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Television actor Parag Tyagi thinks that people are always on the forefront to judge appearances, attitude, work, etc. Recently, the actor essayed a ‘never-seen-before’ character in Anil V Kumar’s original work ‘Ratri Ke Yatri’, based on the life of people working in red-light areas. Discussing various aspects of the show, Parag shares why there’s an immediate need to change your mentality and stop being judgemental about them.
What were the key things that got you interested in Ratri Ke Yatri? It is different from the projects you’ve done so far.
Ratri Ke Yatri is a Hungama original series and is produced by my favorite Anil V Kumar sir and it’s his debut as a producer. Ratri Ke Yatri is a compilation of five stories and neither of them are interconnected to one another. All the stories have only one thing in common and that is the red-light area. Speaking about the character in this story, he is living in the pain of loss and is seeking validation for, maybe love or maybe physical pleasure, wisdom or refuge and finds it in the most trivial place. I really want this show to reach out to as many as people possible as it gives voice to abundant emotions.
The show traverses through five different stories out of which the story that I am part of, is Mukti. When the character was narrated to me, I was really intrigued by the character lead. The main and the utmost reason behind me playing this character is Kumar sir because I got the opportunity to work with him after a very long time. When I had a word sir I told him that I want to do the role but after listening to the story, I believed that the character offered to me was the best character of my life. I personally feel that it was a very tough and complex character with many layers. My character is defeated in real sense by the circumstances around him, he is the person who has lost all hope in life and that is when he decides to go to a red light area. That’s when he finds happiness in the most unexpected way. I’d really like to thank Anil V Kumar sir for pushing me to do my best. I have done justice to the character and when people watch it, I hope they connect and give me reviews on how they actually felt about it.
Going by the trailer, the characters are leading an incomplete life. Define the ‘Incomplete life’.
Whatever you have seen are stories of leading an incomplete life. So, the definition of an incomplete life for me is whenever a person is unable to achieve certain things in life like love or a successful career. Perhaps, the meaning or the definition or incompleteness may differ from person to person. The character that I am playing is at a very crucial point in his life and has lost everything from career to love and is absolutely clueless and completely lost. He is seeking for wisdom as to what to do in life. And that’s when he decides to go to the red light area and that’s where he finds the wisdom he is looking for and that’s where his life takes a turn and redirects him.
Too often, red-light areas are looked down upon. What do you think is the reason behind this? Why is this such a taboo subject, and why people working as well as the ones visiting, looked down on so much?
You’re absolutely right when you say that red-light areas are looked down upon. People who work there are also treated in an unfair manner. This is something that I feel is wrong because there is no need to be judgmental. The day we stop being judgmental, our world will truly become a better place to live in. We need to understand that they are the same people as we are and they too have emotions. They also feel sad, they too get angry or frustrated and they do feel happiness. Actually, I am not quite sure about happiness, they might feel happy on a very superficial level. But the point is that they are just as we are and deserve happiness too. We shouldn’t restrict ourselves from learning, we should learn a little something every single day and include the lives of people who are working in red light areas and I mean not just them but any anybody you meet in your journey. I think it’s important to drop our pretentious conduct and be more accepting than usual for a better world. This will not only help us improve but also bring love and most importantly respect for one and all and will also help us create better understanding. I often see people passing judgements without haste, ‘acha woh yeh kaam karta hain ya karti hai’ while it’s not even in our place to say since you never know as to why the person is doing that and in what circumstances.
Any apprehensions that the show may draw adverse reactions about showing the other side of the story?
No, I don’t feel I have any apprehension as such that it might draw an adverse reaction and I’ll tell you why. It is because the show is depicting an aiding value that ‘we should stop being judgmental’ and I am also aware that the particular topic on Red-light areas has been touched upon in varied lights before but, this time through the powerful medium of an OTT platform, we are bringing light to this topic in a different way. It draws attention to the emotions and how they gain practical wisdom and solace in life. I think this show is more like an eyeopener and a game-changer in the patent pattern of the red light zone by trying to show that a person can find happiness in the least expected places as well.
At a time when so many web shows are jostling for space across OTT platforms, where do you think Ratri Ke Yatri would stand out?
I agree that there are various subjects and concepts available across different OTT platforms but I feel Ratri Ke Yatri stands out because of its unique concept. The red light area which has been portrayed on big screen or even in web series over the years are shown in a particular manner but our show aims at portraying it in a different manner altogether, what we are trying to show is that emotions and wisdom exist in this place. This is a compilation of those five stories which to my mind are extremely sensitive and that’s precisely the reason why this show is definitely different from other shows & unique as well. The reason behind this is it has sensitively depicted the emotional quotient of the red light area and how a person can gain practical wisdom after visiting that area, so I must confess this is a unique show in every aspect.
Could you share details on your upcoming projects?
So, personally, lockdown has been really great for me. Shefali, my wife, was in Bigg Boss House for about three months and this lockdown gave us the opportunity to spend ample amount of the lost time together. I have been regularly working out with the makeshift equipment available to me at home. I didn’t miss out on a single day as it has become more like a lifestyle to me. And of course, because of my upcoming projects as well. So, Ratri Ke Yatri is out now and I have two projects lined up for the next month that are, ‘Woodpecker,’ ‘Scam Paper’ and a few more are in the pipeline which I will be able to share hopefully very soon.