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Going Big In Tripling

After the success of the second season of TVF’s Tripling, actor Amol Parashar talks to Titas Chowdhury about playing Chitvan, performing on stage back in the day and his upcoming projects

You are a Delhi boy who came to Mumbai to chase his dreams and achieve certain goals. How many boxes have you ticked so far?

Yes, I am a Delhi boy and I studied engineering. After that, I worked for a year. Then I came to Mumbai without any specific dream of becoming a professional film or television actor. I used to perform plays in college. Once I started working, I did not get enough time to do plays. So the idea was to take a break from work and return to the stage again.

I began performing at Prithvi (Theatre), which was way beyond my imagination. Soon I started getting more work. People would call me for ads and films, which was quite unexpected. Without any planning, I was suddenly appearing on television, ads and films. With time, as expectations from myself began to increase, I started setting goals. Building plans is something that happened very recently. Now there is more reason to be frustrated than before because everything was a bonus back then. My goals, expectations and confidence grow with every project I do, now that I have tested the waters.

The first season of Tripling became an instant success. What do you think clicked with the audience?

When we came out with the first season in 2016, there were not many web series makers. TVF was in the forefront because they were regularly making shows as compared to other platforms. After Permanent Roommates and Pitchers, Tripling was their third big series. Season one was huge in its own way. At that time, nobody thought of making web series and their budget or scale. They were thinking of telling stories in a contained place such as a house or an office. Stories that could be made on a cheap budget drew more attention. Tripling was different because it was a travel-based web series. It was so much more than just three people in a car. To achieve that visual, there were 50 people traveling with different equipment. Flying drones were used to capture the car ride. We were shooting across locations, so there were permissions and costs involved. In 2016, no other web series looked like that. My friends who saw the trailer were blown away.

The scale and production values of the second season of Tripling have increased. You have shot at multiple locations. Did the success of the first season prompt you take this season a notch higher?

We knew that from 2016 to 2019, a lot would change. So the scale has become bigger. There is so much money coming in to make content for the web. People are now used to watching projects made on a large scale. They expect that. As content creators, you would want to make a show that is as good as the others, if not better.

Season one was a huge hit. People became attached to the series and its characters. So TVF became more confident about spending money. We thought of making it as big as we could without compromising the script. It cannot only be all about scale and no substance. They took about six to eight months to write the script. They wanted to make it look bigger than season one because the story is bigger this time.

The things happening in the lives of the characters are bigger. Earlier, the issues were restricted to the three of them. Now the world around them has expanded. Chandan has become a writer, Chitvan is doing something else and Chanchal is a politician. To show their lives, we needed a larger scale. The money they had put in has given us rewards. We are all happy (Smiles).

There was a point when actors used to be referred to by their character’s names, but that hardly happens any more. How does it feel when people call you ‘Chitvan’ and not ‘Amol’?

(Laughs) I think it is very sweet; I don’t feel bad at all. I know that some actors are bothered by this. Nobody does it with malice. If people do not know your name, that is okay. Not everybody has to know you by name. When you do more work, they will get to know you. I enjoy it when they call me Chitvan because it means they love my work. I was once chatting with Manoj Bajpayee, who told me that some people still call him ‘Bhiku Mhatre’. We should be happy that we have made such an impact with a character. What you can do is try and create more characters so that they can replace the current one.

When you play a character like Chitvan, who is starkly different from you in real life, how do you internalise him and step into his shoes?

It was very tricky during season one because I realised that for the first time, I was playing a character I could not define. Usually, I make notes in a little notebook like a serious theatre actor does. I could not understand why Chitvan was doing the things he was doing. I found him very weird and unreasonable. I found him funny while reading the script but while I was preparing for the role, I could not crack him.

I was also apprehensive about how people would perceive him. I used to have long chats with Sumeet (Vyas) and Akarsh (Khurana) and was very nervous during the shoot. But after shooting for five to six days, I started having fun. I started telling myself that I should think of the scene before and after this. I started following the script completely. I wasn’t sure whether it would work, but thankfully, it did. I learnt that there are other ways to approach a role.

Chitvan is a fun guy. He loves everyone and everyone loves him. He has no malice against anybody. I figured these things about him after shooting for about ten days. But in the second season, I didn’t have any baggage. I knew that Chitvan’s unpredictability was not a wrong thing. I also knew that we can’t expect him to do anything conventional. This time, I decided to let go of all my inhibitions, not overthink and have fun from day one. I wanted to do justice to a beautifully written character like this.

Is a third season on the cards?

I don’t know, yaar. This is a call that TVF will have to take. We, actors, come into the picture very late. This is not a story you can pick up where it ends in the second season. They would have to find a reason for these three characters to meet and begin a new journey.

What is next on for you?

While I was shooting for Tripling, I also shot for Balaji’s (Telefilms) Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare which his written and directed by Alankrita Shrivastava. My character is of a young boy who is shy, polite and sorted in his head. He knows what he wants and is ambitious. He comes from a small town. Shooting for these two projects simultaneously was a very interesting exercise for me. It was like living two starkly contrasting lives at the same time.  After a long time, I was on a set where I did not know anyone. Most of my scenes are with Konkona (Sensharma). I have always admired her work.  Then I am doing a travel show. I don’t know how I ended up there! I am doing seven real life road trips across seven different countries. I have done three already. Maybe they wanted Chitvan to continue with his road trips (Laughs). I am given a beautiful car and I travel through exotic places and my adventures are shot. There is a list of 50 things to do.  You will see me doing 50 weird things in five days. It is an emotionally overwhelming experience for me. It is like a social media based thing. It is a new format for me and the makers.

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