In conversation with Gulshan Devaiah, Armin S. breaks down getting his character right.
I have seen the work that has gone into making this series. Obviously, the USP, which you can see in the title of this series as well, is the duality of the character you are playing. Do you treat your character as two separate individuals or as one, for shooting’s sake? How do you keep that separate, at least for shooting purposes?
When I started preparing for the part, I had similar questions. I did not know if I should approach my character as one person or as two people. I think it is mostly one person. Once I had a sound understanding of the person I was playing and I had interpreted the text and had discussions with the director and writers, I started to get a feel for the character. You lay the foundation and you build the illusion of the character. It is one person – there is a side to that person that nobody knows but human beings are generally good at not showing certain things. As an actor as well, we try not to reveal a lot of things to keep the intrigue and the mystery going for each character.
However, in some places, I did approach it as two different people. There is no logic to it but in some scenes, it was easier for me to think of it as a different person – but mostly it is just one person who is hiding some aspects of his personality.
Does that lead to different physical manifestations? How do you physically depict the differences, given there has to be some foreshadowing even when you play the ideal husband?
Nothing very consciously, but sometimes, unconsciously, some of the things you say, I may have done. I won’t reveal too many details, but there are things with my hand that I do, which I have worked out in some places. In some places, it is obvious, in others, it is not obvious like that. But it’s not scripted so it’s not like the camera is drawn to my hands. It’s something I came up with during the rehearsal process – that I could do these things with my hands.
The text really guides you. The text is where you get the building blocks from. The germ in my mind, comes from the text, because you interpret the text, and that’s where ideas start to originate.
What about making it seem real then – because the two sides are so diametrically opposed?
I have to accept the reality of the character once I interpret the text, and I cannot question it as Gulshan. Because then, I have not accepted that reality. Even if I question it, I still have to accept it. And that’s what I have been taught as part of my honing my character. This is a basic requirement as an actor. If I want to do something, the first thing I do is I accept the reality. There is no question of morality. My sense of morality should not come in the way.
You talked about not questioning the morality of the character. Do you still have to find a connect though, that draws you to the human?
It is possible to have a potential connect with characters, or possible empathy with characters. I think, in my case, it is intrigue. I have a lot of intrigue that I generate for my characters. So many actors do that – they can play negative characters but they are not negative people. You can totally pretend to be somebody else and get away with what they do. I was intrigued with this particular character and I wanted to have my own interpretation of it.