For many years, Amol Parashar has been one of the most popular faces on the web, making a mark one show at a time even before the streaming platforms came calling and changed the way we consume entertainment. Amol’s Chitvan in the TVF show Tripling is almost cult, and a lot of credit for that goes to the easygoing actor who made the character his own.
After impressing with a short but impactful turn opposite Konkona Sensharma in Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare last year, the 34-year-old actor now stars in Save The Da(y)te, the first film in the Netflix anthology Feels Like Ishq, co-starring Radhika Madan, that’s now streaming. Reason enough for The Telegraph to catch up with Amol for a chat.
I can easily say that I liked your segment in Feels like Ishq the best. It’s fun and it’s easy-breezy and young. Were these the factors that attracted you to the anthology?
All of it! In this case, there was nothing that was ticking the wrong box. I wasn’t like, ‘Script achhi hain, but who are these people?!’ As actors, one mostly has these thoughts while getting into a project. But Feels Like Ishq is probably the smoothest decision I have taken in my acting life. At no stage did I think, ‘Oh, give me one day… let me think about this’.
Are you anything like your character Jay? Are you as cynical about marriage as he is?
Maybe… maybe… just a little bit (laughs). I think I can be a lot of things on different days. I can be Jay on a certain day. But I don’t think he says anything in the film which I would personally turn around and say, ‘Arre, yeh kya bakwaas kar raha hain?!’ I know and understand his point of view. I think till sometime ago, I was more Jay… I was quite cynical about love and marriage (laughs). But these are phases that come and go, and they are valid in the moment.
The great thing about this film is that both Avni (played by Radhika Madan) and Jay exist within all of us. It just depends on the day and what side of the bed you have woken up on and how hopeful you are feeling about the role of love in your life. The attempt in this film was that it shouldn’t be too easy to take sides. That’s what makes a piece like this, which has just two people, interesting. I have done a similar show before, which had two people talking.
Amol Parashar with Radhika Madan in Save The Da(y)te from Feels Like Ishq, now streaming on Netflix
Save The Da(y)te is very relatable. Jay had to be someone of reduced energy and probably the sadoo guy (laughs) because Avni comes in with a lot of energy and she is supposed to be the chirpy one. Instinctively as an actor, you need to dial it down. It seemed like a game we are playing, this constant thrust and parry. Overall, it was a fun and easy-breezy ride and I hope it’s translated on screen.
So has this reduced cynicism about love come about because of the life-changing year we all have had? Or would you attribute it to individual age and maturity?
Maturity ka toh pata nahin yaar! (Laughs) But this one year has definitely been a unique experience for all of us. I would say it’s that and also some experiences, friends and conversations that one comes in contact with. But then marriage… I don’t think my cynicism about that has changed much. I think with age one forms one’s own idea of love. You realise it may not be what it is in books and movies. And if two people feel like that, even if it isn’t the conventional definition of love, it’s great.
A fun scene in the film is when Avni throws Jay’s phone into the river and he understandably flips. Would Amol behave the same way?
Probably. But as Amol, if you could just give me back my contact list and my WhatsApp chats, then I wouldn’t react as much. A friend of mine always tells me that I rarely react to the big losses in life. If suddenly someone walked in and said, ‘Aapka gaadi chori ho gaya hain’, I would probably say, ‘Okay, let’s go and file a complaint.’ Because I realise that there is nothing I can do about it, there is no point getting upset and angry because that’s already done. In the film, I had legitimate reason to be angry because she threw my phone into the water!
Have you always been like this?
Ya. Maybe detached is not a great word….
Shah Rukh Khan once used the word ‘demotional’ that probably sums it up best…
I think ya! I can be very sensitive to some things. But I am someone, who from a very early age, was always like… ‘Achha, monetary nuksaan hua hain? Ispe main khoon nahin jalaaunga.’ I won’t lose sleep or my emotions over it.
Maanvi Gagroo, your co-star in Tripling, had once told me that you guys were the big daddies of the Indian web because you were doing successful shows when the web hadn’t exploded like it has today and streaming platforms were completely absent. Do you feel like the OG in a way?
I think so. In fact, she had done shows even before me. So where do you draw the line for OG? (Laughs) When we started out, we had no idea about streaming platforms. No one was saying ‘OTT’ at that time (smiles). The first season of Tripling came out on YouTube. The second season was out three years later and by that time, everything had changed. Between those two seasons, we saw the birth and growth of this beast — in a good way — of an industry. Remember the time when we would illegally download and watch shows and films? Now it’s all here. It’s a great leap that we are probably taking for granted. If not the OGs, I would like to say that we have at least seen it from point zero.
Anmol as Chitvan in Tripling
How have things changed for you as an actor over the last few years?
Even before Tripling, I had done quite a bit of work which didn’t become very popular. I did quite a few plays, and I had been around for a while. When Tripling exploded, it was the first reference for many people when it came to me. They were like, ‘Arre, Chitvan is such a funny guy! What comic timing.’ But a lot of people around me here — writers, film-makers, co-actors — knew me and knew what I could do. They knew I could do more than just comedy.
After Tripling, I had some currency. I was lucky I didn’t get stuck or bracketed. I was getting work that wasn’t dependent on just what my last work was. Of course, when something succeeds, you get a flurry of similar roles, but because offers aate rehte hain, I am willing to wait.
Amol as Osman in Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare
I am also lucky that the variety of work that I have done has worked. I was quite nervous before Dolly Kitty (Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare) because it was very different from what I had done before. I was scared people would say, ‘Baba! Kyon paka rahein ho? Serious kyon ho gaye?’ But thankfully, I was accepted and for many people, I may probably be more Osman (his character in Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare) than Chitvan.