Amazon Prime Video's ‘Mirzapur Season 3’ Is The Grittiest Yet

The leading stars of the hit series, including Ali Fazal, talk about exploring their dark sides

By Karishma Nandkeolyar

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Published: Thu 27 Jun 2024, 7:17 PM

“No,” he says, then catches himself, laughing. Ali Fazal, the star of Mirzapur Season 3, has a big event lined up and he’s getting tired of people asking about it. His wife, fellow actor Richa Chadha, who was last seen in the Netflix hit Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar, is pregnant. When we ask him if he’s ready to be a dad, he gives us a quick, one-word answer. But there’s no doubt that he’s looking forward to the little tyke; he’s been meeting all his shooting commitments, hoping to eke out some paternity leave. “I feel very privileged that I can take time off. I just managed to finish all my shoots last night. Of course, maybe [I’ll do a few] promotions…[but] I’m hoping to just keep stretching it [the leave] as long as I can,” he tells City Times.

Fazal plays Guddu in the gritty crime-riddled story of Mirzapur. And in Season Three, the once innocuous player has become the leading man, having taken over the mob boss role. “Season Three is definitely different. I’m really excited [about it] and explored a lot more with my character and sort of taking it further and further,” says Fazal.

The model-turned-actor, whose prolific career includes film credits such as Fukrey, Victoria & Abdul, and Khufiya, is quite unlike his crude character, who peppers his sentences with abuse. “If anyone spoke to me like that in real life, I’d really [smack] them,” he says, explaining that he’s from Lucknow, where people speak to each other with a lot of respect.

But then, how does one channel someone completely unlike themselves? It begins with watching movies seriously. “There’s a lot of copy paste that happens. Even our emotions sometimes are taken from [other movies that we see]. But what I try to do is to use my assessments of these situations in these contexts, and try and create real emotions. I don’t like drawing from personal experiences, but the scars that they leave you with, or the hurt that you’re left with, those have the potential to resonate in the future when you try and recreate those emotions,” he explains.

Getting emotional

Bollywood actors Ali Fazal and Vijay Varma (L)  (Photo by AFP)
Bollywood actors Ali Fazal and Vijay Varma (L) (Photo by AFP)

Emotions certainly need to be front and centre for a show like Mirzapur, which shows you the unfiltered, raw edge of humanity. Some moments are so dark and grave, with blood colouring the scenes, that it can take some getting used to. Not everyone walks away unscathed.

Indian actor Divyenndu, who plays the incompetent son of the first mob boss, Akhandanand Tripathi (played by Pankaj Tripathi), walked away from Mirzapur after Season Two. He was quoted as saying by Humans of Bombay that the darkness of the series left its taint on him. “I shall declare, I am not a part of Mirzapur Season 3. When I was in character, it was affecting my personality a lot. We shouldn’t over-romanticise going too deep into a character, because it is not easy. At times, it used to get really dark for me. I felt suffocated. It’s so tricky that you don’t even realise that you are in that zone. It’s only when you come out of it do you realise how dark it was,” he said about his decision.

Some others in the cast have found other ways to cope. “The set is very light and you’re working with practically everybody you absolutely adore as people. So, it’s like working in a really good workspace. So even though the task could be a bit tough, but the playfulness of it keeps us all safe and happy,” says Vijay Verma, who played twins Bharat and Shatrughan in Season 2.

Fans in the UAE are excited about the show, which is out on Amazon Prime Video on July 5. Owais Ali OD tells City Times: “After two exciting seasons, finally we have a date for the much-awaited Season 3. The limelight for both the previous seasons was without any doubt Divyenndu (Munna Bhaiya). His presence is definitely going to be missed, but the trailer for Season 3 shows a lot of promise where clearly we’ll see Ali Fazal (Guddu Bhaiya) dominating initially. It’ll be very interesting to see in which episode does Pankaj Tripathi (Kaleen Bhaiya) return.”

Bharat Khiara, another Dubai-based fan, says: “I eagerly await the new season and the twists it will, undoubtedly, bring. I hope it honours the legacy of its characters while charting bold new territory in the world of Mirzapur.”

The lure of complex characters

Verma, who thrives (by his own admission) on characters with shades of grey, tells City Times that his double role brought with it a unique challenge: to become ambidextrous. “When I was playing twin brothers, the only difference physically was that one was left-handed and the other was right-handed. And I was struggling so much to eat with [my] left hand, [to do things with my left hand],” he recalls. Perhaps Season Three will then be easier, as one of the brothers has died.

Another character that sees a lot of development as we venture further into the series is Bina (played by Rasika Dugal). “I think every season [of Mirzapur] has a different shade,” says Dugal. “[For Bina] I think the first season was really about sort of exploring [the person] she is and being punished very severely for it. And I think that sort of went on to Season Two, where it’s about revenge for the humiliation and violation she's had to go through at the end of Season One. And I think Season Three is really [a] time of coming into her own and without being hounded by the Tripathi men. And finally thinking that maybe this is now going to be [her time to find] a new way to live.”

The complex web of lies, deceit and gory deaths all string together in Mirzapur Season 3, which has been a long time coming; Season 2 released in 2020.

And the cast’s enthusiasm is infectious. “I'm looking forward to the audience’s reaction, so the next few days are going to be very tough to wait for me because I haven’t seen the [whole] season. And we, for this particular show, wait for the audience to react and that is what I'm anticipating,” says Verma.

Rapid-fire with Ali Fazal

Bollywood actor Ali Fazal. (Photo by AFP)
Bollywood actor Ali Fazal. (Photo by AFP)

What is your dream role?

Something to do with sports.

What music are you listening to these days?

I make a playlist for every project that I do. Currently on my playlist are Kandahar, Khufiya, etc.

What are you watching these days?

Presumed Innocent on Apple TV. [The thriller series revolves around the Chicago prosecuting attorney’s office when one of its own is suspected of the crime.]

Any starstruck moments?

Yes. When I met Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino together in the same room.


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