Neil Bhoopalam, a young politician on 24, talks theatre, anxiety and challenges
Anil Kapoor’s thriller, 24, delivered what it promised: crisp writing, a professional look and feel, and mature performances by well-known names from the industry. It’s a much-needed break from the soap operas and reality shows on television, and is a sign of things to come, what with 24’s writer, Rensil D’Silva, penning another show—this time with a woman protagonist. Rumours are afloat that Kajol has been approached for it. But getting back to Colors’ 24, the Indian adaptation which is about Jai Singh Rathod (Anil Kapoor), an Anti-Terrorist Unit agent.
Neil Bhoopalam, plays a young politician on the show, and has been making an impact. Seen in Shaitan and No One Killed Jessica, the actor is happy with the series and hopes to be part of the next season. Bhoopalam, who will also be in Silva’s Ungli and NH10 with Anushka Sharma, shares his experiences on 24:
What happened between Shaitan and 24?
I had a small role in Bejoy Nambiar’s David. Meanwhile, I was tied up with theatre rehearsals and was touring with Rajat Kapoor’s Hamlet. I also did another play called The Djinns of Eidgah by Abhishek Majumdar and, this year, Atul Kumar’s version of Michael Frayn’s ’82 comedy, Noises Off.
Critics have been talking about how 24 has changed the dynamics of Indian television.
As an industry, we love to ride on a formula that works. When someone takes a risk and it works, others are like, “Let us try that.” So with 24, Indian fiction on television is changing.
You play a minister. How has the series changed your career?
The work I have done so far is niche, not mainstream. Now, I am on a platform where everyone’s watching me. As a leader, I have a few scenes delivering speeches. As an actor, I have never done that. In fact, giving public speeches was difficult; there are too many lines to remember!
How has working with senior actors like Anil Kapoor, Shabana Azmi and Anupam Kher been?
The day before the shoot, I was so anxious I couldn’t sleep. I was awestruck. I am generally quiet on sets. When you workwith such senior people, the best way is to sit and soak it in.
24 airs on Friday and Saturday, Colors, at 10 pm
— Madhuwanti Saha