Priyanshu Painyuli on his Hollywood debut Extraction, and his first meeting with co-star Chris Hemsworth
Actor Priyanshu Painyuli who is known for his film Bhavesh Joshi Superhero joins the league of Indian actors who have been cast in Hollywood films. He plays the antagonist in Chris Hemsworthstarrer Extraction that releases this weekend on Netflix. Produced by the Russo brothers, Extraction is one of the most-anticipated crime thrillers this year. Unlike the usual urban characters that he has portrayed so far, Priyanshu plays the role of an underworld don in this movie.
Bling it on
“I play a Bangladeshi ganglord who lives in a palatial mansion, and controls Dhaka. Everyone (in the underworld) and the police work for him,” reveals Priyanshu. The actor’s look (for the film) which was revealed earlier this month took everyone by surprise. Silk shirts, embroidered sherwanis, gold chains and rings are an integral part of his character in Extraction. “The makers wanted a princely look,” he says, adding, “While they got the clothes and the accessories right, I was very particular about the shoes I wore, because I feel the right footwear adds to the confidence of the character. I insisted on pointed patent leather shoes with a heel. I have never worn anything like this in my life.”
The actor who had to speak in Bengali, and that too in the Bangladeshi dialect, had to train for nearly two months. “My dialogue delivery had to sound authentic, so I had to train for one hour every day with my dialogue coach. I also watched a few documentaries on Dhaka that were recommended by the director,” he says. Priyanshu also reveals he rehearsed his lines at least 50 times before every shoot because there was no way he could improvise even if he wished to. Priyanshu, who is a big fan of the Avengers films, says his first meeting with the Thor actor was quite unusual. “I was expecting to be formally introduced to Chris, but the way I met him was quite unexpected. I had to go for my make-up to the vanity van. And Chris was there getting his beard trimmed. I sat next to him and we got talking. He is humble and down-to-earth,” offers the actor. However, what impressed him the most is the way the crew works. Priyanshu says, “Unlike in India, where makeup artists have to come over to the actor’s vanity van, in a Hollywood production, actors are given time slots, and they report to the artist’s work station. Everyone is punctual and every detail is planned to the T,” he signs off.
If not an actor, you would be: I would be a drummer in a band. I love playing percussion instruments.
One thing you want to accomplish before the end of this year: I want to complete the shoot of Rashmi Rocket with Taapsee Pannu.
The best thing about being a celebrity: I feel happy when people recognise me for my work and remember my roles.
What do you do during your downtime: I write scripts and make short films. I have even participated in many short film festivals.
What’s on your reading list: I want to read more about Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Christopher Nolan.
Shows you are addicted to: This Is Us and Money Heist.
Life as he knows it
When you first watched the completed film, did anything about how it turned out surprise you?
Despite it being, maybe, one of the best action movies I have seen in the recent past, the scale of emotionality was unexpected. When you are part of the shoot, you fail to recognise these interesting versions of a father and son bonds that are sprinkled throughout. Between Tyler and Ovi, between Ovi and his father, between my character (Amir) and his mentee.
Was there ever a time you projected your on-screen character's traits into real life?
It was easy to switch off after each shoot. But going into a shoot, my mood would be grim and people knew to keep their distance.
What's one piece of advice that got you through the movie?
Not to look at Amir as an antagonist. He is all about the business, things are never personal!
Since, for you, footwear plays such a big role in bringing together a character. What's among your prized collection of footwear?
I love high ankle boots. I have this one pair of Royal Enfield boots that I have worn for many years now. And, though it is old, I can't seem to let it go.
Who is your movie-star aspiration?
My dreams are much bigger now! (laughs) I'd like to say I want to reach the stature that Robert DeNiro has.
We hear that you are working on something more, besides Rashmi Rocket...
I can't tell you the name, but I will be part of Season 2 of a very popular series - in a very different role!
Premieres on April 24 on Netflix
ayeshatabassum@ newindianexpress.com @aishatax
with inputs from Rebecca Vargese firstname.lastname@example.org @rebecca_vargese