Mirzapur director Gurmmeet Singh: We are open to criticism

The third season of the Pankaj Tripathi and Ali Fazal starrer will stream from July 5
Gurmmeet Singh
Gurmmeet SinghGurmmeet Singh's Instagram

Like the popular characters of Mirzapur, the team behind the hit crime series is also gaining a "level of maturity" as they move forward with the third season, says show's director Gurmmeet Singh.

The rawness and aggression of the youth have given way to a "certain madness" that comes when characters have to deal with power, the director said, acknowledging that they look forward to feedback and fan theories for the Prime Video show, whose third season will premiere on July 5. “When we started off, we knew we were going into an action-crime-drama-thriller, our characters were much younger. The colour of the first season was raw because they were young people with angst and testosterone. They were trying to find a space for themselves in a place like UP. The depiction of whether it was language or violence was also like that, it was in your face, it was aggressive, brutal,” Gurmmeet told PTI in an interview.

In the third part, Guddu Pandit, played by Ali Fazal, is getting ready to defend the throne of Mirzapur that he took from Pankaj Tripathi's Kaleen Bhaiya who is also preparing a comeback.

“Our characters are back and they are in a position where they are dealing with power, so there's a sense of madness to it. But it is for the audience to tell us, and we are open to feedback, whether it is shown validly or not. We are open to criticism. It is done keeping in mind the story and what will drive it forward with a level of maturity that we are gaining through the show as we go along,” he added.

The gangster drama series, whose first part premiered on Prime Video in 2018, followed by an equally successful second part in 2020, has fascinated fans all over the world.

"When we came into season two, we matured. We saw and understood things, and made sure that only when the story requires, we get into something like that (violence). The impact of the violence is still there but it was treated as an aspect of the character's journey,” the director said.

In the mix of Mirzapur season three are characters old and new fighting for their relevance in the crime riddled world, which borrows its title and setting from the eponymous city in Uttar Pradesh.

Other talented actors completing the world of Mirzapur include Rasika Dugal, Shweta Tripathi Sharma, Vijay Varma, Harshita Shekhar Gaur, Amit Sial, Anjumm Shharma, Priyanshu Painyuli, Sheeba Chaddha, Manu Rishi Chadha and Rajesh Tailang.

Asked why it took four years to come up with the third season when there was only a gap of two years between the first two, Singh said the pandemic delayed the series for a year-and-a-half. They also wanted the writing to be watertight for the show, produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani's Excel Entertainment.

"Mirzapur is not taken from any existing written material so the writing has to always be from scratch. The characters that we have, the journey that we want to give them is always something that we find from within the character itself. We are not looking for it from outside, so that takes time to develop,” he said.

"The process is to give each character their journey, their graph and their trappings and then start making them intersect. When they intersect, the drama happens and you finalise the process. All this takes a lot of time." Like any popular show, Mirzapur enjoys its own set of fan theories and Gurmmeet said sometimes it helps in fleshing out details of a character, like Golu's character in the third season chews 'gutka', which evolved from a discussion he had with a bureaucrat's wife in Varanasi.

"She was a fan and said, 'Give me a role to play, but don't give me a teacher kind of a role, give me a 'tabadtod' (strong) role, where a woman is having gutka and spits that'. I asked if this fascinates her as a person, and she said, 'Of course, it does',” said Gurmmeet.

"I told Shweta that, 'Why don't we give this characteristic to Golu, that she is a woman in a man's world, trying to fit in with the boys'. If she is a girl who has a gang of boys with her, will she eat pan masala?' It came from our interaction with people in real-life.' Similarly, the character of Imran Alam, popularly known as dancing uncle, was extended further in season two purely because of the love it received from fans. The role was played by veteran actor Hemant Kapadia.

In the final episode of the first season, Alam is shown dancing at a wedding, totally unaware that Munna (Divyendu) and his gang members have barged their way in and murdered a lot of people. The climactic scene had ended with the killings of Bablu (Vikrant Massey) and Sweety (Shriya Pilgaonkar).

"In season two, we needed a character, a witness who has witnessed the wedding massacre and can testify against Munna. And suddenly the dancing chacha who was very popular came to our mind,” he said.

"We thought if we have that character, then there's fun to add along with the emotion and quirk. So, that came out of fan love. That's the only thing that we borrowed externally,” he added. According to Gurmmeet, fans feel invested in knowing the journeys of the show's characters, irrespective of where they fall on the moral spectrum.

"The characters are such that people have related to them, they want to know what's going to happen in their journey further. The writing of the show doesn't judge any of its characters and presents them in a manner that you can love the most devious of characters, and you can hate the most lovable characters,” he said.

"It gives you that range and spectrum to play with. And, people have got attached to the characters that constantly surprise along the way. This beautiful cast that we are blessed with, they bring that magic on to the screen. If you've this cast then why won't people like to watch it more? The unending love from viewers serves as the motivation for the team to keep pushing boundaries,” he added.

"Please do ask us (about the next season) because that is our fuel. It drives us. We are writing season four," he concluded.

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