space with actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Shergill and Parambrata Chatterjee.
How excited are you for your next film ‘Traffic’?
Of course, I am very excited. We shot the film a while back and have been waiting for the release. It is an interesting film and deserves to be seen by the audience. FoxStar has announced that the film will be releasing on ‘April 29’ this year. The only sad part is that we lost our director ‘Rajesh Pillai’ recently to serious illness. I just wish he was around to see his film see the light of day.
Tell us about your role in the film.
‘Traffic’ is a remake of a Malayalam film with the same name. It was a landmark in Malayalam cinema when it released and did well, both critically and commercially. There are 5 lives which get connected to each other due to one incident. Mine is one of those stories. The overall theme revolves around organ donation. An organ has to be transported from one place to the other and different people get involved voluntarily or involuntarily and try to make the mission a success.
What was it like, working with Manoj Bajpayee? Please share your experience.
The first time I met Manoj Sir was on my first day of shoot with him for the film. Initially, I was nervous. He is a senior actor and I have grown up seeing his stellar performances. It was surreal to finally be working alongside him. Maybe because he has played such intense characters in his career, I was carrying that subconscious image with me. It was a pleasant surprise to realize that he is an extremely chilled out person. In fact, he is very funny and it was a riot working with him. We had great fun while shooting the film.
Was there something you picked up from him?
When you work with someone as experienced as Manoj Bajpayee, you tend to observe a lot of things subconsciously. In the first couple of days, I used to get really stressed before any shot about what I was going to do. It was amazing to see him be so chilled out, but as soon as the camera was on, he was at his intense best. That switch was amazing. I realized that he had prepared so well for the part, knew his character so well, that he could slip in and out of it with ease. That’s the same advice he gave me. He taught me to believe in my own craft, and let go. That’s the only way you can give your best.
I got involved with theatre during IIT days.Post college, I worked in a corporate job for a year. I started missing theatre and flirted with the thought of pursuing it full time. At that time, it was not a long term plan. I just wanted to do it for maybe a year, satiate my urge, and then decide.
I quit my job and came to Mumbai and started meeting people and started working in plays. I would tag along with people going to ads/films auditions. I discovered camera acting slowly. Then I got Rocket Singh: Salesman of the year.
It is a highly respected film, and I am glad I got to be part of such a project at that early age. It was followed by many TV advertisement offers. Now, I divide my time between Theatre and Ads and Writing, and wait for the right films to come along. Traffic came along, and irrespective of how it does commercially, I believe this is a project that I will be proud of associating myself with.
Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
The magic of this profession is such that you don’t even know where you might be five days down the line. I don’t really know where I will be in five years. I might be in the same place, waiting for the right kind of work, or a film might come along that might change the course of my career, or I might already have become big and faded into oblivion in 5 years.
It’s a long time. Anything can happen. What I want to do is improve and give my best each and every day. The fun thing about this profession is that a big opportunity is just around the corner. You might just be a call away from the role of your life.
Are you willing to do any web series?
Yes, it is opening up as a very interesting medium for actors. In fact, you might see me in one web series later this year. I cannot tell you much about it but I am looking forward to it eagerly. I have read the script and it’s hilarious. The preparations have already started.
Both of these art forms are different and they have different challenges. I believe it is not fair to compare the two. Theatre has its own challenges. You are live on stage, you interact directly with the audience. Whatever happens, happens in the moment, there are no retakes.
In front of a camera, the real challenge is to be switched on for 12 to 14 hours at stretch on demand. You begin shooting at 8 in the morning sometimes and end up by 12 in the night. That drains you.
You need to deliver throughout. That requires a lot of conviction. Personally, stage has given me the confidence and a platform to hone my skills. You get the space to improve yourself. You get more time to rehearse your scenes. This is not always the case in films. Theatre helps me to do well in front of the camera.
As a beginner in Mumbai, what was the one most easy and most difficult thing you faced?
The best thing about Mumbai is that it gives you a lot of space, not physically but emotionally. You can be who you want to be, you can do what you want to do, and the city will take you in and make you feel like its own irrespective. The city doesn’t judge you, or your aspirations. That can be very liberating.
On the flipside, it is an expensive city, and whatever you earn is not enough. To use the same thing positively, you are always being pushed to do better and do more. It doesn’t let you ‘settle’. Personally, that works for me.
An actor you are a die-hard fan of?
There is no particular actor as such. There are certain performances that I have seen on stage and in films over the years that have stayed with me. These are performances that motivate and inspire you and show you what all is possible. I have had the opportunity to work with a few great actors in my short career and have learned a lot from them.
I am also inspired by the actors around me that people might not know of yet. I have some really talented friends, who are waiting for the world to discover their talent. They might be anonymous right now to the larger world, but they have great conviction and dedication towards their craft which is very inspiring.
Interview By: Shubham Pandey