During the making of Gangs of Wasseypur, an actor who was supposed to play a cop, walked out during a scene at a slaughterhouse as he couldn’t bear the smell at the location. This came as a blessing in disguise for Faisal Malik, the assistant director of the two-part crime movie. Director Anurag Kashyap forced Malik to immediately wear the police uniform and finish the shooting as per schedule.
This moment changed Malik’s life completely as the character of Gopal Singh became a viral sensation. Impressed with that performance, the TVF team approached him for the role of Prahlad in Panchayat. They told Malik the role of Prahlad was “written keeping him in mind.”
Overwhelmed with the success of Panchayat 2, Malik today is a busy man. “My life has changed completely. Frankly speaking, such a response was never expected. It’s magical,” Malik told indianexpress.com.
The actor, born in Allahabad, came to Mumbai 20 years ago and entered the world of cinema doing spot jobs. “My father was in a government job and my mother was a teacher. I was not good at studies so I came to Mumbai to try my luck at acting. But I soon realised more than acting, meeting the basic needs is necessary. So, I started doing odd jobs at production houses”.
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“From putting tapes into cameras to managing the floor and other odd jobs, I have done it all. Whatever I know today, I learnt while working here. Today, I produce shows, and develop content and I am involved in many things. It is all thanks to Anurag Kashyap who made my acting wish come true by allowing me to act in Wasseypur.”
Malik, 42, added that after Wasseypur, several roles of policeman were offered to him but he refused them as he didn’t want to be typecast. “Iftekhar banaoge kya mujhe,” Malik said, laughingly referring to the Bollywood actor known for playing cops in movies. “I don’t mind waiting for 10 years to get a show like Panchayat.”
Hailing from Allahabad and having spent a lot of time in villages, playing Prahlad was easy for Malik. The actor added that Panchayat 2 was more challenging for him than the first season. It was the final episode of the second season that made him nervous. The final episode of Panchayat that centres around Malik left the audience in tears.
“To be honest, when I read about the final episode of the Panchayat 2, I was very nervous. The episode is high on emotion and I am not a great actor. I was not sure if I could bring out such emotion. All eyes were on me. Finally, I had to stay away from everyone and keep thinking about the trauma I suffered during the personal loss in my family to meet the expectation of the character. I can’t tell you how difficult it was,” said Malik, whose father passed away last year during the coronavirus pandemic.
Talking about the success of Panchayat, Malik said the series impressed the audience as it depicts everyday life. “We may find the show humorous or funny, but it is the reality of life. The situations make us laugh, but if you go to a rural area that is life. And I will give credit to the writer and director of the show for keeping it simple,” said the actor.
He added that the third season of Panchayat is in the making.
Malik, who has also produced various shows and films like Revolver Rani and Saat Uchakkey, rues the use of excessive expletives and nudity on OTT shows. “See, Panchayat is something that you watch with your whole family. Of course, people in villages also give gaalis. But the use of gaalis also has to be situational. We can’t just ignore the family audience. You know what is the reality of Indian TV serials. They keep producing regressive shows. At least, we as an OTT platform should cater to their need,” said Malik.