Abhilash Thapliyal discusses his first appearance on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, the influence of TVF Aspirants on his career, and his involvement in various projects, in an interview exclusively with DNA.

After being showcased in the Midnight Screenings section on May 24 at the 76th Cannes Film Festival 2023, the neo-noir drama “Kennedy,” directed by Anurag Kashyap, has generated significant buzz. The film, starring Rahul Bhat as the lead character and Sunny Leone as Charlie, received a remarkable standing ovation lasting seven minutes during its world premiere.

In addition to Rahul and Leone, the film “Kennedy” features Abhilash Thapliyal in a significant role, and he made his red carpet debut at the Cannes 2023 for the world premiere of the film. This marked his very first experience walking the red carpet. Abhilash recently discussed his Cannes experience and also shed light on the numerous projects he has been a part of in an exclusive interview with DNA.

When discussing his red carpet debut and experience at Cannes, Abhilash expressed, “It was absolutely incredible. It was my first time walking on a red carpet ever, so it marked my red carpet debut. I never anticipated that my inaugural red carpet experience would be at Cannes. It feels unreal.”

Abhilash further added, “Until the movie concluded and the credits began to roll, I assumed that people would simply stand up and leave. However, they started clapping, and the seven-minute standing ovation was truly extraordinary. I have never witnessed anything of that magnitude before, nor have I experienced it for anyone else. It was an incredibly special moment.”

Without divulging many details about his character in “Kennedy,” Abhilash mentioned, “All of my scenes are with Rahul. It was an incredible experience working with him. My character undergoes a significant transformation in the film. I can’t disclose much about it; you’ll discover it when you watch the movie.” He also revealed that the film directed by Anurag Kashyap will participate in a few more festivals before its release in India.

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Before making his Bollywood debut in the 2018 romantic comedy film “Dil Juunglee,” Abhilash gained fame as a popular radio jockey and television host. However, it was his outstanding portrayal of Shwetketu, also known as SK, in the web series “TVF Aspirants” in 2021 that truly served as his breakthrough role.

In an interview with DNA, Abhilash discussed the impact of the show on his career, stating, “Before ‘TVF Aspirants,’ I was involved in various endeavors, including my work in radio, which was going well. However, I was never perceived as a nuanced or serious actor. Due to my naturally funny and witty personality, I was often cast as the hero’s friend or as comic relief in films. That was the perception people had of me. But after ‘Aspirants,’ audiences began to recognize my ability to portray sincere and serious roles, which had always been a part of me. Eventually, on December 9 last year, opportunities like ‘Blurr’ and ‘Faadu’ came my way.”

Continuing the conversation, Abhilash added, “In ‘Faadu,’ I portrayed the role of an addict, and it received a lot of appreciation. In ‘Blurr,’ I took on the role of the antagonist, a psychotic killer, which was another distinct character unlike any I had played before. So, indeed, after ‘Aspirants,’ people began to perceive me as a versatile and serious actor, someone capable of embodying diverse roles and showcasing nuance.”

Abhilash is set to appear in the upcoming sports biographical film “Maidaan,” featuring Ajay Devgn in the lead role as the legendary football coach Syed Abdul Rahim. Directed by Amit Sharma, the film is set in the golden era of Indian football from 1952 to 1962 and is scheduled to release in cinemas on June 23. Besides his role in “Maidaan,” Abhilash was also seen in the film “Raksha Bandhan” last year, starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar. Additionally, he has the web series “Shehar Lakhot” in his pipeline, helmed by Navdeep Singh, known for directing films like “NH10” and “Manorama Six Feet Under.”