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Exclusive: Ajitesh Gupta on Dr Arora: Imtiaz Ali is known for his pathbreaking concepts and works

The actor talks about his preparation for the web series and Ghar Waapsi. 

Exclusive: Ajitesh Gupta on Dr Arora: Imtiaz Ali is known for his pathbreaking concepts and works
Ajitesh Gupta
  • Shamayita Chakraborty

Last Updated: 03.43 PM, Aug 15, 2022

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Ajitesh Gupta’s recent work in Imtiaz Ali’s OTT series Dr Arora and Ghar Waapsi received praise from the audience and critics. By the actor’s admission, it is his theatre training that helped him portray the characters on screen. While the shows on SonyLiv and Disney Hotstar received mixed to positive reviews, Ajitesh believes that the characters enriched him as an actor. In an interview, he talked about his work, training and more.

Dr Arora has received mixed reviews overall. What is your take on that?

Dr Arora is an ambitious project. A lot of hard work has gone into the making. More than reality, there is a lot of quark in it. Whenever there is an experiment, there is a risk. Imtiaz Ali is known for his pathbreaking concepts and works. In Dr Arora, we spoke about a sex doctor and I think we still need a little time to warm up to that idea.

Tell us about your character in Dr Arora…

In Dr Arora, I play a fierce SP. My character is an encounter master and a trigger-happy person. To the outer universe, there is heightened masculinity. However, at his home, he has effeminate qualities. He has a cute relationship with his wife. When he has premature ejaculation, it questions his masculinity. In his personal life, he has been bullied by the world. His uniform changes him. There is a contradiction. All the characters have certain contradictions in them.

In Ghar Wapsi, which was released during the same time, you play a completely different character…

Ghar Wapsi is a very sweet story. A small-town Indore boy goes to Bangalore for work. He loses his job and comes back to his neighbourhood. He doesn’t tell anyone and plans to go back soon after finding another job. I am Darshan – his childhood friend who has never left Indore. We all have a friend like Darshan, who stays back in town and is always there when you are back in your hometown. Darshan is very happy. He is not exposed to the world. My character plays a pivotal role. He questions the protagonist about his behaviour.

Tell us about the preparation of these characters…

I worked as SP Tomar in Dr Arora in October and in February, I worked as Darshan. The preparations were completely different. For Tomar, I did several workshops with the makers. All the scenes, build and background are meticulously explained and discussed. The character is completely different from mine. He speaks very fast so I kept practising the pace. I was completely restricted by the traits of SP Tomar.

In the case of Darshan, the creative producer of Ghar Wapsi Karthik Krishnan spotted me while I was performing a play, Jo Dooba So Paar. He called me and there was a test. In the character of Darshan, I enjoyed a lot of Freedom. In the process, I got a dialect coach to hone my Indori.

You have been an ardent theatre worker…

I owe everything to the theatre. In 2010, I came to Mumbai from UP to become an actor. I did not know anything. I learned from a bunch of very important theatre personalities. I worked closely with Manav Kaul, Sunil Shanbag and so on. Manav is my mentor. He shaped me. After working as small characters in films, I dived deep into learning the skills. SP Tomar in Dr Arora and Darshan in Ghar Wapsi are the results of that training. I am a trained Indian classical musician. That also helps.

You had your share of struggles in Mumbai. Please tell us how OTT helped the artistes.

OTT has increased the job opportunities, not only for the actors but also for directors, writers, and so on. The entire ecosystem of the film industry has changed due to OTT. Young people are writing. Characters are being written solely based on talent. In films, there is a compulsion of casting stars. On digital platforms, that is not needed.

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