Playing Chitvan has helped me become better at comedy – Amol
He’s likely to have stolen your hearts as the quirky DJ Chitvan from Tripling. Meet Amol Parashar, who has become a household name owing to his relatable and humorous act as the youngest sibling in the TVF web series. But Amol is no newcomer to acting. With a background in theatre, several TVCs to his credit and roles in films like Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year and Traffic, it was only a matter of time before he hit the headlines.
The actor who loves juggling mediums is currently seen in the web series Bisht, Please and will soon be seen in the comedy feature Aapkey Kamrey Mein Koi Rehta Hai. He has also co-written a soon-to-release web series for TVF. We caught up with the actor to know more about his ‘master of all trades’ ideological ambition, how life has changed for him post Tripling, his upcoming film and more.
From theatre, TV commercials, web series and films, you are like the master of all trades. Was it a conscious decision to not limit yourself to one medium?
When I came to Mumbai, I only wanted to do theatre because that’s all I had done before and knew how to do. Once here, I got a chance to explore different mediums and platforms and that excited me. I did a lot of plays, then started doing TVCs as well, then films and now most recently web series – and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them.
I tend to get bored very easily with things, so juggling between mediums keeps things from getting monotonous. At the same time there are so many new things to learn from a new medium. You acquire different skills from each medium and that helps in enhancing your craft.
On a lighter note, ‘master of all trades’ is actually a personal ideological ambition in life. I have an innate desire to do everything and to be good at it. Maybe that explains my jump from academia to performance arts. I don’t know where this ambition will take me in the future – maybe skiing, who knows.
What are the kind of roles (irrespective of the medium) that you see yourself in?
All kinds of roles. Just like I wouldn’t like to limit myself to a certain medium, I wouldn’t like to limit myself to certain ‘kind’ of roles. I am not saying that I can play anything and anyone under the sun – but I do have the desire for it. The goal is to work on your craft and range and expand it to a level where nothing seems unachievable in the emotional spectrum.
Not only was this the first time I was attempting humour on camera, Chitvan’s humour is completely different from my real-life humour
Your last web series, Tripling and your character Chitvan became hugely popular. What would you attribute the success to?
For something to work on a large scale, a lot of different things have to come together, which is what happened in the case of Tripling. I think stars have to align in a certain way to get together the bunch of people that did for Tripling. From the creative supervision of TVF, to our writers Akarsh and Sumeet, our director Rajesh Krishnan, cinematographer Srinivas Reddy, music director Amar Mangrulkar, editor Anand Subaya – and the idea of Sumeet, Maanvi and I playing siblings – with the superlative supporting cast – clearly stars did align.
Chitvan has a lot of craziness derived from Akarsh, Sumeet and Rajesh Krishnan – these are the people who helped me create this person. It was a lot of fun to play Chitvan, but there was a part of me that was constantly shitting bricks. Chitvan exists on such a fine line between being an ass and being an adorable ass, and I had to perpetually be on my toes to make sure he remained relatable. In the end, looking at the monstrous love that Chitvan has received, I guess we succeeded.
Is comedy something that comes naturally to you?
I am decently funny in life and I have done a lot of comedy on stage but I had never attempted comedy on camera. Frankly, that was one more reason for me to be shitting bricks.
Not only was this the first time I was attempting humour on camera, Chitvan’s humour is completely different from my real-life humour. Chitvan’s humour is unintentional and derives from a complete lack of awareness of accepted social behaviour. He is street-smart and at the same time he is endearingly innocent – and that’s what makes Chitvan ‘beautiful’. I think Chitvan has helped me become better at comedy.
Also, how have things changed for you post the series?
Things have changed certainly. Tripling has helped me reach a large audience as an actor. The feeling of being recognized on the streets, meeting complete strangers who love your work, and experiencing that love, is an incomparable feeling of joy.
This is not just a personal achievement, but a positive professional step as well. For actors like me, who are trying to get a foothold based completely on our work, this is an important advantage. Thanks to the recognition, now I have more access to some of the work that would not have been that easily accessible a year back.
Of course, this is just the first step towards a larger goal – but I am grateful to all the people who made it possible especially the ‘fans’ for showering so much love. I would like to tell them that I read all the hundreds of messages on my Instagram and my Facebook ‘Others Folder’ everyday – so keep ‘em coming.
My character in Aapkey Kamrey Mein Koi Rehta Hai is in sharp contrast to the recent characters I have played
Coming to your latest web series, tell us about your role in Bisht, Please. What drew you to it?
Nidhi (Bisht) and Biswapati (Sarkar) had told me that there was a part in Bisht, Please that they were very keen on me to play. When I heard the script finally, I loved it. I am a big fan of Pitchers and Permanent Roommates, but I think Biswapati (with Nidhi and Devanshi) has achieved new heights with the writing of Bisht, Please. He is not only trying something new, but trying it in a bold and fearless way. The farce in Bisht, Please is of a level that you rarely get to see in Indian content.
I play Soham who is Neetu’s (Nidhi Bisht) colleague and best friend. While Neetu is the only sane and sensible character in the story, the world around her is full of harsh characterizations and crude stereotypes, as in any farcical world. Soham is mean to her, rags her, and gives her advice that inadvertently gets her into trouble every time. Almost every misadventure (each misadventure is an episode) is a direct result of the bad advice that Soham constantly supplies her with.
In addition to the fact that I loved the writing, I couldn’t turn down a chance to work with Nidhi and Biswapati, two people I love and respect a lot.
You’re also part of the film Aapkey Kamrey Mein Koi Rehta Hai. What is your character in the film like?
We have finished shooting for the film, which is a comedy based on modern relationships. My character in the film is in sharp contrast to the recent characters I have played (Chitvan and Soham). He is a conservative when it comes to relationships and interacting with the opposite sex. He is a kill-joy who takes things too seriously for his own good..
In fact, at one point I was shooting for Bisht, Please’and the film together. There were times when I was shooting for the film during the day and shooting for the show during the night and vice versa. It was challenging to switch between the contrasting characters from one shoot to another but it was exciting at the same time. The only negative was losing out on my sleep, but I made up for all of it once the shoots were over.
I wouldn’t like to limit myself to a certain medium or certain ‘kind’ of roles
What preparation did the role involve? Also, is there a prep process that you normally follow to get into a character?
My preparation for any role involves hounding the director and making sure I understand the character through his/her eyes. I feel this is an important step and it helps you to execute the director’s vision with your best efforts. I spent a lot of time with the writer and director of the film, Gaurav Sinha. It helped that he had a clear vision with regards to his characters, and he was good at communicating what he had in mind.
Are there any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to talk about?
I am looking forward to the release of the film and the subsequent episodes of Bisht, Please. In terms of acting, I am in talks for a couple of projects but haven’t signed anything yet. I have co-written a web series for TVF, which is scheduled to be out later this year. I am quite excited about making my debut as a writer on the web.