While talking about his friendship with Taapsee Pannu, actor Abhilash Thapliyal called out the gender bias in the industry. Asked about Taapsee’s picks of scripts, he said, “Why don’t we put Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan to the same scrutiny when it comes to selecting male-centric characters.” Abhilash also said that he doesn’t know Taapsee’s process but will definitely ask her. What he knows is that she is dedicated and disciplined in her profession and is friendly to others even after giving big films.

Abhilash Thapliyal was recently in Cannes for the premiere of his film Kennedy.
Abhilash Thapliyal was recently in Cannes for the premiere of his film Kennedy.

HT Smartcast’s Creator Baazi chat show host Shikhar Varshney talked to actor Abhilash Thapliyal who is back from his debut appearance at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes Film Festival with Kennedy and Anurag Kashyap

Abhilash Thapaliyal is brimming with excitement after his Cannes appearance as he not only walk the red carpet but was part of the film, Kennedy, that received a 7-minute standing ovation in the Midnight Screenings section. The actor accompanied director Anurag Kashyap and co-stars Sunny Leone and Rahul Bhat to Cannes. He graciously expresses his gratitude to various cinephiles from around the world like film school students and veteran filmmakers who were in attendance.

Abhilash fondly recalls his initial encounter with director Anurag Kashyap who was busy with the shoot of the movie Dobaara. He later received an unexpected phone call from Kashyap where the director presented him with a script and asked whether he would be interested in portraying a role. Kashyap said, “While crafting the character, I envisioned you as the perfect fit.”

I’m still in the process of discovering myself

Abhilash belongs to an Army family and grew up in various places like Uttarakhand, Delhi, and ultimately Mumbai. He strongly believes that discipline and punctuality are ingrained within him, thanks to his family background. Committed to his work, Abhilash understands the significance of time, stating, “I prioritise someone else’s value of time for myself to be valued.” Abhilash expresses gratitude towards his parents, who allowed him the freedom to pursue his interests, and experiment when it came to his career and education. They provided unwavering support, even when things didn’t go as planned.

Abhilash attributes his street smarts to his time spent in Delhi, while he describes Mumbai as a city where judgment is scarce. According to him, a person’s worth cannot be determined by the car they drive, the phone they use, or the clothes they wear. It goes beyond these material aspects. Abhilash believes that a person’s definition should encompass much more. When asked what defines him, he admits that he is still in the process of discovering it, as he deeply enjoys the work he is currently engaged in.

How SK Sir almost led to him being typecast

Abhilash reflects on his journey following his notable role in TVF’s Aspirants as SK Sir. From there, he ventured into his mini-series titled SK Sir ki Class, and subsequently received numerous script offers based on a similar concept, all due to the success of the show. This breakthrough allowed him to break away from the monotony of being a side character in comedic roles and showcase his serious acting abilities.

Grateful for the character of SK Sir, Abhilash acknowledges its pivotal role in securing opportunities such as Ajay Bahl’s film Blurr, Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s series Faadu – A Love Story, and upcoming projects like Ajay Devgan’s Maidaan and Navdeep Singh’s Shehar Lakhot, among others. While he attributes some credit to luck for providing these opportunities, Abhilash also recognizes the significance of his hard work and dedication to the characters he portrays, which leaves a lasting impact.

What did Ayushmann Khurrana, Zakir Khan, Prajakta Kohli and others who worked in Radio do right?

Abhilash talked about the importance of taking every opportunity to help when you want to make it big. He emphasized on the importance of taking action rather than overthinking. Abhilash also advocates doing experiments and taking risks. Coming from a middle-class background, he highlights that there is no substantial fortune at stake if things don’t go as planned. This reel of him and the host talking is getting re-shared on Instagram a lot.

Why should the media cover topics that relate with us?

According to Abhilash, everyone has their subjective limitations when it comes to keeping up with the news. While some may find Virat Kohli defeating Pakistan in an T20 World Cup newsworthy, others may have different concerns. Abhilash recalls a time when he prioritized national news about a woman being subjected to harassment and abuse, regardless of the ongoing events in Bollywood or cricket. During his time working in radio, Abhilash shares that he initiated a campaign for justice. As a media professional, he believes in spreading awareness about important news and discussing relevant causes. He believes that news coverage should provide all the necessary facts and figures without taking sides or altering the narrative, as this approach engages a wider audience.

Abhilash also opened up a lot of other things from admitting not watching many films to his admiration for Boman Irani.


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