Whether it was playing Khalid Mir in Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi or Sudhir in Netflix series Lust Stories, Jaideep Ahlawat has truly embodied every character to perfection.
Hailing from Kharkara village in Rohtak district of Haryana, the actor describes himself as a simple boy who has traversed a long journey from working in short films to big banner projects today, and almost on his own.
In his upcoming film, Hotel Milan, Jaideep will be seen essaying the role of Goldie, the custodian of Indian culture, who is out on a rampage in the small town to punish the Romeos in his menacing ways.
An avid reader, he says, “I read content on the film’s subject, besides the script. I believe that actors need to understand writing first to do justice to the script and the role.” In fact, as the groundwork for Raazi, the actor laid his hands on the political history of India in 1971 (the time when the film is set), and studied about the secret service agencies of other countries across the world, and watched his favourite movie, Munich.
He says he pays ample attention to his ‘look’ in a film and devotes considerable time to prepare well for that role. In Lust Stories segment directed by Dibakar Banerjee, he successfully experimented with a different genre, thus universalising his craft and reaching out to audience from all walks of life. “Streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, are much sought-after as these further the understanding of cinema at national and international levels,” he says, adding that he is keen on working more for these platforms.
Jaideep keenly admires the filmmaking styles of Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap, Imtiaz Ali, Vishal Bhardwaj, and Zoya Akhtar, and personification of the characters they create in their films.
He has another one with the National Award-winning filmmaker, Banerjee, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, slated to hit theatres next year.
The years spent at the Film and Television Institute of India gave him a holistic understanding of cinema and its various facets, techniques, and methods. “Teamwork is a critical component of ‘good’ work and I am merely a tool in the world of cinema,” Ahlawat says with all modesty. His emphasis on learning through each and every role and the team he has worked with is evident. “Vishwaroopam, and its sequel, is one of my crucial films, and the opportunity to share screen space with the Kamal Hassan is an experience that I cherish the most,” he says.
Interestingly, the man behind the actor is deeply connected to his roots and has not allowed fame to overpower him and those around him. Ahlawat still enjoys at his ‘adda’ with friends when not shooting in Mumbai and makes sure the randomness of life stays undisturbed.
He says, “Thinking only about cinema and movies makes you dull and serious. Films, though, a part of my life do not constitute life itself.” He continues to engage in farming activities back home, whenever he can and is not an ardent cinema watcher when not shooting. In fact, he prefers watching re-runs of the TV serial, Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain instead.