Be it through conversations or his roles on screen, Neil Bhoopalam surely knows how to touch one’s heart. The actor, while promoting his web series – The Raikar Case, doesn’t forget to ask about the situation in Pune and if people are staying home and safe. On his part, the actor is reading a lot during the current situation.
The Voot Select original is a family drama thriller, which also stars Atul Kulkarni, Kunal Karan Kapoor, Reena Wadhwa, Lalit Prabhakar and Ashwini Bhave. Neil is playing Superintendent of Police John Pereira. “He is the one investigating the case in the family,” he points out.
Did he connect to the character? “I haven’t played a cop before, and I felt that it would be very interesting. The makers have put in a lot of effort into the series. Even though it’s a drama and they are trying to make it look authentic, at the end of the day, there is presentation involved,” Neil says.
We are used to seeing over-the-top cop characters both on the small and big screen. How did he maintain the balance between realism and fiction?
The NH 10 actor says that it was their director Aditya Sarpodar who managed everything. “I remember there was a scene between Parul Gulati and me when our respective characters meet for the first time. He kept doing that scene and managed to get me to do it the way he was seeing it,” Neil recalls.
He adds that he also did his homework and met cops before the shooting began.
“One of my friend’s dad is a retired Superintendent of Police from Delhi. I had a chat with him. I think, it’s also an angry-young man kind of performance, so there is some inspiration from Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan),” says the actor, who loved Akshay Khanna’s performance in Mom and Nana Patekar’s avatar in Ab Tak Chhappan as cop.
He calls himself lucky enough to get a chance to perform in the remarkable story and also get a different ‘sur’ of performance, which didn’t happen earlier.
Neil, who started his career with theatre, has worked in different mediums – films, TV and OTT. How does he approach his characters for each medium? “I know there is a feeling of difference. I try and articulate my character properly. Because I have come from the theatre background, I have learnt most of the structure of acting there. In theatre, we properly dissect every scene, wondering why there is a comma or a full stop in the script,” he says.
“Movies, on the other hand, are larger than life most of the times, and one can use theatrics. A movie script can be 100-120 pages, and you can prepare and rework on it. Then, a series format is much longer, and there is a lot of writing that goes into it. Most of the stories have a hook. There is a more realistic style of performance on OTT platform, but I think some changes are about to come into it too,” he shares.
He admits that putting out too much realistic performance can be tricky too. “Because a lot is borrowed from your surroundings, and the audience knows how an actor will react to each circumstance. An actor can become predictable then,” he says.
He is still actively involved with theatre and says that he enjoys doing stage productions and its work process. “It’s also something I used to do the most. When movies happened, the newness used to scare me, but after the second season of 24, I understood how a shot is taken. I find techniques of starting a scene very interesting,” he says, adding, “I have realised one thing that in a year, I have to break up my performances. During monsoon, I do a new theatre production and have 40 days of rehearsals. The rest of the year I divide between movies and OTT. I look at it as a performance because I am an artist in the performing industry.”
Neil, who will next seen in the second season of Four More Shots Please, says that they were supposed to start shooting for the third season but because of the lockdown, that has been postponed.
“For the first time, I am also doing the creative job in a play titled –The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time, so I am very excited. I am also doing another production with Rajat Kapoor,” says the actor before going back to playing with his son.