'Creative people have to talk about rights just as much as they talk about duties,' says comedian-actor Abhilash Thapliyal
Abhilash was last seen playing the role of SK in Aspirants
If you follow Indian comedians and content creators on Instagram who have been churning out some interesting satirical work, then one name that you cannot miss is of Delhi-based comedian and actor Abhilash Thapliyal.
With over 149K followers on Instagram, Abhilash is most well-known for his character – Muffler Man – a satirical take on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. However, the actor shot to fame with the web series Aspirants that released earlier this year on YouTube. The show continues to be one of the popular shows online with a rating of 9.7 on IMDB. Abhilash plays the role of Shwet Ketu Jha aka SK or SK sir.
With this show the comedian-actor showcased his range of acting – from playing a restless and young IAS aspirant, Abhilash’s SK evolves as a mature and practical professor who teaches not just theoretical subjects but also practical life lessons to younger aspirants. The actor says playing the role of the younger SK came naturally to him because of the environment he grew up in. “I have seen a lot of youngsters like SK around me, particularly those who come from Bihar and other states to Delhi for IAS preparation. I grew up in Rajinder Nagar where many such students stayed in PG accommodations,” says Abhilash who is currently working on a project with Aanand L Rai.
As his character is from Bihar, the actor says he didn’t want to make it appear like a caricature so he thoughtfully worked on his accent and body language. “I am not a trained actor but I wanted to keep my portrayal as real as possible. So my mannerisms, my dialogues delivery and the way I carry myself – I worked on every detail. As a younger SK I am highly energetic and lively, as the older and mature professor, I am more restrained in everything I do,” he explains.
But it’s his digital persona as Muffler Man that truly makes the actor stand out from the rest in his league. He says the need to create this satirical character came from his sense of despair. “As an aam admi I reposed faith in a leader. But when things took a different turn in 2013, I made my first video with friends and it just clicked,” he says. Like many other comedians, Abhilash feels the freedom to create art and express is the backbone of democracy. “If the right to expression is curbed then your existence amounts to nothing. Your passport has no value if you don’t have the right to talk and express. As creative persons we have to talk about our rights just as much as we talk about duties,” he says. Going forward the actor hopes to work with some of his favourite filmmakers such as Anurag Kashyap, Anubhav Sinha and Amit Sharma.