Hathoda Tyagi populates the netherworld in Paatal Lok. With 45 kills on his hammer, his eyes are as dead as his soul and you would think compassion is not in his nature. He ends up surprising you, as does the series that is earning acclaim for its layered portrayal of the rot that is gnawing at the heart of our society.
Abhishek Banerjee, who played the scene-stealer Jana in Stree and went on to play the likable goof in films such as Dream Girl, has taken a sharp turn into the dark alley with this role. The fact that he keeps Vishal Tyagi human despite his crimes and manages to earn the audience’s sympathy as the victim of a flawed system is a testimony to his performance and the solid writing of the show.
Abhishek is at this moment enjoying all the applause coming his way. “The show has changed our lives,” he says in a matter of fact way. Co-starring Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi, Gul Panag, Swastika Mukherjee and Ishwak Singh, it has been created by Sudip Sharma.
He is particularly enjoying the memes where Hathoda Tyagi has been compared with Thor. “I am a huge fan of Thor and this is just so crazy and so sweet.”
However, for the actor, the biggest compliment is how “the women in his life” refuse to watch Paatal Lok. “I think that it is the ultimate compliment because the show has turned out as scary as we wanted to make it,” Abhishek says.
Abhishek says he never thought he will get such a role so early in life. “After my roles in films, there has been this typecasting as the quirky, funny boy and my next three releases are all comedy. I never thought I would get to play such a high-octane character so early in life. I could also learn so much from playing a character like Vishal Tyagi.” The actor will next be seen in Zee 5’s Kaali 2 where he will also be seen speaking Bengali.
Talking about how he prepared for the role, he said a performance like this could not come from a place of aggression. I needed to feel the pain, grief and agony and the performance had to come from that. It was my process and I think I have managed to do justice to it.”
Abhishek is yet to watch the show. “ I end up heavily criticizing my performances so I don’t want to do that now.” He wants to enjoy the applause as of now, and he has deservedly earned it.