Almost after 15 years of incessant struggle, actor Divyenndu has finally carved a niche for himself in the film industry, thanks to his breakthrough role of a hot-headed gangster ‘Munna Tripathi’ in Mirzapur.
The massive success of Mirzapur, which originally released in 2018, skyrocketed Divyenndu to fame and his fan following has only grown and more accolades have come rolling in with the release of the popular crime thriller’s second season recently. Even as he continues to bask in the glory of the success of Mirzapur’s latest season, the actor reflects on what has made the show so universally loved and gained a cult status.
“I think the family part of the show has connected a lot with the viewers. No matter how much pretence this family has but it is the backbone of the show. Otherwise, there is absolutely no other reason why people would go so mad about the show. At times, I’m like, ‘is it really that good that people have been talking about it non-stop for two years?’ I have never felt overwhelmed than this in my life," says Divyenndu, on the sidelines of India Film Project.
Despite playing an utterly despicable character, Divyenndu’s performance as the emotionally volatile Munna bhaiya has been a favourite with the audience, owing to his ability to strike a tonal balance that allows him to dip in and out of villainous roles. However, Divyenndu says he doesn’t like to judge his characters.
“I don’t approach my characters in the way that I have to make people hate my character for the show to work. When you are supposed to do the so called bad thing to justify them in your action as a human, it becomes very, very important that you make them even more humane and vulnerable so that they get affected, so much so that in that reaction they do something which is so horrible like that. Whenever you play a character, there are a few shades that the writer or the maker highlights for you or underlines for you that this is the main shade of the character. Your job as an actor playing that character is to highlight that hidden shade.
“There’s a scene in Mirzapur wherein Munna is with Compounder (Abhishek Banerjee) and his gang at the dispensary and his Nani comes in and says, ‘beta, khana kha lena.’ And Munna tells Compounder, ‘Tumhari Nani bahut cute hai, bey.’ When I was reading this particular scene, I found it so beautiful. I thought that particular scene was such a different window for my character to open. To justify such character becomes really difficult and I truly believe that I was so fortunate that I got such an author-backed role. Whatever I could do with my performance I did but thanks to the writers because everything was there on paper for me. They gave me something really nice to chew on and I was just salivating for years. When I saw it I was so sure that ‘this is exactly what I want. This is my kind of stage.'"
When asked if he was ever scared that the viewers might get inspired by his character, Divyenndu says, “I definitely feel scared. Because the kind of messages that I receive from fans are often very influenced. I was recently shooting in Benaras, two 13 or 14-year-old boys came to me and said, ‘Thank you sir, aap logon se bahut inspire hote hain Mirzapur mein.’ So, I got a little scared and started wondering whether they were getting inspired by my character or me."