Anurag Singh Bohra | New Delhi
Gul Panag speaks at length about her new web series Patal Lok, podcast series Special Mission, Instagram live interview series, fitness, the ongoing pandemic, and the economic crisis looming overhead.
Q. Paatal Lok is your second collaboration with Amazon Prime after The Family Man. How was the experience of working with the director duo Avinash Arun and Prosit Roy?
I worked more with Avinash because the track I’m part of is directed by him. It’s the first time I’m working with a cinematographer-cum-director which is going to be a new experience. Avinash is both an outstanding director and cinematographer. And two skills coming together for me was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. There was a lot of clarity from what the filmmaker wanted from the actors.
Before Paatal Lok there have been thousands of cop dramas in India. But there is a perspective of an average cop who’s not achieved much in life. Another reason I liked the story is in the manner the socio-economic divide has been addressed.
I am playing Jaideep Ahlawat’s wife Renu who has made peace with her life as her world revolves around her husband. Hathiram’s (Jaideep’s character) career has not been going anywhere in this series. Renu knows about Hathiram’s failures yet tries to have a positive outlook although she herself has aspirations. For me, it’s important to be part of interesting projects that are mounted on a big scale. And also be part of stories that haven’t been told before. Before Paatal Lok there have been thousands of cop dramas in India. But there is a perspective of an average cop who’s not achieved much in life. Another reason I liked the story is in the manner the socio-economic divide has been addressed.
Q. You’re sharing screen space with Jaideep Ahlawat. How was the shooting experience on-set?
Jaideep is an outstanding actor. When you work with good actors your job becomes effortless. Acting is all about reacting. If the person on the other side is doing their job dutifully your work becomes easier. My scenes with Jaideep are layered around what Jaideep brought to the table. Plus it’s a director’s medium. With an outstanding director, good actors, accurate costume and production design, DOP, I just have to concentrate on my performance. My part as an actor is 80% done.
Q. Your podcast series Special Mission was about real-life stories on armed forces and your Instagram live interviews also focus on game-changers from different walks of life. How different is it work on content based on real-life individuals as compared to a movie or web series?
It’s a lot of responsibility. In a podcast, I have to convey everything with my voice rather than facial expressions. The most important thing in a podcast is authenticity. I myself come from an armed forces family. My father served thirty years in the Indian army. I feel whatever I finally turned out as an individual my best qualities come from my upbringing in the armed forces. I was honoured to be a part of Special Mission as there are stories not only of courage and valour but also the triumph of the human spirit.
My father served thirty years in the Indian army. I feel whatever I finally turned out as an individual my best qualities come from my upbringing in the armed forces.
With regard to my Instagram live, it’s an exciting medium because it is unpredictable. The best thing you can do is prepare two to three questions. Everything else is on the spot. There is no editing or retakes. I really feel for what happened to Harjeet Singh in Punjab in the line of duty. He was just doing his job. It was amazing to see Harjeet’s calm and dignified response about the incident and the fact that his son still wants to join the police force.
Q. How important is it to keep a check on health and fitness in the present times, especially for the youth?
I think we have a great responsibility towards ourselves and society to keep ourselves healthy. Eating right is very important. Fitness has always been a very important part of my life.
Q. Milind Soman recently came up with his memoir ‘Made in India.’ Since you’ve also been into fitness; are you also planning your autobiography in the near future?
Definitely, I would like to write. Not specifically an autobiography. But a lot of stuff that I learned over the years I would like to share.
Q. Due to the shutting down of studios and theatres what according to you can be done to sustain the theatre and film industry?
There has to be a stimulus that has to come from the government across industries. Not just bigger companies but also small caps and mid-caps need to be revived which have taken the biggest beating in the market. As far as theatre and films are concerned there will have to be some measures taken on part of the government. The only relaxation that has been given is the income tax that will be paid at an annual 9% annual interest rate instead of 20. People don’t have food to eat and it’s not just about daily wagers. There are taxpayers who have no work right now. We all are paying indirect tax. So, there should have been more relief from the government in the form of direct taxation which includes GST and income tax. There’s not been any support on part of the government as far as SMEs and MSMEs are concerned. Most theatres and film production companies are under that category. SMEs are the largest employers in this country.