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Abhishek Banerjee on Ajeeb Daastaans: 'Couldn't Believe Dharma was Making Such a Film'

Abhishek Banerjee and Nushrratt Bharuccha in a still from 'Ajeeb Daastaans'.

Abhishek Banerjee and Nushrratt Bharuccha in a still from 'Ajeeb Daastaans'.

Abhishek Banerjee talks about taking on the role of a washerman in Karan Johar's upcoming production 'Ajeeb Daastaans.'

After impressing the audience with his intense turn as ruthless hammer-wielding gangster Hathoda Tyagi in the web series Paatal Lok, Abhishek Banerjee is now gearing up for the release of Netflix’s anthology Ajeeb Daastaans, which is produced by Karan Johar under his digital banner Dharmatic. Abhishek appears alongside Nushrratt Bharuccha in a short directed by Raj Mehta of Good News fame in one of the segments of the anthology. Titled Khilauna, the short film explores a multi-dimensional relationship among Abhishek, Nushrratt, and child star Inayat’s characters. In Khilauna, Abhishek plays a laundryman, while Nushrratt essays the role of a maid.

Abhishek, who is popularly known for a string of successful comedic turns in films like Stree, Dream Girl, and ‘Bala’, said when he was initially offered Khilauna he couldn’t believe a film like that could be made under Karan Johar’s production, which is mostly famous for backing candy floss romance dramas and larger-than-life cinema.

“Firstly, I didn’t believe it when I got a call from Raj sir, saying that Dharma was making this film because its script is so twisted and inspired by a real life story. So, I was a little amazed that Dharma was making it. But I knew that I was getting into a very good team because Raj sir is such a good director. I have worked with Nushrratt before and she is phenomenal and the cherry on the cake was Inayat. She was so honest with her acting. It’s very difficult to work with children because they don’t pretend that they are acting. So, I learnt a lot through her in this movie,” Abhishek said.

Abhishek further said that he doesn’t get bogged down by the pressure of delivering a performance as his approach has always been to make his roles as relatable as possible.

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“I take cues for my characters from whatever I have experienced in real life. I used to live in a government quarter with my family in Delhi where you’ll find dhobis ironing clothes near park side. They somehow become the part of the society which you don’t see in Mumbai. So my role in Khilauna refreshed those memories. With the help of real life experiences, it gets easier to understand a character and its complexes. And Khilauna is basically trying to explore whether our characters are like a toy for other people to play around.”

Abhishek, who is also a casting director and runs a company called Casting Bay with Anmol Ahuja, also shed light on what kind of movies attract him as an actor. “I like to work in anything which is socially relevant and entertaining even if one is missing I don’t like to put my energies into it. As an actor, it is my job to provide people with the whole experience and to make sure they are happy and content with the kind of work I am doing. So, for me, any work on the visual medium has to be relatable and entertaining for the society or straight-up fantasies which we are yet to master.”

Abhishek is currently shooting for Amar Kaushik’s Bhediya in Arunachal Pradesh with Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon. The actor will also be seen in Akarsh Khurana’s Rashmi Rocket, Umesh Shukla’s Aankh Micholi, and Satram Ramani’s Helmet.

Ajeeb Daastaanas is set to release on April 16.