His first actioner has already seen Ali Fazal train with different guns. Mirzapur, which is being produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidwani, features the actor as a local don. Fazal’s Munna rules over the fictional town of Mirzapur, which is set in the desi heartland. The Karan Anshuman-directed show marks Fazal’s return to the digital platform after he won accolades for Bang Baaja Baarat. In an interview with mid-day, Fazal talk about returning to a platform that “bridges the world” and finding inspiration in his close one for the part.
Tell us about the show.
I guess you can call it a concoction of Narcos and The Godfather. It has a rural setting and explores what goes on in the underbelly of the Hindi heartland.
You perform a fair share of action in the show. What prompted you to take it up?
I’ve never performed action sequences of such intensity. In fact, when I’m in character, I can hardly recognise myself. The role is one that any artiste would aspire to play. I’ve tried to imbibe the qualities of a man that I’ve looked up to all my life for this outing. However, the role is only loosely based on him. We’ve already commenced filming for it in Benaras.
How have you prepared to get into character?
I need to have a grasp over the local dialects of Uttar Pradesh. The dialect changes from Bihar, Allahabad and Lucknow, and the nuances are different. I haven’t mastered it yet, but have learnt enough to do justice to my part. Also, I learnt how to shoot with different guns.
Your web show, Bang Baaja Baraat, was among the first to gain popularity online. Do you think it paved the way for other actors?
It did. And look at where the Internet has taken it now! The web world is bursting with great and unique content. The world is getting smaller, the stage, bigger. I can’t wait to bridge it all. So, I am happy to spearhead this show.
Has your approach to your craft changed after you acted with Judi Dench in your last film, Victoria & Abdul?
She taught me compassion and gratitude. If Judi still likes to call herself a working actor [at 85], then it’s time to revisit how we view our job. Every day is a new day, and one full day. Life is more than just, worrying about paying s**t off.
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