Jitendra Joshi had previously played the role of Katekar in Sacred Games.
A character who has stood out in Cartel almost as much as Rithvik Dhanjani, is that of Jitendra Joshi. In the role of Madhu, he is quirky and loud, to the extent that he could give Ranveer Singh competition in acting.
OTTplay caught up with the actor to discuss his role, the quirky look and how the project happened to him. We also spoke to him about his career in the Marathi industry, whether he would be a part of any Marathi web series in the coming future, among other things.
Excerpts from the interview...
From Sacred Games to Cartel, you seem to love gangster dramas. Is it a genre you love working in?
I prefer to work in different kinds of genres and characters. So when I get a chance in Hindi or Marathi, I'm in search of different characters. So when I see something new, I grab it. I didn't decide to pick gangster dramas. Between Sacred Games and Cartel, I even had Betaal. I'm doing comedy and other genres too. I'm trying my best but time will tell how successful I'll be. I have done comedy, family drama, projects on social issues.
What has people's reaction been like?
Oh, they loved it, especially my look, since they hadn't seen me in this look before.
Tell me about the look.
Madhu wears any kind of clothes. His life is very colourful. He won't care about branded attire. Our director has thought about the look. Ekta ji decided on the look. I felt different wearing the wig.
How did the show happen to you?
I got a call from a casting agency. They asked me to meet the director, when I was expecting an audition. The director said that he saw my work in Marathi cinema and later in Sacred Games. He gave me the narration in August 2019 and before he ended it, I had agreed to do the role. It has been two years now. I worked on my body and before I knew it, the project was completed and now has been released too.
What attracted you to it the most?
I thought about the unique family. After that, it was the director's vision and my role that wrapped up beautifully. It was fun.
What preparations went into your character?
Madhu is very powerful. So I had to work on my body. I needed to develop some strength and a belly. I worked with Tanuj and Rithvik on workshops and readings and we bonded like brothers. It was a happy project.
Did you take inspiration from someone?
No. I just heard the director out. Madhu is unpredictable, which is a part of my personality too. That's how Madhu happened.
What was working with Surpirya Pathak like?
She's a senior actress. I didn't work with her as much as Tanuj and Rithvik. She started working as soon as she came on sets, so we spoke very less. She would talk about her previous films so at times I would join that chat. Her experience with camera, lighting and dialogue delivery was a great learning experience. I didn't understand much on sets, but when I saw the series, I understood how her mind worked and it was sheer brilliance.
What are your views on OTT censorship?
If you are talking about censorship, various people watch OTT platforms. There are child locks. Even if people do not like something, they can stop watching that content. Even in films, a few people walk out if they don't like it. Films get an A or U certificate anyway too. Despite that, if there's censorship, what's the use? My eight-year-old daughter couldn't watch either Sacred Games or Betaal. She asked me if I could work on something that she could watch. I did the series so she can see it.
How is working in Hindi industry different from working in Marathi?
Just the language. The spot boy working in Marathi language and the one in Hindi language aren't different, right? Every person works hard. Here, people know Hindi more than Marathi. Today, however, I watched Joji, which is in Malayalam. It isn't even Hindi dubbed but I can watch it with subtitles. We could eat Punjabi or Gujarati thali one day and Japanese or Thai food on another. Similarly, OTT platforms have a cuisine for you to pick from. Mimi is adapted from a Marathi film. There was a film called Turtles Can Fly which had no language but still we all saw it. The audience today is different. Charlie Chaplin had asked people not to give films a language so as to avoid the divide. Today, we are going closer to the cinematic language, which is exactly what he wanted.
Any plans of working on a Marathi web series, especially after people have showered love over series like Samantar and Aani Kay Hava?
I haven't gotten any good offers from there. If I did then I would've loved to. I want to do different characters which are good. If I feel they are unique, then I would want to do it.
What are your upcoming projects?
I produced a film named Godavari (Marathi) which is a unique character. I have another Marathi film, two Hindi films, a web series in Hindi and am in talks for a Marathi web series too. So I believe in not talking about a subject till it works out well.