When the role of Chandan Mahto came to Tiwary, he wasn’t sure about taking on the project. “I read the scripts for the first two episodes and felt I wanted to do the show. However, when I read all the episodes, it felt all the more far-fetched that I could do justice to the part,” said Tiwary who ran the show premise and his character’s brief by his father. His father advised him against doing Khakee, saying it was “too removed from your zone”. Ironically, that remark proved to be the catalyst. “Now, I had to do it, because it was challenging,” said Tiwary.
To prepare for the role, Tiwary arrived at the location 10 days before shooting and spent time at the local dhabas observing truck drivers and their everyday demeanour. “I started discovering a few things I could do with this character, like his body language before and after his transformation, the way he stands or talks to others — these came from the observations after living there for those 10 days.”
‘I was desperate for work’
Tiwary, who grew up in a middle-class household in Bihar, sounded embarrassed to share how he found acting. “Sometime, during my first semester of Engineering studies, I began to question myself what am I good at — and I suddenly realised that I can cry on command. While even professional actors often seemed to need glycerine, I didn’t.” The shift happened quickly. “Within two months of realising that I could emote on command, I found myself performing on stage. It was an exhilarating feeling.” Tiwary first worked with theatre groups like Yaatri, Ansh and Ekjut, before deciding he wanted to study acting. He enrolled at the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts (RADA) in the United Kingdom and upon his return to India, he worked with Lekh Tandon on two TV shows for Doordarshan. Tiwary remembers Tandon fondly, crediting the veteran filmmaker for instilling a sense of confidence in him. “I was desperate for work, even willing to do a one-minute role if it left an impact. But Lekh sir kept reminding me that I had the potential to drive a film or show on my shoulders.”