I believe in Carpe Diem – Seize the day. Nothing is more important for an actor than to seize the moment and live in it,” says Jaimini Pathak in a recent interview with Storiyaan. He has established his own theatre and been in the industry for thirty years. He is known for Hazaron Khwahishein Aisi (2003), Black and White (2008), Ribbon (2017) and the Gujarati film Dhunki (2019). He was also featured in the Web Series TVF Pitchers, and has been roped in to play a role in the 9.6 IMDB rated recently released Web Series – ‘Scam 1992’ which is based on the book, ‘The Scam’ by the famous journalist Sucheta Dalal, which is about the 1992 Stock Market scam that involved Harshad Mehta who was part of many financial crimes that shook the entire country. Jaimini Pathak played the role of R. Sitharaman in this fantastic web series.
Here’s what he had to say about his journey with Hansal Mehta, the director of Scam 1992.
Questions and answers
What was your first reaction when you realized that you had been cast as a character that appears at the critical turning point of the series Scam 1992?
Firstly, I was thrilled with the way my auditions went. Then I got to know it was a Hansal Mehta project, and he is someone I admire as a director and as a filmmaker. When the role was confirmed, I was ecstatic to get a chance to work with him.
When I read the script, I understood that my character comes at a very crucial time in the entire story. Although, I never imagined that the response to the series and my character would be so overwhelming. So much appreciation and love!
To what extent do you think that your background in economics helped you play this role so marvellously?
I understood a few of the intricacies of the stock market, and I understood the character arch of the role I was playing and which part of the scam he was involved in. It’s been advantageous for me to understand my character and my role well. It’s mainly because of my economics background. Still, it’s not a necessity as it was very accessible to people without such a background as well, they understood what the story was about and all its features.
Walk us through your process of getting into the character of Sitaraman and how you managed to play the role so authentically.
I did a bit of background research about my character and the place he is coming from; it was Tamil Nadu. I had once gone on a school project to Coimbatore; there I talked to the people to get some insight on their accent. So, I would sit and recall the interaction I had with the students and teachers of that school, and I practised a lot on my own before I went to the set.
I asked the director, Hansal Mehta, if I had bettered the accent and if I made it authentic or not. He approved of it, and he gave me the freedom to develop my character the way I practised. That was how I approached it, first from my experiences than through characterization and practising to fit into my role.
A number of actors explain that the character they play on-screen often impacts their personal life. Did you experience this? If yes, then to what extent?
That sometimes happens, if it’s very demanding and a very lengthy role, then, in that case, it does get mixed with the actor’s personality. When I played Raja Khanna in TVF Pitchers, he was an extremely popular character. I had imagined him to be from Delhi. So I adapted his accent, imagined myself as him, and it grew on me. You also have to be careful that your own personality doesn’t disappear as you’re engaging with so many personalities of characters.
How did you feel when Anurag Kashyap, one of your favourite directors, complimented your performance on a public platform like Twitter?
Of course it felt great because I am a great admirer of him and his work. It coming from him really meant a lot. I got a great sense of validation you know, as someone as great as him complimented me for my work. Sometimes our accomplishments feel believable when we get reactions from people, it feels like approval, so it was a great feeling to have been appreciated by him.
How was the overall experience of shooting the series with Hansal Mehta?
It was surreal. Hansal placed a lot of trust in my abilities and my art and craft. He has been watching my journey throughout, we almost worked together a couple of times, but finally, it would be a concrete piece of work with him this time.
The entire magic of the series itself is, you could say, all the things have come together, the writing, storytelling, performances, background music, sequence, the title track, everything. The whole is always bigger than the sum of its parts when the magic happens. But every actor will find cons in their acting because the thing is, once you’ve delivered the performance, the performance is present forever. All in all it was a lot of fun!
What is the one lesson you learnt from Hansal Mehta that will always remain close to your heart?
The bond that is created on the set among all the creators, of trust, the bond of faith, and that, topped with the first class craft. How to improvise the part you’re given to act, how to create close personal bonds with co-actors, all these little pieces of advice, that kind of a creative well where ideas are just flying; it’s like a batsman while batting and making his team win. That is what Hansal Mehta is. The great atmosphere and how the work happens and how he enables it, it’s all him. It’s not something overpowering; he extracts the best from the actors and the story and makes sure the ship sails smoothly.