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Exclusive! The Broken News actor Jaideep Ahlawat: Happy that directors and makers are looking differently towards me as an actor

Jaideep will be seen next in Devotion of Suspect X and Paatal Lok Season 2. 

  • Devki Nehra

Last Updated: 07.56 AM, Jun 24, 2022

Exclusive! The Broken News actor Jaideep Ahlawat: Happy that directors and makers are looking differently towards me as an actor

Image via Twitter

Jaideep Ahlawat is not an actor you easily forget, especially after he impressed a global audience as Delhi cop Hathiram Choudhary in Paatal Lok. He was recently seen in ZEE5 series The Broken News, with Sonali Bendre in her digital debut. The two play characters who are polar opposites — Jaideep's Deepankar Sanyal treats prime-time news as reality TV while Ameena Qureshi is more in tune with her journalistic ethics. However, Jaideep said the show is much more than that just their clash of ideologies. 

He also spoke with OTTplay about how the rise of OTTs in India has broadened the scope of opportunities not just for actors like him but also for writers, directors and creators. We agree with him, streamers have increased the risk-taking streak in creatives who no longer have to worry about the box office performance of their movies or shows. Jaideep also shared his desire to collaborate with Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan. Read on to know more: 

The Broken News is an adaptation of the BBC show, Press. Did you watch it before jumping into your role and the story?

No, because I personally think there is no need to do that. You are making an adaptation for Indian society and Indian media. So, there's no point watching their (the UK) version of media. So, I deliberately don't do that (Consume the source material). If anything (like this) comes my way for any film or character, I don't watch it because I believe it will mislead my interpretation of the character and story.

So why did you choose to take up the role? Deepankar Sanyal is a crooked TV journalist who is so ideologically different from Sonali Bendre’s Amina. What attracted you to this story and the role?

I think shades of the character and his relationships, the politics bohot achhe se likhe gaye thhe (were written really well). The concept of media in itself is also very interesting and that genre is very interesting to work on. And I have never done anything like this before - being a media guy. We are in the era of information and media and technology. So this was very new to me. Also, my character is not simple, Dipankar Sanyal is not just a guy who is hungry for TRP. The show also shows his personal life also which is multi-layered with the profession he has.

Also read — The Broken News review: Sonali Bendre, Jaideep Ahlawat and Shriya Pilgaonkar present a gripping tale of media war 

Is it more fun to play a baddie as compared to a nice guy?

I don't think so. I personally feel each character is different. It can be really boring to play a baddie if the character is badly written. It can be really boring to play a good guy if it's written badly. I don't I don't like the one layered, because that's the key. I think, whether it's a good guy or bad guy, it has to be a little layered, as we all are. So that's what I think makes it interesting.

That's true. Also, you worked extensively in thrillers and you've also been a part of a lot of dark and gritty stories – Broken News is one and then there is Devotion of Suspect X. Do you instantly get attracted to the genre?

I think thrill is something which every human being that attracted to because it makes you it makes life edgy, and you feel alive during that time. It's like riding a roller coaster, you know, it's scary. It's fun at the same time, but it's scary because in those moments you feel alive.

And after working on the show, which is very timely and relevant, as a consumer of news has the definition of news changed for you?

I think the definition of news has been changed for everyone in these past few years or maybe jabse media ka humari life mei bohot bada yogdaan hone wala (or since media has began taking up more space in our lives) - whether it’s through news channels or social media. When news reaches us, we all have our own interpretation of it. News doesn’t just remain news. Like Deepankar Sanyal says, the news is about storytelling. Now people are consuming news like stories. It’s not like back in the day on DD News when papa used to sit and watch it. It was boring for all of us. At that age anyway news is boring. The newsreaders and the interviews were all done in a monotonous way but that was the right way, I feel. You were told the news without any emotion attached to it. Wo aapko plain khabar dete hain ki yeh ho raha hai (They gave you facts). Emotion ke tehet news nahi batayi ja rahi hai (Emotional was not the focal factor).

And what do you hope that the audience will take away from the show?

I think learning is a process. When you are aware throughout your day throughout your life. It’s not about one show, I think learning is very, very subjective. Everyone sees things from their perspective. I believe that by seeing things from a completely objective point of view, you understand things better. You don’t need to personalise everything because that takes different perceptions away from you. I believe that when you watch shows like Broken News objectively, then you start understanding things, and things are put into perspective. You will understand why someone thinks a certain way, or does a certain thing. Being an artist, an actor or a painter or a writer, they understand that even if they don’t practice them but they understand different opinions and perceptions of life. Show ko dekh kar yeh bohot achhe se samaj ayega (This will be clear once you watch the show).

You take a step back and you see what's happening.

Don't follow them blindly. Don't follow anyone blindly.

So you’ve also been in the movies for a while. And I think you really blew up after Raazi and then Pataal Lok made you a household name. What do you have to say about OTT giving a chance a better chance to actors?

I think it's good for everyone. I think it's not just good for actors because I think actors come very late in the picture. It’s very good for writers, makers and directors because when they have this liberty to write different things, play with different shades, different genres. So that liberty comes to actors you know, otherwise wo waise bhi nahi pohonchegi agar experimental likha nahi ja raha hai. OTT se yeh hua hai ki global platform mila hai hum sabko. Audience ka bhi apna ek nazariya bana hai, that power goes to the audience whether they want to watch something or not. It makes you responsible also because the audience will not like it if you don’t engage them. So OTT is a big platform because so much content can come on it. It’s like in your cinema, only one movie can release at a time or two or three movies in a week but on OTT there are like 50 or more shows/movies released every day. Its reach is a little bigger because everyone has a phone in their hands and everyone has the internet in their homes. OTT expands your horizons.

And what kind of roles are you being currently offered compared to the kind of roles you want to play?

Well, I'm happy that directors and makers are looking differently towards me as an actor because as you said, Pataal Lok has been a myth breaker for the cast before the show. Before Paatal Lok, (the roles I got) were mostly hardcore, dominant characters and characters who are very sure about themselves. After Paatal Lok sabko yeh lagne lag gaya hai ki if we try something else with this actor, he can pull it off. So, I'm happy about that. Getting different stories, different types of roles. And I'm choosing with best of my abilities to make it work.

Is there anyone in particular that you would like to work with any international filmmaker? Because Hollywood and other Western industries are pushing for diversification.

Well, I would love to work with Martin Scorsese. Him and Christopher Nolan.

You can really get into the mafioso character really well. You'll be a real badass.

I don't know if I should take it as a compliment or not.

You should! I think you'd be really good in a Western, like an Indian Western. But also, we're all looking forward to the new season of Pataal Lok. Can you tell us what's next for Hathiram?

That will be a huge thing to tell. But what I can tell is that it's going to be an amazing Season 2. It's amazing writing by Sudip (Sharma) and the team. So, I'm really excited about it. And I'm dying to go to Hathiram once more.

Broken News is now streaming on ZEE5.