Neil Bhoopalam of NH 10 fame is playing a Goan cop in his latest project, Voot Select’s web series The Raikar Case, a whodunit thriller about family, love, deceit, and secrets. The Telegraph caught up with Neil for an exclusive chat about the show.
What’s The Raikar Case about?
Stories like these are timeless because it’s not a current topic, it’s a drama. It’s about a family living in Goa and I get on the case because of a suicide of a teenager. I play superintendent of police John Perreira. I go to investigate the case because it seems a bit dodgy to me. I realise that there have been a couple of murders in the family prior to that and I try to follow the trail. It’s pretty insane and I feel it’s a bit Shakespearean because those stories are so plot-driven too.
Playing intense characters has been your forte. How are you experimenting with your role in The Raikar Case?
It’s pretty fantastic because I’ve never played a cop. It’s really interesting because you’ve a certain authority with the costume. We shot it in Goa and that was great fun, though it was really hot.
Was it fun shooting in Goa?
We shot it last year for about 40 days. With formats like these, it becomes a heavy working day. You have fun when you’re not shooting or when you’ve packed up. It’s like a big natak mandi and that’s pretty cool (laughs).
How did you prepare yourself to play a cop?
My trainer Vivek Jagtap’s dad is a cop and I talked about the project with him. He told me that the watch I wear shouldn’t be loose, it should be tight. These minor things add up to a lot. When I was heading to Goa, I struck up a conversation with the security at the airport. I noticed that there were different shades of the uniform that they were wearing and I even asked him about it. In terms of styling, I had to always keep my shirt tucked in.
Will the show change the audience’s perspective about the regular family dramas on television?
I don’t think it’s going to change perspectives but it’d be appreciated for sure. Family dramas mean different things for different people. If we are talking about previous content on television, we would only see a certain sort of grammar or narrative that you could showcase because television has certain dos and don'ts. But if you put it up on a streaming platform, such as Voot Select, then you’re going to have a few more aspects, a few more layers to the story that you’d probably not be able to tell on television.
You’ve done films like Shaitan and NH10. Is it a conscious choice to choose niche films?
I like niche. Every sub-culture becomes a main culture. Look at hip-hop, it used to be such a sub-culture and now you’ve something like a Gully Boy. I started off with Channel V back in the day and I never really saw myself as mainstream. I saw myself as a niche sort of performer but I had faith in some sort of evolution that’d happen. Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007 and now this has become a super computer and the biggest consumption of entertainment is via your smartphone. Who would’ve thought that would happen?
You’ve been in the web space before with Netflix’s Lust Stories…
When we shot Lust Stories, it was supposed to be like a Bombay Talkies Part 2 but then with the evolution of the media, it was changed to Lust Stories. When we were shooting, it was still untitled and then once it was done, everything was put together.
What was the experience of working in the digital space?
It’s fantastic, it’s the golden time for artistes all around.
Are you a big consumer of digital content?
No, I’m more of a participant and don’t consume as much as an average audience does. But I do watch some stuff like Modern Family and I recently watched Hostel Daze by The Viral Fever (TVF).
I am working on two plays. It’s generally during the monsoons that I work on my theatre stuff. I’ve actually been chilling for sometime because I’ve been on daddy duty at home. (laughs).
Congrats! Has fatherhood changed you?
Thank you, it was two-and-a-half years ago and his name is Fateh Bhoopalam . My sense of duty and purpose is very clear now.