NewsX was recently joined by Actor Priyanshu Painyuli, last seen in Prime Video’s Mirzapur 2, for an exclusive conversation as a part of its special series, NewsX A-List. Priyanshu talked about his famous character ‘Robin’ from Mirzapur 2 and its famous dialogue “Yeh bhi theek hai” and OTT platform. When asked about how it feels to be part of something special, Priyanshu said “It is very very overwhelming. When people now just recognize you on-road and say Robin Bhaiya, Robin Bhaiya then they just say “ek baar yeh bhi theek hai boldo” (Please say “yeh bhi theek hai” one time). When you post anything on Instagram, anything on social media people are just commenting every day telling me “yeh bhi theek hai”. The kind of memes which I have come across- funny ones, everything. I think a lot of brands used this tagline in their promotions so it’s nicer to see a connect with this character. My approach to this character was not to make him a funny guy.”
“Also, Mirzapur was already so big and Mirzapur 1 was a massive hit and all the characters became very big. And in between all these legendary actors- Ali Fazal, Pankaj Tripathi and Shweta, the kind of characters they built like Munna Bhaiya, how does Robin connect with people, how does he stand out. Though the character was also written in that way, the kind of way he dressed, he looked also like he was not part of Mirzapur, he did not look like a part of that world. I gave him this line because I thought that defined him, this would be a line which he only tells himself,” the actor added.
When asked if his character’s famous line was his idea he said, “Yea this was during the discussion with the writer and the director I said we need to give a Takia Kalam. And generally in India, I have seen a lot of people doing this and a lot of people have a certain way of repeating one thing again. I have seen some people do this they say ‘By God, by God’ a lot of times in Dehradun, and they use it for questioning and answering it. So I think a character like this required a Takia Kalam kind of a phrase and ‘Yeh bhi theek hai” was something I had heard from one uncle and I thought it looked very nice for this character. When we kept using it, the director got very excited. And if you noticed it this is one line he (Robin) said only to himself, he never said it to the character in front of him whether he is in a romantic mood or angry or irritated. But it’s great to see everybody using it. The kind of times in which we were in 2020 kind of went like turmoil, a roller coaster so this line was great for everybody to have.”
In a short span of time Priyanshu has done a lot of projects which include theatre, Hindi movies, a Hollywood film, web series, and various other projects with the OTT platform. When asked if he has any favorite and what is scope for newer actors and upcoming talent with the rise of OTT, Priyanshu said, “I think for me and a lot of actors who have done stage remains stage. The more stage you do the higher you get high performing. There is not any day where you do on stage and not feel like performing but there are days when you go in front of the camera and feel lazy and make excuses like ‘it’s cold and how are we shooting’ etc. On stage it is always like ‘Let’s perform’, it is the instant gratitude and applause that you get from the audience on stage. But they are all very different mediums. I love cinema and camera acting also because the kind of approach you have to do, the kind of process you go through and the number of days we spend thinking about one part and preparing it, you have to be hooked for long. Thankfully, I should say I’m still early and exploring but luckily I have explored web and hindi film and a lot of variations in my experiences and I’m trying to do different kinds of rolls also. As I say that this is where I come to OTT side, OTT is giving us the opportunity to do different kinds of roles. OTT is experimenting, OTT is the new wave of entertainment right now for everybody. People watch shows while travelling, planes, everywhere, at home after coming from work. Now theatres have opened and we are looking when people will come to theatres, as we really want our films in theatre as well, but now the OTT boom happened because of the unfortunate pandemic. People were at home and locked in and some massive shows came by like Patal Lok and Scam 1992, Mirzapur and what not in different kinds of OTT. But if you see, the range great, new actors have come in, but not just actors but writers, directors and makers and everybody. So we are actually experimenting a lot because there is a comfort factor and we can tell a story in a different format. It is not just two hours, we can explore a character, a part for 8 hours and across seasons. So I think this is great for actors and writers and directors, OTT is a different boom. But I just love the cinema feel also when I say OTT OTT it’s not that I just want to be doing work for this. My heart is also theatre. When you watch an actor on a big screen, in a dark room with your popcorn, that’s an experience.”
Speaking about how the journey has been like coming from a non-filmy background and moving to Mumbai, Priyanshu remarked “Since school college days I used to the most exciting thing for me was to go to the notice board and see that there’s a next competition happening for dance and drama to take part in. Musically I was inclined and I used to play percussion, get into the dance team and learn to dance drama, anything and everything possible. In studies also I was not bad, I used to pass with some decent marks I would say. But I think my teachers knew that this guy is inclined towards that from the beginning. It was very interesting to do, and I love telling stories and if my friends ask me about I have been upto, I start from the beginning and then I come to the middle then I go to the end. I generally love telling stories, whether it is through music, dance or drama or movies or stage. I want to be a storyteller, that’s what pulled me in and I had to come to Mumbai to explore hindi cinema. I did some work down south in Bangalore also, I started my theatre there we shot something and I learned film making and short some documentaries and music videos and also short films. I still make a lot of short films. Bombay was where I had to step in and start my game all over here and thankfully the theatre happened as I wanted to and shifted to films.”
Talking about his latest project ‘Rashmi Rocket’ and when can the public see it Priyanshu said, “2021 is the plan, we are still finishing it. We have one last one more schedule to finish. I just wrapped Mumbai’s last schedule yesterday. Hopefully it should be out in the second half of 2021 and we are also looking at how audiences are reacting to coming to theatres now. Rashmi Rocket is special to me because I have seen my dad wear the uniform and this the first time I’m wearing a uniform, my role is of an army officer, it’s a sports drama and Tapsee is playing athlete and how our love story unveils with the sports backdrop in the film. We are covering a very important issue which needs to be told and that is what attracted me to it. It’s a very important message and I think it has to come out in a film like this and I think Tapsee also believes in it. So that is the whole drama of the film and I’m very excited, let’s see what happens now,it was a great experience working with Tapsee.”
When asked if there is going to be another season of Mirzapur Priyanshu said, “I think this is the one question I’m asked every day and at every shoot and I’m very eagerly waiting to start 3 again and also waiting to see where the writers are going to take this character but this year we should start making it. The plans are there but we have not formally planned when and where are we going to start. But it is there, we know we have to start 3 this year. Let’s see and let’s hope we get Robin back and something else and something more. The exploration of the character hasn’t happened and we have kept him mysterious. Apart from Mirzapur there is another show, I can’t reveal about it, I have to start shooting for it today at the city (film city), but let’s just keep that also mysterious and in suspense. It is a very interesting show with a very good cast and there is a film called ‘Pippa’ which has been announced and I can talk about, it’s with Ishaan Khatte, Mrunal and Raja Menon is directing and that’s a war drama and I’m really excited for that.”