Special OPS the Hotstar web-series directed by Neeraj Pandey and Shivam Nair is being heralded by one and all for being a stunning and really good-looking thriller story.
Amidst a huge cast comprising of Kay Kay Menon, Karan Tacker, Sajjad Delafrooz, Muzammil Ibrahim, Meher Vij, Divya Dutta and others, Vipul Gupta who plays the role of Agent Bala stands out for his ever-charming persona and the layerings that he has in his character.
And this appreciation comes to him after his successful and noteworthy historical performance in the year’s biggest film release till date, Tanhaji.
In an exclusive conversation with IWMBuzz.com Vipul Gupta talks about his journey in the role of Bala and the memorable experiences that he takes home.
The response for Special OPS has been huge.
Yes, touchwood, the series has gotten a brilliant response and is being appreciated by one and all. It was good fun shooting for the series. People love Bala and the reactions are superb right now.
Take us through the process in which you prepared to play Bala?
Bala as a character has a lot of layering. He is surely an undercover agent. But he is also a chef, having a love life too and he has the best of action scenes. People are loving the action sequences. The shoot locations were really nice and Bala had his fight sequences in Grand Villa, Turkey and also in Jordan. Our action choreographer Cyril Raffealli has done a lot of Bollywood films. He’s one of the best when it comes to hand to hand combat. Neeraj Sir our Director is more on the realism space when it comes to action. So I had to learn a lot about it. Luckily, for me, I could grasp the action very fast and my Directors too were happy with my action. There was a lot of blood, sweat and swelling, but all that is worth.
Take us through the action nuances that you learnt for the series?
I learnt the Israeli action combat form called Krav Maga wherein it is the one to one hand combat. I knew what I was getting into, and learnt Taekwondo on my own. I learnt Krav Maga on the set. I had a small training with Cyril and it happened really swiftly.
Will you consider the role of Agent Bala in Special OPS to be one of the best roles that have come your way?
I would say that based on the kind of response I am getting. People have been telling me that I have hit a double whammy this year, with Tanhaji and Special OPS. Tanhaji came in January 2020 and I got to play one of the noted characters there. The film has gone on to be one of the biggest successes this year. The range and variation in both characters are huge. So the year has been kind on me, you can say. I will love to continue it this way and grab more good roles.
I learnt the Israeli action combat form called Krav Maga wherein it is the one to one hand combat. I knew what I was getting into, and learnt Taekwondo on my own.
Take us through the nuances of Bala?
My Director Neeraj Pandey wanted me to play Bala as a nice, soft, vulnerable guy. I also have my love angle and romantic scenes. Apart from being an undercover, there are a lot of layerings in Bala as I said before. He comes across as a very romantic guy. My Director wanted me to go through these scenes very realistically and it has come across well onscreen. Bala above all is very stylish and that element again has been captured well. People have loved the introduction scene of Bala where he shows his kick style. I have got comments saying that Bala is the most loveable among all of them.
What about the spectacled look that Bala has? You look a cool dude in that.
Yes, the spectacled look has added big time to his style quotient. I have been getting a lot of compliments, especially from girls for my look. I have never donned this look before. This was a thought that my Director Neeraj Pandey came up with. Credit to our Costume Designer Falguni here, the way she has raised all our characters in terms of look and dressing style is simply amazing.
The death of Bala brought in a sympathy wave too for the character.
In Neeraj Pandey’s Universe, his characters, whether small, big or very big, have their own take. And luckily, Bala had one of the better layering when compared to all characters. If you have noticed, his aura is big, starting from his macho look, to his specs, to his romantic angle and later his death. This is exactly what the Director was also targeting that Bala gets a lot of sympathy wave. If you have seen, his death scene was also huge wherein the antagonist who kills him says that he saw his own death in Bala’s eyes.
Which was the toughest aspect in the shooting process?
I genuinely enjoy challenges. I have been one of the biggest fans of Neeraj Pandey and I claim for that. As soon as I finished work for Tanhaji, I got a call from Friday Filmworks to test for this role. As soon as I got through, it was a surreal moment for me, as I got a chance to work with the man, Neeraj Pandey. It was such a nice learning experience. With me shooting mostly abroad, and with Neeraj Sir managing the out of India shoots, I was always guided by him. Challenge wise, the action part was a bit of a challenge as it was something new to learn. The way it has come out, and the manner in which the industry people are taking it, is amazing. I have now been told that action is also one aspect that I can look at in my film roles to come. The thought is to pursue and develop myself into an Action star. This has opened a new avenue for me. I have taken these feedbacks really seriously and was into rigorous training till the time Coronavirus outbreak happened.
In Neeraj Pandey’s Universe, his characters, whether small, big or very big, have their own take. And luckily, Bala had one of the better layering when compared to all characters.
So what are the plans for the future?
As you know, this is a real bad time for the industry as we are forced to wait and watch. Things were looking very bright for me and I had a couple of projects under consideration. With the kind of response I am getting and what I foresee and I amalgamate both of that, I see good films coming my way. I will want to move ahead with a small or medium budget good film as an action star. That’s what I am looking at now.
Best of luck, Vipul!!