Interview: Anupriya Goenka talks about playing a powerful role in Hotstar's Criminal Justice
Anupriya Goenka has always aimed at choosing niche roles that allow her to grow as an actor — right from her debut in 2013 with the Telugu film Potugadu where she played a human trafficker. Although she has worked in just 10 films in the last six years, the Kanpur-born actor is proud of her choices and the films she has been a part of.
Her latest project is the Hotstar Special Criminal Justice — an officially licensed Indian adaptation of the hit BBC produced series. The 10-episode series features Anupriya as a fresh law graduate and her stint in the world of crime and justice. “My character (Nikhat Hussain) is an assistant to Mita Vashisht’s role. She’s naive, simple and new to the industry. As the series progresses, she finds her space and understands how the world works. The challenge was to show her strengths as a lawyer, while also portraying her innocence as a fresher. It’s this dichotomy of her character that drew me to the role,” shares the 31-year-old.
Having grown up in a business family, Anupriya says that she has seen courtroom functionality rather closely, which helped her for this role. That apart, the Mumbai-based actor interacted with criminal lawyers to analyse and understand the trade better. “Nikhat is an extremely righteous professional. She can go quite a mile to help others. Before we started the shoot, I met a few lawyers who also spoke about being emotionally involved in cases initially, which is similar to my character. I spent time with them to see how they work and reflect their body language,” says the Sacred Games star.
For the uninitiated, Criminal Justice is a 2008 BBC series, and the first season revolves around a young man, who wakes up to a woman dead beside him and is later charged with murder. The series focuses on how he goes through the criminal justice system and prove his innocence. The Hindi remake marks the digital debut of director Tigmanshu Dhulia (of Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster fame), along with Vishal Furia and features actors Pankaj Tripathi, Jackie Shroff, Vikrant Massey and Mita Vashisht.
Talking about working with Tigmanshu and seasoned actors like Pankaj Tripathi and Jackie Shroff, Anupriya says, “Pankaj sir and I share quite a bit of screen space. So we had a lot of time to discuss cinema, and acting in particular. He shared a lot of personal experiences and stories that inspired me. The fact that he’s such a brilliant actor is known. Every time he had a scene that I wasn’t a part of, I would run to the monitor to watch him act. I’m grateful for these opportunities.”
Anurpiya has earlier worked with Salman Khan in Tiger Zinda Hai and Shahid Kapoor in Padmaavat as well. “Salman has the aura that you’d get from an established star in the country. Shahid, on the other hand, was so supportive. He spent time discussing scenes that helped us improvise together,” she says.
Streams on Hotstar.
Watch the trailer here: