Jaideep Ahlawat: ‘Acting gets easy if your co-actor is understanding!’

Jaideep Ahlawat as Naren in Jaane Jaan. Cr. Courtesy: Netflix / Publicis-Consultants Asia 

Known for his intense portrayals, positive, negative and in-between, Jaideep Ahlawat, has finally etched out his niche as a powerhouse performer. His fans cannot forget the characters of Hathiram Chaudhary of Paatal Lok, Dipankar Sanyal in The Broken News or Bhoora Singh Solanki in An Action Hero. 

Khatta Meetha (his debut), Aakrosh, Commando, Gangs of Wasseypur, Rockstar, Gabbar…is Back, Raees and Raazi were among his early ventures. On a roll with interesting upcoming projects like Paatal Lok 2, The Broken News 2 and lending his voice to India’s version of Marvel Wastelanders as Hawkeye, Jaideep now portrays another unique role in Jaane Jaan, an intricate tale of love, devotion and intrigue. The Netflix film releases on September 21.

For Jaideep, acting began as a distant memory from his school days, but it was in college that he realized his love for it and chose to work towards his passion that would shape his future.

About his Jaane Jaan character, he says, “Naren is a gifted mathematician with a soft-hearted personality. He’s a genius, but you wouldn’t notice him at first glance. He doesn’t say or express much. His character is internalized because he guesses that the one thing he wants in life, he may not get. But his devotion is unconditional. Once you know him, he’s a most lovable person. It’s funny because I’ve always disliked Mathematics myself and that’s what made me excited to play Naren. It was an extremely interesting challenge.”

(As a matter of interest, the film is based on the award-winning Japanese book, The Devotion of Suspect X, so we know who he plays now—Suspect X!)

Jaideep Ahlawat made his debut in 2010 but has been truly noticed after the OTT series Paatal Lok. Photo: Idayah Media

The creative process for Jaideep involves an immersive study of the script, and he says, “The one thing I firmly believe in is doing things out of love.  If you do something out of passion, out of love, it never goes unrewarded or overlooked. I believe in letting the script guide me, allowing the nuances of the roles to organically find their way to me.”

He adds, “I accept a film only when the main script mesmerizes me to make my own world. This is what we all do while we listen to stories from anyone, like our parents or grandparents, right? Slowly, many small nuances can be added. With every good writer or director, this happens. Acting is always a collaborative art. When you have a point of view different from the director’s, you should either convince him or be convinced by his line of reasoning. A director’s vision and my perspective should have a common wavelength. After that, you have to give your 100 percent!”

Jaideep adds that actors are only the characters. “The story is always the star, and it also makes a star!” he opines.

His friendship, off-screen, with another potent force in acting and his co-star here, Vijay Varma, is well-known. At the film’s media meet, Vijay heaped lavish compliments on Jaideep and his acting skills. What does he have to say to this? “Vijay and I are like brothers. We have been batch-mates at FTII Film & Television Institute of India). Only yesterday, after four months, we met and were playing cards with friends. We are part of a common WhatsApp group and with Vijay in the cast, it was half the battle won!”

When we state that Vijay too is a formidable actor and they have so many sequences together, Jaideep mentions that he does not believe in actors overshadowing others on screen. He explains clinically, “If a character is strong, the performance will be likewise. You have to dominate your own character, not another actor. And if your character dominates the other as per the script, so will you. Acting gets easy if your co-actor is understanding and prepared. Acting is give and take, and a scene can be easily designed when your co-actor bounces back off your performance and so do you to him.”

Jaideep is grateful to OTT, which got him decisive fame when it was eluding him even after good performances in films. “It’s a big, global platform between films and TV, and has helped me decisively.”

Jaideep has obviously had offers from abroad after the exposure of his work globally. “Par mazaa nahin aaya (nothing excited me)!” he says.

What does he want to say about Kareena Kapoor Khan stating that she is his fan and would often gape during a shot at what he did as an actor? “That’s so sweet of her!” he replies. “But she is extremely good and it was fabulous working with her.”

As for his director, Sujoy Ghosh, Jaideep says that he gained hugely as an actor when working with him. “He’s so good-natured, fun to work with, and he knows his job! He’s sharp and totally sorted, knows his edit and cut point that we as actors cannot imagine while shooting a sequence. As actor, your software is upgraded when you work with such a director!” he grins.

The actor considers the current phase as his best until now and wishes that he will keep connecting with and entertaining his fans, ensuring that they keep on loving him.

Finally, what does he do when not working? “Oh, I sleep! I am very lazy. I don’t move at all from my home, I watch TV. I am a couch potato and go for anything that works for me on it!”





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