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Feels great to play the lead and take charge: Jaideep Ahlawat on his turn in Paatal Lok

Ahlawat plays a washed-up police inspector, Hathi Ram Chaudhary, who is trying to unearth the conspiracy behind an alleged attempt to murder a television journalist, in the Amazon Prime web-series.

Suyog Zore

Jaideep Ahlawat made his debut in Hindi cinema 10 years ago with Aakrosh (2010). Though it was not a big role, he left his mark. Since then, the actor had been part of many films where he has played both negative roles and supporting characters.

But now, for the first time in his decade-long career, Ahlawat has finally got the chance to play the lead, in Amazon Prime Video's nine-episode crime-thriller web-series Paatal Lok (2020). "It's an amazing feeling when you are the lead in such an enormous web project," said Ahlawat.

The forty-year-old felt he had a big responsibility this time because he was representing so many people and wanted to perform his best for them. "The writer and directors have put so much hard work into the project, and it was my responsibility to be able to present it on screen," he said.

"When I was given the script, I felt this is the kind of show I want to be a part of! The show has been shot in incredible real locations which gives it a more authentic touch. It feels great to play the lead and take charge of things."

The web-series creator and writer Sudip Sharma had thought of Ahlawat while writing the story for Paatal Lok. "He thought Hathi Ram's character would suit me very well," said Ahlawat. "When he first showed me the script for one or two episodes of Paatal Lok, I was just drawn to this character. Then Sudip sir asked if I would like to play Hathi Ram. I immediately accepted! It was such a strong character that I don't think any actor would have been able to reject it."

Ahlawat explained that "Hathi Ram Chaudhary is actually a vulnerable, intense, deep character. Every person comes across someone like this in their life. Like every common man, he just wants to prove himself and to better himself, but he is also bound by his philosophies. In a society where urban decay, lack of morality and sleaze are rampant, my character is burdened with the responsibility of trying to navigate the pitfalls of being someone who is upright yet vulnerable at times in an attempt to be morally conscious; he also has the added pressure of balancing family and work life."

Paatal Lok is a crime thriller that follows washed-up police inspector Hathi Ram Chaudhary as he tries to find the real culprits behind an attempt to murder a famous television journalist. The investigation leads him into the dark alleys of the underworld. The nine-episode show created by Sudip Sharma has been receiving good reviews from critics and audiences alike since it was premiered on 15 May.