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This is the darkest character I've ever played: Abhishek Banerjee on role in 'Apurva'

New Delhi: In Paatal Lok, his character’s weapon of choice was a hammer and in the upcoming film Apurva, actor Abhishek Banerjee says it’s his mindset.

Banerjee, who plays one of the antagonists in the survival thriller fronted by Tara Sutaria, said audiences will see him in his ‘darkest’ avatar till date.

Directed by Nikhil Nagesh Bhat, Apurva is the story of an ordinary woman who faces extraordinary circumstances and will do anything to survive. The film also features Rajpal Yadav and Dhairya Karwa.

“I don’t see any grey in this particular character. Hathoda Tyagi had a hathoda (hammer) as his weapon, in Apurva, his weapon is his mindset. To break that kind of thought process is the main motive of the film. That kind of thought process is very dangerous for our society.

“When you talk about a character like Vishal Tyagi, there are socio-economic, socio-political circumstances. This character you don’t really blame anything but yourself (the character). To make yourself comfortable with that is a bigger challenge. That way this is the darkest character I’ve ever played,” Banerjee told PTI.

The actor, also known for his comedic work in films such as Stree, Bhediya and Bala, is a well-known casting director. He has cast for movies such as The Dirty Picture and No One Killed Jessica.

As someone who has roots in theatre, Banerjee said he wouldn’t have been able to do screen acting if not for his experience as a casting director.

“If I was not a casting director, I would not have become a camera actor. Theatre acting is different. When you are performing in front of a big audience, your body gestures, your voice, facial expressions… It’s a different medium altogether.”

“But camera acting is about being in the moment and it’s also about performing for that one pair of eyes in the audience. It’s more intimate. Audition rooms can be really intimidating to a lot of people and it’s also very intimate because there is one person with a camera and one actor,” he added.

In his struggling days as an actor, the 38-year-old recalled he used to be the one who would always give the cues or hold the camera for the auditioning talent.

“I used to love giving cues because that would brush up my acting skills. While performing with other actors, I would learn a thing or two about camera acting. Some of them are amazing. For example, Jaideep Ahlawat has been one of my favourite actors since my audition days,” he said.

Auditions are a great training ground for aspiring actors, added Banerjee.

“Every time I used to audition, I would learn so much. I feel I still have that advantage. I understand directors very well because I’ve worked with them on characters. So when I read a character, the first thing that runs through my head is that the director is thinking about this character in this way, that’s the tone.”

“Sometimes, when we discuss, I talk to them, probably that helps me understand the character more. It’s a big advantage while working for so many years in the casting department,” he said.

Apurva will start streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from November 15.

(Published 12 November 2023, 10:54 IST)

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