The Viral Fever (TVF) recently released the second season of their popular series ‘Panchayat’ on Amazon Prime Video. After the phenomenal success of Panchayat 2, actor Faisal Malik, who plays the role of Prahlad, talks about his character, the sad climax, his favourite scene and much more during an exclusive interview with us.
How has your life changed after the success of Panchayat Season 2?
In the last 10 days, life has become a little topsy-turvy. My phone is constantly ringing, people are writing me messages on Facebook and Instagram. Even I am feeling a bit weird because we had not anticipated this kind of success and love. It feels like we are living a dream. It feels so great that I can’t even express it in words.
Why do you think that season 2 became a bigger hit than season 1?
Even we did not anticipate this. But the credit goes to the creators of the show, i.e, Deepak Kumar Mishra, Chandan Kumar and the entire team of TVF. They wrote the show very beautifully. We are now living the characters and the viewers like that. The audience is very intelligent now. If the content is good, they like it and praise it.
While many mega-budget films are collapsing at the box office, Panchayat Season 2 has recorded a great success. What do you think is the reason behind it?
There’s an honesty in the show. Be it the story, or the way it has been directed, everything has been done with full honesty. Being easy is tough. Putting more masala in the film might not work always. The audience sometimes wants to watch simple things. And it is unfortunate that many of the films are not working because a lot of money is lost when the film flops. I just wish good for everyone. Everyone must prosper.
Why was the climax of Season 2 so sad and heartbreaking?
I always say that death is a common part of everyone’s life. It’s not like we portrayed something extraordinary. It happens to all of us. And if you are watching a character, then you’ll go deep into his life too. If you are laughing with him, then you’ll have to cry too. This is what a story is made of! Such incidents can happen to anyone. And so, it happened with my character. I was just worried that people might not like it. But thankfully, people have accepted the climax.
How demanding was it for you to shoot the climax?
It was very demanding because I was doing such a scene for the first time. I just knew that I had to do it honestly because people will catch you if you are lying or faking your emotions. So, it was a tough fight internally. I even fought with the makers because they were trusting me a lot and I thought I couldn’t do it. But the director and writer helped me a lot.
We all have lost someone in our lives at some point or the other. So, I just had to feel the pain internally and enact it.
What was the atmosphere on set while shooting for the climax?
Deepak had briefed everyone to stay quiet and asked us to assume that someone had actually died nearby. Such an atmosphere is very necessary for concentration. When I reached the set, everyone was quiet. I was like ‘Arre Baap Re!’ The pressure had just multiplied. It took us 4-5 days to shoot the climax. So, all these days, I just used to sit quietly and everyone helped me.
How was your experience shooting for the show in a village?
When we went to shoot for season 1, we realised that it could be the best set because villagers don’t come to watch the shooting. We just roam around the entire village and shoot. People are very nice. However, it feels weird to shoot for the crying scenes at live locations because then the public gathers and watches you and you lose your concentration. But the people of that village are very nice. They never bother you.
How did you associate with TVF?
Firstly, I am a big fan of TVF. Secondly, the journey of TVF began in front of me and I have seen them grow. Arunabh Kumar’s name will be mentioned in media education in future because he works with honesty. The audience of TVF is very genuine and they have built that audience with a lot of hard work. TVF has changed my life. I am grateful to Deepak, Chandan and Arunabh.
Can we hope that your association with TVF will last much longer?
Definitely! If they don’t, then I will make sure. They are my friends.
Which character from Panchayat do you like the most?
I liked working with Raghubir Yadav Ji. He never looks at the monitor after giving a scene. And he also told me to not look at it. And now, I also don’t look at the monitor.
Raghu bhai is amazing. When he is on set, it feels like he is the youngest of all. All of us have a lot of fun when he is around. We all love him because of the kind of energy he carries with himself. I interact the most with him and I love his character.
How was your experience working with Jitendra Kumar?
I have always been a fan of Jitu. I used to stop him to tell him how much I love his work. And now I finally got a chance to work with him. He is a close friend now. He is an amazing actor. I believe that Jitu has a phenomenal future. He’ll do amazing films in future. He deserved appreciation.
What’s your favourite scene in Panchayat?
My favourite scene that I enjoyed shooting was with Ashok Pathak in Episode 3. Ashok Pathak is a great actor.
The best scene that I liked overall was when we were sitting together for a party and there was a fight between Jitendra and Raghu Bhai. In the scene, Jitu says, ‘Dosti kehne se nahi hoti hai’.
Jitu did that scene fabulously.
How did your family and relatives react after watching the show?
I got amazing reactions. Some were even making fun of me and teased me saying, “Arre Mote..!” Friends will always be friends.
You are not active on social media. Now after the show’s success, when your DM’s are flooded with messages, how are you handling your social media accounts?
I am unable to handle it. I made the Instagram account when Panchayat Season 1 was released. I am not active on Facebook too. Handling social media is tough for me. I want to apologize to my fans who have messaged me and I have not been able to reply. I won’t be able to focus on my work if I get myself into social media.
You hail from Uttar Pradesh. How was your journey from UP to Mumbai?
It’s been 20 years since I moved to Mumbai. I was initially in Allahabad, then Lucknow, then Delhi and later I moved to Mumbai looking for work. I was a part of many shows, fiction and non-fiction. I did all kinds of work. I started my company 8-10 years ago where I produced some films. Life is going good.
What has Mumbai taught you?
I have learned patience. I just keep working for myself. I am not here to prove anything to anyone. Now when the public has recognized me, my responsibility has increased. I have to do much better work now. I can’t take this love for granted.
When is Panchayat Season 3 coming?
There will be a season 3. The date has not been announced yet. But we’ll surely inform the audience when it is finalised. Season 3 is bound to release because the second season was such a success. The makers are already working on it.
What are your other projects?
I am doing a film with Paresh Rawal. It is directed by Raj Trivedi. I have also done a Malayalam film with Mahesh Narayan. But I am speaking Hindi in that film. I am also producing a show with Mahesh Narayan. I am also doing a Netflix show, the details of which I can’t reveal right now.