This is the first time you’re doing a web series. How was the experience shooting for Sacred Games?
It was a good experience, that completely challenged my skills as an actor. Ganesh Gaitonde is a very complex character, and to bring him alive in the allotted time during shoot was a real challenge. I was shooting for two to three months continuously. It was an exhausting and hectic schedule. The advantage of shooting a series is that it allows you to go into full detail of the character. As an actor, I had a great time shooting for a series.
Gaitonde’s character is very complex. How did you prepare for the role?
Me and my director, Anurag Kashyap, go back a long way. This was a big advantage as he knew me personally so the character was created in a way that I could easily relate to him.
Have you read Vikram Candra’s novel yet? And did it help in your preparation?
Yes, I read it during the shoot. Gaitonde’s character has many layers to it. The advantage of reading the book was that I was about to understand the character in much detail, which I probably wouldn’t be able to do if I was just going according to the script.
What kind of books do you like reading?
I like reading in general. I especially enjoy reading books that analyze the subject in detail. Where you can read and feel two sides of the same character.
What is your most favorite thriller till date?
My most favorite thriller was Raman Raghav.
Coming back to Gaitonde, how were you able to humanize his character from the novel?
The challenges were that not everything from the book could be adapted. You can never adopt every detail from a character in a book while bringing it to life. You can only adopt the essence of it. The most important aspects that helped when bringing Giatonde to life was some details from Vikram Chandra’s novel, the surroundings we were shooting in and my co-actors.
How different was the character of Gaitonde to the negative character you played in Badlapur?
I wouldn’t really call my character negative in Badlapur. He was a normal man who commits a murder by mistake and wasn’t to make up for his sin. He realizes his mistake and wants to make amends. These aspects make it very different to the character of Ganesh Gaitonde.
As an actor you have played very different characters. How do you adapt to different kind of roles?
For us as actors this is not very challenging. Thanks to the film schools we all have attended. We have been trained to get in and out of characters easily. Whether it’s a character in a Shakespeare play or a Bollywood film, we have the knack to essay both roles side by side.
Do you watch Netflix? Which is your favorite series?
I watch almost all the series, but my current favourite is Narcos.