Sunil Grover is more pleased than the audience to see himself in another avatar in Tandav. The actor, who became famous on television with his comic book avatars, will play a cunning, ruthless character Gurpal in the Amazon Prime Video original series. Grover is seen playing Samar’s (Saif Ali Khan) most trusted man who has a dangerous and secret past.
In an exclusive chat with socialmediagossips.com, Sunil Grover talked about breaking out of his funny image, working on multi-stars, working with director Ali Abbas Zafar and much more.
Excerpts from the conversation …
Tell us about Tandav and your role.
First of all, I feel very lucky and fortunate to be part of this beautiful show. It is a fictional work based on the world of politics. Gurpal Chauhan is a very different role than me, but I really can’t tell much about it.
As for Tandav, everyone is running for power and the chair, and the show gives a glimpse into what exactly is going on behind the curtains. It’s serious drama, but when you look at it you realize it’s very human and then you will relate to it and get into it.
Breaking out of your comedy image or working with such an outstanding cast – what was more exciting for you?
Honestly, I never thought anything like that would get in my way. Ali called me and I was so excited as it was a new world for me. What made me more eager was the confidence he had that I could do something like this. I had this list of things I didn’t want to do in a long time. And since Gurpal is a whole different part from what I did or what I was offered, Tandav was exciting to me. The cast is of course amazing and I had a wonderful time working with them. It is always an enriching experience to be with such great actors. Now I can only hope that the chemistry translates well on the screen and that the audience likes to see it.
When working with such a large cast, does the fear of being lost in the crowd ever cross your mind?
There is no fear at all. Instead of thinking about getting lost, I take it as a great opportunity to be part of something so wonderful. That’s an amazing thing for any actor. You should also have confidence in the script and the makers. Gurpal is a very defined character who stands by himself. Since it was so fresh even for me, I’m sure the audience will take notice too.
You seem to have most of the scenes with Saif Ali Khan. How was the experience working with him?
Yes, Gurpal belongs to the same party as Samar Pratap Singh (Khan’s character). It was amazing to work with. He’s such a dedicated, passionate actor. Saif has done so much work but has the energy of a freshman. He knows the script and is always well prepared. I also remember that even if others were to shoot for their close-ups, he would stay around to provide clues. That was very sweet and nice of him. I never had the feeling that he is such a profound actor who has seen the world. His new approach to his work was a learning for me.
It is your second collaboration with Ali Abbaz Zafar. How was it working with him again?
He’s as sarcastic as he was, that doesn’t change anything (laughs). He is always nice to work with as he is so approachable and easy going. You can always have a healthy conversation with him. He is calm and yet has so much fun with his team. Plus, Ali knows his script so well and drafts it before he’s on set. Therefore, it becomes very easy for actors to implement their vision. Having worked with him previously, I also share a strong trust factor with him and I know that whatever he will do will be good for me and the project.
What side of student politics will we see in Tandav. How do you see it?
The show shows in an interesting way the power play and how student and politics intersect in the center. I never understood politics then and neither do I now. I’ve always tried to embody her and her speeches, and I still do the same thing. However, I believe that the seeds of politics are rooted at this level and we can all hope that power reaches the right hand. In this way they will be trained to become future world leaders.
The teaser had a dialogue Eat desh ko ek hi chiz chalati hai, rajneeti. Aur jo pradhan mantri hai wahi iss desh ka raja hai. Will there be any reference to the current government?
Tandav is not set in a fictional world at all. There is no indication of a political party. The line you mention was said from a character’s point of view. The show, or I personally, don’t believe in the same thing.
What does Tandav mean to you?
It’s a form of dance that is pretty aggressive. And we all use it as a metaphor to describe something that creates chaos. On the show, you will see how the hunger game for power leads to the dance of torment.
If you had the chance to play a political figure, who would you choose?
If you ask me to copy someone’s mannerism I can, but I would love to play a fictional character. Just that the story and the character should be exciting to me. However, if I am allowed to star in a biography of our historical heroes and leaders, I would love to.
In 2020 some amazing content was published in the web space. How do you like the medium as an actor?
It’s a new medium that is growing very quickly. There is also a lot of freedom, creative and in terms of time. A maker can tell a longer story, giving actors more leeway to play their characters. However, keeping the audience’s attention for that long is also a major challenge. It’s a challenge especially for the writers and then of course for the actors and directors. We have seen some amazing content and performances over the past few years, and I hope you all enjoy Tandav, too.
Recently, the digital medium was placed under the Ministry of I&C. Do you think that can limit his freedom?
We must abide by any new regulations that come in our way. Personally, I believe that something should be left to the public’s discretion. They know what they want to see and should be able to choose. There is some content that can of course cause harm to our society, but otherwise I think that stories that can make a difference should be promoted well. Stories that can show society in the mirror and help it gain progressive thoughts. I think there were a lot of subjects that were taboo, but web series made it a table discussion. And that’s exactly what we need now.
The nine-episode political drama produced by Himanshu Kishan Mehra and Ali Abbas Zafar also features Dimple Kapadia, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea, Kumud Mishra, Gauahar Khan, Amyra Dastur and Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, Kritika Kamra, Sarah Jane Dias, Sandhya Mridul, Annup Sonii, Hitten Ttejwani, Paresh Pahuja and Shonali Nagrani. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video will start on January 15.