Namit Das opens up on Choona and beyond
The actor talks about comedy, OTT, inspirations and more
Actor Namit Das talks to Indulge about the success of the comedy-heist Choona on Netflix, where he plays an interesting character, Triloki, who, like a chameleon, dons the hats of several sub-characters. The artist opens up about his experience, the comedy genre, inspirations, and future projects.
What got you interested in Choona?
The story itself, the ensemble, and Pushpendra Nath’s writing, direction, and vision are so original and out-of-the-box. I don’t think anything like this has come on Indian television or film.
You played several roles through one character, Triloki. Did the transition and picking up the nuances of each sub-character feel challenging?
They were very challenging. The whole thing was, How do I make these characters believable? With all these characters, there was a thin line that I was walking on. If you go a little bit overboard, it could have become a caricature, and that would not have been good for the story. If the character believes in it then the audience will also believe in it. Those were the tricky choices that I had to make to live with these characters.
How was the experience of working with an ensemble cast?
It was fantastic. We have such a young and fresh ensemble, and I am so happy to be a part of this cast. You have the legendary Jimmy Shergill, Aashim, Monica, Vikram, Atul Srivastav Ji, Chandan Roy, and Gyanendra. There was no competition. It was camaraderie till the end. We went through some difficult times during the shoot because we were also shooting it during some difficult periods. We helped each other. With a big cast, when you see the show, you realize how much everyone has gone through with the scenes and their graphs.
Do you think comedy, as a genre is underexplored?
In terms of what is happening on OTT, I feel it’s underexplored because, around four months back when I was watching shows, I was wondering where the fun element was because everything is so dark and grim. Has life just come to murder, mayhem, and chaos? Not really, because we want happiness to be by our side. I was like Where’s that breath of fresh air where people go through normal things and laugh about it? That’s why I was so excited about Choona, which gives you the chance to laugh despite being a dark comedy.
How is OTT helping you to explore your creative side?
I remember 20 years back when we started because we did not have a godfather in the industry, we were told to be satisfied with whatever we were getting in films or television. But that’s not the case now with so many mediums and shows. You have directors and writers; accordingly, there is a need for many actors who probably don’t fit the conventional bracket but are getting a lot of work because they are good actors. I think it’s a very good time to be an actor. I would extend this to social media also. God forbid, if I don’t have any work, I can easily open an Instagram account and put my work out there. You have something to say, you have all the platforms to say it through.
What kind of roles would you like to explore in the future?
I think as an actor if I limit myself to a particular kind of character, then I don’t think I’m doing myself justice. I want to explore the universe of human beings that exists out there and be that chameleon that you would never get tired of.
What lessons did you pick up on your journey so far?
Oh, that’s a book! [laughs] After being in the industry for such a long time, I’m just happy to be here. There are times when I get scared because if I don’t get an opportunity, I don’t know what else to do. There’s only one option that I have: acting, singing, or being an artist.
What inspires you?
Skill inspires me—skills, that have been honed through time and with patience. If you ask me what the skill of being an actor is, I’d be at a loss for words, but somewhere I think I know its awareness. It’s a level of patience you need to have with yourself and be at it. You have to give yourself the chance to make sense in the future, even if you are not getting something right at the moment. Knowledge and learning inspire me.
Your upcoming projects
There are shows called Magic of Shiri and Donali, and a film that I will begin shooting, Vrindavan.
Choona is currently streaming on Netflix.