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I would love to play different kinds of roles: Mukul Chadda

The actor, who is best known for his role as Jagdeep Chadda on the Indian edition of The Office, will feature in the upcoming film Sherni alongside Vidya Balan. 

Suyog Zore

Mukul Chadda, who is best known for his role as Jagdeep Chadda on the Indian edition of the international hit series The Office and has featured in films such as Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012) and I, Me Aur Main (2013), has had an interesting journey. The actor quit a high-paying investment banking job in New York and moved to India more than a decade ago.

"I didn't enjoy it as much and I wanted to come back to India. So I quit my job and came to Bombay," Chadda told Cinestaan.

The actor had planned to take a break, but fate had other things in store for him. "I thought I would take a two-year sabbatical, do theatre, see where it goes and then get back to the business world. I always had an interest in the theatre and even while working in New York, I used to attend theatre classes.  All through school and college, I have always been involved in theatre. So I did theatre for a couple of years here, and I enjoyed it so much that I just kept doing it. And before I knew it, I pretty much became a full-time actor."

In the course of his career, Chadda has opted to never repeat himself in terms of performances. "I'm interested in roles where the character is interesting and different from the characters I have played in the past. Another thing I like to make sure of is that as an audience, am I enjoying what I'm reading? Is this a project or show that I would like to watch? So if I feel that when I'm reading a script, I agree to do the project," he said.

Though Chadda had been working in the industry for a while, he came into the limelight for his role as the boisterous and eccentric Jagdeep Chadda. Speaking about this memorable character, Chadda said, "It's an iconic role. I had to watch few episodes of USA Office to get a sense of the character. I thought it's a fascinating character. There was so much material in the script itself and the writers had done such a fantastic job, that it became easier for me. He is such an interesting character to play. He says absolutely ridiculous things. I wanted to make this character believe all these nonsensical crazy things he says and does. And it was not easy, because he does say absolutely crazy things, so to try and find what kind of person he must have been to believe in such ridiculous things was a journey for me. It's not like I got it within in a couple of episodes. With every new episode, I had to face a different set of challenges. Over time it did get easier but at the same time, every new episode threw different kinds of challenges."

Chadda has appeared on multiple web-series and believes that streaming platforms have been a boon for actors and technicians. "OTT has not just helped actors, but anyone involved in content creation, be it writers, cameramen and other people working behind the camera because so much content is being made in India right now that people who probably didn't have any opportunities a few years back are also getting new opportunities.

"Films are generally around two or two and a half hours long. Because of this time constraint, they are only about the protagonist's journey, and everybody else is just helping them in that journey. OTT has broken these time barriers. We are now consuming stories that can be a mini-series of four episodes or it can be of eight seasons. So we are getting stories where all supporting characters also have their own arc. These roles are not just there to support the journey of the protagonist, they have their own journey. So I must say that OTT is been a wonderful thing for so many actors," he said.

There have been a lot of divisive opinions on the ministry of information and broadcasting's decision to regulate OTT platforms. Chadda, one of the beneficiaries of theOTT wave, is of the opinion that content creators should not face any hindrances. "I'm not exactly aware of what kind of restrictions the I&B ministry will be putting on OTT platforms. I know there has been a lot of talk about censorship but I'm not sure about that. But in general, my opinion is that I hope there are no restrictions on people creating content. I agree that we should certify all content so that the right audience watches it. But personally, I would hope that there are no such creative restrictions on the content creators."

Chadda is married to renowned actress Rasika Dugal. Asked if the couple discusses work at home, he replied, "Yes, when you are living together, whatever is happening at work, you end up discussing it at home. I don't think we go out of our way to make the person a part of your project or involve them in your preparatory process. But whatever preparation the actor is going through for the role, the person living with them naturally gets to see a lot of.

The actor also divulged some details about his upcoming projects. "I'm doing a crime comedy web show called Sunflower. It's a new genre in the Indian web space. I don't think people have seen much content in this genre. It's directed by Vikas Bahl. We are now seeing so many dark shows, I think this crime comedy will be a breath of fresh air. I'm also doing a completely different role. The other thing I'm doing is the film Sherni with Vidya Balan. Amit Masurkar is directing it. It's based on the life of a forest officer. It's also a completely different role from what I have done so far. I'm really looking forward to both of these projects," the actor said.