EXCLUSIVE: Paatal Lok's Jaideep Ahlawat talks about getting into the skin of Hathiram, Anushka Sharma & more

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with Jaideep Ahlawat, the 42-year-old actor got candid about his process of getting into the skin of his Paatal Lok character Hathiram Chaudhary, working with Anushka Sharma as a producer and more.
Jaideep Ahlawat was very appreciative of Anushka Sharma's production house during the shoot of Paatal Lok.
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The OTT platform is reigning supreme amidst the lockdown period as theatres have shut due to the coronavirus pandemic. Every week there's a web series galore to choose from with the recent outing being Paatal Lok. It's been almost a day since its release but fans have been going gaga over the dark tale which intermingles the police force with religion, politics and journalism. Paatal Lok is as gruesome as it's entertaining and you won't be able to stop binge-watching until the very suspense-driven end.

Leading the pack is Raazi star Jaideep Ahlawat, who plays the titular character, Hathiram Chaudhary. A police officer who is actually the good guy, Hathiram's world is turned upside down when he gets the case of a lifetime. But the case gets more controversial as more deadly players are added to the mix. In an EXCLUSIVE interview with Pinvkilla, Jaideep, who was extremely ecstatic over the release of Paatal Lok, spoke candidly about how the story was the true king in the web series.

Excerpts from Pinkvilla's interview with Jaideep Ahlawat on Paatal Lok below:

With a complex leading character like Hathiram Chaudhary, was the process undertaken to get into the skin of him different for you this time?

The process is the same, you get into the background. When the material written is very good then half of your work is done by the writer itself. When there's a well-defined character written, then the attempt is to be as honest to the material as possible. Then there were other things that I could do to make the character believable, like putting on weight, discussions on the relationships. Moreover, 'How is Hathiram as we see in the start and what's his background,' was more important. There was a discussion on that as well. Why he was so complex? In the process, you read it as many times as you can so that it comes more naturally.

One of the highlights of Paatal Lok is the mentor-mentee equation between Hathiram Chaudhary and Imran Ansari. How did you bring forward that onscreen equation with Ishwak Singh?

When I first met Ishwak, I didn't interact with him much. The equation had to grow during the shoot. Like in the series. Ansari's character is very new to the situation as he has just joined the police force. Hathiram also doesn't know him. Ansari gets to know more about Hathriam throughout the journey. We didn't discuss our background together. He did his own research and I did mine. That was a good thing. During the shoot, when our bond began, that became a key to the onscreen equation. We didn't have to discuss the background too much.

Given how Paatal Lok is an extremely dark tale, what is it that you want the audience to take back from the web series?

Even though it's dark, you will also find different aspects. There's romance and dark comedy which is in a different position. That involvement is in a very realistic approach as even in the worst of situations you might find something funny. Maybe it's not funny for the people who are in the situation but it looks funny from the outside. The audience, as a whole, will relate to the characters. For example, Hathiram's son Siddharth will have teenagers identifying with him. Everyone may find someone relatable on the show. The other situations are relatable as well. We live in a society like that where there is police, media, crimes, politics as well as personal life struggles. All that is there. It's a really nice combination.

What is your take on Anushka Sharma as a producer?

When I got on board, the project was finalised with Clean Slate Film (Anushka's production house) producing... The experience I have had with her team; as I did not have direct discussions with Anushka, one understands that how the team works is how the boss will be too. The team was ready to do anything. When you get creative liberty, it's amazing... There would be feedback every now and then regarding how good a scene was. It's an amazing production team.

You've spent more than a decade entertaining people through the entertainment field. How do you think content, in general, has progressed over 10 years?

We've all felt that in the recent few years content and stories are the most important. Many films are there which prove they are well received by the audience and have also worked really well at the box-office. The story was important in them. The characters were important. It doesn't matter who played it. Any actor could have played the role and it would still be a hit because the audience is connected to the story. There's a definite change especially in the past 3-4 years because through OTT platforms and worldwide entertainment, people are getting to see more content. Suddenly, they start to appreciate it. They think, 'this is also a way to tell a story!' This is going in the right way.

ALSO READ: Paatal Lok Review: It's a dog eat dog world in Jaideep Ahlawat & Neeraj Kabi's scrumptious investigative drama

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