'Experience was healing': Adhura actor Ishwak Singh on finding catharsis in craft, being a bookworm and more

Actor Ishwak Singh is on cloud nine with an impressive line-up of films and OTT shows. We catch up with the Paatal Lok star about choosing films over architecture, fulfilling dreams and lots more
Ishwak Singh
Ishwak Singh

The year 2023 is going to be a stroke of luck for actor Ishwak Singh. The Delhi born celebrity who has given some memorable performances as a cop in the hit crime thriller series Paatal Lok and then played the notable physicist Vikram Sarabhai in the web series Rocket Boys (2022) has many projects slated for release this year. From spy thriller film Berlin, comedy flick Bus Karo Aunty to horror-thriller Adhura and biographical series Rocket Boys 2 — they all belong to be of varied genres. We caught up with the actor who is super stoked about how this year is going to be. “Berlin, Adhura and Paatal Lok are very different from one another despite revolving around dark plotlines. The commonality is they are all written with nuance. On the other front, Bas Karo Aunty is an out-and-out comedy. It’s a light-hearted film that is going to make you smile. That way, I am very fortunate to work in diverse genres,” he says.

We asked him about his experience with the series Adhura which also stars Rasika Dugal. The plot is set in an elite boarding school with a dark secret that may cause upheavals in the life of everyone linked with it. The actor opens to us about how the show’s experience was therapeutic, “It’s a deeply personal story that made me dig deep inside myself to locate those feelings that I had to portray, such as a sense of loss. The show gave me a great sense of relief at times and also served as answers to some of my own unresolved issues. There’s so much that the show gave me as a human... the whole experience was healing. That has been the case with my past shows as well.” Ishwak shares. For someone like Ishwak, who had no prior connection with the film industry and was an architecture student, his passion for films was flared by theatre. He was part of Delhi's reputed drama troupe Asmita Theatre Group for over eight years. He tells us how theatre shaped his interest in stories and films, “What I loved about my theatre group was we were doing plays spanning across contemporary to local and even global. Someday it was Premchand's stories, the other day it was Chekhov and Manto. Every time I was on stage, I was enthralled to play different characters — from cop, an army brigadier and a migrant to a politician and many more. This always created a hunger for versatility and diversity— something an actor craves for.”

On that note, we asked him why he chose acting over architecture and he replies with zest, “You have to be madly in love with your craft and acting was that for me.” Given the actor is also a bookworm and loves hoarding books when strolling in leisure, we asked him how he inculcated an interest in literature. He recalls, “I was interested in reading about design and philosophy as a student of architecture. I was reading philosophers like Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and Karl Barth, but I was never into fiction which changed when I joined theatre. There, we were reading short stories, plays, and biographies. I discovered my alltime favourite writers like Nadeem Aslam, Kamila Shamsie, and Ayad Akhtar who are of American Pakistani, and British Pakistani origin. They talk about issues of South Asian communities in the West with their pensive writing.”

Mail: priyamvada@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @RanaPriyamvada

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