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Updated: August 28, 2013 18:58 IST

The 24-hour challenge

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Neil Bhoopalam. Photo: K. Ananthan
The Hindu Neil Bhoopalam. Photo: K. Ananthan

Neil Bhoopalam on his role in the upcoming series 24

Neil Bhoopalam, known for his credible performances in No One Killed Jessica, Shaitan and Fatso credits his theatre background for his acting skills. He’ll be seen sharing screen space with Anil Kapoor in his upcoming TV series 24. He talks about the challenges of the shoot and the experience of working with legendary actors. Tell us about your role...

I play the role of a person who’s running for the post of the PM. Just a day before his swearing-in ceremony, there’s a threat to his life.

How did you get this role?

Roshni Banerjee, the casting director, gave me a call. I was very familiar with this project. They called me for a screen test and just when I almost forgot about it, I got to know that I had been selected.

What are the challenges you face as an actor?

Doing so many scenes in one day is one of the biggest challenges I faced. I come from a theatre background where the script is prepared one month in advance. You rehearse again and again to reach perfection but this is not the case with films or television.

Has theatre made you a better film actor? What are the pros of doing theatre and carrying its sensibilities to films?

For me theatre means discipline. When I started doing plays ten years ago, I never thought that I would do films and television series. So shooting for films has become much easier.

How do you strike a balance between theatre and films?

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with directors who come from a theatre background. Abhinay Deo (director of 24) also comes from a theatre family and has been very supportive and helped me achieve this balance by being flexible regarding the shooting schedule.

24 is one of the most expensive TV shows ever produced in India and the first to have a Bollywood star in the lead. Will it be successful in attracting youth?

I think it’s a form of revolution. In India you have easy online access to international shows. But introducing an Indian adaptation of such shows will make it more interesting and appealing. I feel proud to be a part of a trendsetting show like this.

How was it to work with senior actors Anil Kapoor and Anupam Kher?

I don’t have scenes with Anupam Kher. I have only shot with Anil Kapoor and Shabana Azmi. I was very anxious on my first day of shoot but gradually became comfortable. It was great to work with people having years of experience in the film industry. I was alert all the time and learning on the sets.

Would you prefer a lead role over a good script?

Yes, that goes with the saying, as an actor, a part of your profession is about being a narcissist. And the best way to achieve this is to have a prominent or lead role. And if that happens, it’s really great.

Keywords: Neil Bhoopalam24

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