EXCL: Actor Amol Parashar on playing a catalyst for change in the teleplay 'Panchi Aise Aate Hain'

The actor speaks to us about his love for theatre, idea of situationships and more
Actor Amol Parashar
Actor Amol Parashar

We remember him as the whistling dixie, Chitvan from TVF Triplings, the hustling entrepreneur Armaan in the film Cash and Bhagat Singh in the historical drama Sardar Udham. With a rising career, Amol Parashar has become a hit name in the world of OTT and films.

Now, the actor is exploring the unique format of teleplay with Zee Theatre’s Panchi Aise Aate Hain. The captivating family drama is a Hindi adaptation of Padma Bhushan Vijay Tendulkar’s famous Marathi play Ashi Pakhare Yeti.

Replete with sentiments, it’s an exploration of love, relationships and complexities that arise when traditional values collide with the aspirations of a new generation. At the heart of the teleplay is a middle-class family household where the Shuklas (Deepak Qazir and Vibha Chibber) are on a fervent quest to find a suitable match for their daughter Saru (Ratan Rajput). The show is a social commentary on how a patriarchal set-up exerts pressure on women about their life choices, eventually damaging their self-worth.

However, there’s a twist! Amol plays Arun, a young and curious traveller, who unexpectedly finds himself in the midst of the Shukla household and rekindles confidence in Saru. Excerpts:

Amol Parashar
Amol Parashar

What appealed to you the most about the teleplay?
Panchi Aise Aate Hain offers a refreshing format. It features an eccentric character who enters a family, stirring things up and introducing new ideas. Interestingly, this play, written in the 1970s by Vijay Tendulkar, is relevant even today due to the power of its writing. Vijay’s narratives transcend linguistic and cultural boundaries, touching upon universal emotions. His writing has questioned societal norms. In this particular play, challenges patriarchal values and the middle-class expectations imposed on women regarding marriage. It delves into the pressure women face, including questions about their eligibility, self-esteem, the age at which they should marry, their looks etc.

In reality, have any women near you felt this crippling pressure about marriage?
I vividly recall a heated conversation I had with my sister, during which she raised her voice and expressed the immense pressure she felt regarding marriage. She bluntly told me that I couldn’t fully understand her feelings because I didn’t experience the same stress. Her remarks came from a place of honesty. I realised the privileges men enjoy and how society holds different expectations from you based on your gender and sex.

A still from Panchhi Aise Aate Hein
A still from Panchhi Aise Aate Hein

Being from IIT Delhi, how did acting happen?
Before entering IIT, you have a clear purpose — to gain admission to the college. Once you’re there, you introspect, ‘What’s next?’ Some people continue to focus solely on their studies because they’ve been conditioned to think that getting into IIT is the ultimate achievement. But I was drawn into theatre as part of the dramatics club of my college. We used to perform in college festivals, but I never considered it as a potential career path until I entered a corporate job. I embraced the unknown, went with the flow, and ignored the voices that warned me of uncertainties in the arts field. Yes, it can be quite insecure, but if you derive immense joy from an art form, hold onto it! This epiphany led me to move to Mumbai. There, I was awestruck by the incredible talent I saw at Prithvi Theatre. It became evident that I belonged amongst these artistes. As the years went by, I became more comfortable with my career in acting. I could pay my rent and sustain myself (laughs) after a decade of struggle. Now I’ve brought my parents to Mumbai to settle down which is a tick mark of a life goal!

Amol Parashar
Amol Parashar

We saw a video of your spoken word poetry performance on the topic of ‘situationship.’ Tell us about that.
I have a secret to share with you; I had a deep longing to be on stage! That led me to become a part of spoken word events. I love the live audience, the instant feedback, and the sheer joy of performance. I performed that piece in 2020 on the idea of ‘situationships.’ At that time, a term like that didn’t even exist. The poetry was inspired by real-life experiences where I wanted to address topics that often remain unspoken in public discourse or are met with judgments and mockery. Many times, older generations dismiss the younger generation’s actions with comments like ‘Aaj kal ke bachche yeh sab kar rahe hai’or ‘Inka kuch kaam hi nahin hai’ (Kids these days are up to casual relationships or situationships, they have nothing better to do). However, I intended to convey that humans can have diverse opinions and perspectives. It’s essential to respect these differences. The reason why the current generation resonates so strongly with such narratives is that they see themselves represented. This is what I seek in the stories that I tell.

On that note, what’s your advice for youngsters navigating love?
Oh, it’s funny how I’ve become a sort of love guru (chuckles). After that poetry and a few podcasts on modern-day love, many young people have reached out to me for advice on relationships. My suggestion is to be authentic and learn how to communicate your true self to others. I’ve made mistakes in the past, where I didn’t dare to genuinely express my true self to my partner. Sometimes, we don’t stay true to ourselves due to fear of rejection. So stay real.

Panchi Aise Aate Hain is streaming on Zee Theatre. It will now be seen in Kannada and Telugu by audiences in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Mail: priyamvada@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @RanaPriyamvada

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