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Aspirants' Abhilash Thapliyal on losing his dad during the shoot: Everything becomes harder when you're going through such turmoil

OTTplay recently caught up with actor Abhilash Thapliyal, who plays Shwetketu Jha aka SK in the series, to know more about the finale and his experience working in the webseries.

By Sunidhi Prajapat | OTTplay
Apr 29, 2021
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After becoming a breakout success, The Viral Fever’s (TVF) Aspirants’ first season will be airing its final episode this Wednesday. The penultimate episode of the series that revolves around UPSC aspirants, have got the audience anxiously waiting to know what happens next in the three protagonists' lives and also the UPSC exam results. 

OTTplay recently caught up with actor Abhilash Thapliyal, who plays Shwetketu Jha aka SK in the series, to know more about the finale and his experience working in the webseries. 

How was it to work with the TVF team?

It was superb! We actually became the tripod (as the trio are referred to in the show) on the sets in terms of how we gelled while we were preparing for our characters. And thanks to Appu (Aspirants’ director Apoorv Singh Karki), everything became seamless during the shoot. Naveen Kasturia (who plays Abhilash) and Shivankit Singh Parihar (Guri) are really secure actors, which makes it much easier to work with them.

As for being the new member of the TVF family, I was a bit scared as I was not a familiar face like Naveen and Shivankit, which made me work harder for every scene including the eight-minute-long monologue in the first episode that I did in one take.

Why are so many TVF fans from across the country connecting more with your character SK?

I have read this comment so many times on the internet that 'everyone wants to have a friend like SK but no one wants to be SK’. I think the depth and genuineness I put in the character is what has made him relatable to fans.

Despite having roots in Uttarakhand, how did you manage to speak the Bihari dialect perfectly?

That’s because of my upbringing. Being an Army kid, I was born in Jammu and Kashmir and grew up in many cities from eastern and central India. So, I had friends from different regions including Bihar.

Even while I was studying at Delhi University, I had friends from Bihar. One of the reasons for my character being from that region is that the maximum number of aspirants comes from that state.

Abhilash Thapliyal's still from TVF's Aspirants

Was it difficult to work during the pandemic?

It definitely has been difficult because of the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. We started the shoot this year in January and wrapped up in the first week of March. Also, we were creating two parallel timelines and so had to ensure that the people in the background didn't have masks.

We also faced a delay for a few weeks when Naveen and Shivankit tested positive for COVID-19.

Also, my dad was undergoing cancer treatment and during our schedule, I lost him. So, when you are going through such turmoil, the situation becomes even tougher.

Abhilash Thapliyal's still from TVF's Aspirants

Your first film was Dil Junglee alongside Taapsee Pannu and Saqib Saleem, how was it to work with them?

It was amazing. Despite being such a huge actor, Taapsee is so down to earth and inspiring. She and Saqib helped me a lot during the shoot and also taught me about camera angles. As people, both of them are still the same as they were back then. They’ve also been really supportive to me personally during my tough times.

During your RJ days, you also got a chance to work with Irrfan. Tell us about that experience?

I remember we prank called one of his fans and it was hilarious. We also did a sketch together and his eagerness to understand the character he was playing was remarkable. He was so much fun and pranking everyone all the time, which made it a delightful experience. There is still so much to learn from his work. It feels like he is still here with us all. He’s remarkable and truly exceptional.

The final episode is about to drop this Wednesday. So, is Abhilash going to attend Dhairya and Guri’s wedding, and will the former Rajinder Nagar couple face each other after several years?

Well! I can’t tell you who’s going to attend the wedding and who’s not, but somebody will get married and SK will be there with garlands at the entrance.

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