Ashish Vidyarthi opens up on Sunflower Season 2, his stand-up debut and more

Ashish Vidyarthi enjoys his cuppa as much as he likes Calcutta. Not only has he recommended Boudir Dokaan-er cha in his post, but the city's jamai has also taken up a place in Hindusthan Park

Sudeshna Banerjee Published 25.04.24, 12:21 PM
Ashish Vidyarthi in Sunflower

Ashish Vidyarthi in Sunflower Sourced by The Telegraph

If you are sipping on Boudir Dokaan-er cha on Purna Das Road, there is a chance that standing next to you would be a man you have seen on screen in films like Drohkaal and Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin. Ashish Vidyarthi enjoys his cuppa as much as he likes Calcutta. Not only has he recommended Boudir Dokaan-er cha in his post, but the city's jamai has also taken up a place in Hindusthan Park. “I love that area with so many cafes. Whenever I get five-six days off in a month, I go over to Calcutta and stay at my place,” Vidyarthi says. A t2 chat with the Mumbai actor on the city, his passion for vlogging, his stand-up comedy debut and his latest release, Sunflower Season 2, streaming on Zee5.

From your posts, it seems you do take food blogging seriously.


You know, I discovered vlogging right after the pandemic. I picked up a GoPro (camera) and started telling stories. A friend said: "You like food; why don’t you make something called Reels that has come up?" I made something on vada pav. That’s how it started. Now we do some interesting storytelling on YouTube. There is one channel called Fifty Plus Zindagi and another called Ashish Vidyarthi Actor Blogs. We do some food stuff on Instagram, then there are my motivational talks, my acting....

Does that mean you are eating out more than you used to?

Khaata kam hoon, dikhata zyada.... My idea is to show people what they can enjoy. I don't review food, I appreciate food. There is an old man selling sattu right outside Flurys on Purna Das Road — I made a Reel with him. Many presume that I take a crew along. The truth is if my wife (Rupali Barua) is there she takes a few shots. Otherwise, I do it myself. I have figured out ways. I don’t use bouncers when I move around.

Your character in Sunflower Season 2 has a stiff upper lip but seems to have skeletons in his cupboard. What was the brief you got before Season 1?

The character was set up in the first season itself as someone who seems morally upright but has skeletons (in his cupboard). We have met such people who wag fingers at others. Especially in Mumbai, there are building societies which have a rule that gives them a right to interview new entrants. They exert power over others and get personal in their questions — 'are you married or single?' In Sunflower, they have woven the story around such real-life, relatable characters.

Ashish Vidyarthi in Sunflower

Ashish Vidyarthi in Sunflower

Has there been a progression in the character from Season 1?

As the story unravels, you reveal more. I am grateful to Vikas (Bahl, the writer-director). I have done 300-plus films. In 99 per cent, I have played a villain. I have done comedy in about 20. When Vikas offered me the role in Sunflower and then Goodbye (also starring Sunil Grover along with Amitabh Bachchan and Neena Gupta), I was grateful that people could relate to me with a comedic flair. I was given enough freedom. After the first season, I realised that I was enjoying this.

Is that what prompted you to do stand-up comedy?

Yes, a silent thing ticked a part of me that I should explore it. I don’t wait for things to happen. I do it myself. I see something positive in everything around me. So I wrote Sit Down Ashish. It is one hour of stand-up comedy.

Sunil was with you in Goodbye also.

Goodbye was shot after Sunflower Season 1. Sunil is an amazing actor. He is a natural. He pushes the envelope. I find his character enigmatic.

You have done films in 11 languages. How many do you speak?

I speak Hindi, English and Bangla. I do not read Bangla but my pronunciation is okay. My mother tongue is Bangla as my mother Reba Chatterjee is a Bengali from Ajmer. My father is a Malayalee, Govind Vidyarthi. I don’t speak Malayalam. How I manage the other languages is a secret. (laughs) The language barrier has disappeared. People just watch a film, in whichever language.

Tahole ami ei interview ta Bangla teo korte partam?

Ekdom korte parten. Onek dhonyobad.

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