The show has become a big streaming sensation. Did you ever expect it'll become such a big deal? Were you surprised by the level of response it got?
Pankaj Tripathi: I expected it would do well, but I never imagined it would get this level of response.
Divyenndu: Honestly, I'm not exaggerating one bit, when I read the first two episodes, which they gave every actor, I was like 'Boss, yeh to hai'. I knew that if this landed well and was done in the right away it would really go places. I knew it had that kind of potential.
Shweta Tripathi Sharma: When I read those same first two episodes, I just knew that I wanted to be a part of this world. I knew I wanted to find out more about these characters and their journeys, not just Golu. In fact, in season one, Golu is just this happy-go-lucky girl. But I felt she could really go places in future seasons, and I was right. I did season one for season two.
Ali, you've talked about how difficult it was to play Guddu because of just how different he was from what you've done before, apart from getting his physicality right. Was it easier to play him in season two or is there now also a pressure to live up to season one and all the expectations?
Ali Fazal: There's always pressure with part two of anything. You've already set the bar so high and people tend to become critical. But the whole team Puneet Krishna (creator), Mihir Desai (writer) and Gurmeet Singh (director) have done a great job again this season.
Also with Guddu this time, by default, there was a memory of playing him and an entire life lived. And however faded that is, when you're back on set it gets automatically refreshed, so you're not working from scratch because you know that character.
Divyenndu: When we're talking about getting back into character, there's also the fact that these characters never really left us because the audience refused to let that happen. Every day there was a new meme and people were talking continuously about Mirzapur. It was just so overwhelming, the kind of response we got for this show.
Divyenndu, Pankaj Ji, I have to ask you about the delicate dynamics between Kaleen Bhaiya and Munna. Pankaj Ji, for you Munna is a burden you're ashamed of and for Munna, he has to live with a father who never takes him seriously. What is the key to getting that dynamic right, and are those scenes fun to do?
Pankaj Tripathi: The relationship between Munna and Kaleen Bhaiya is very common in those parts of North India, where fathers just don't trust their sons to be capable. In those communities you see a lot of engineers and doctors because the kids don't get a choice, it's their parents who decide for them. So within that community and that class, this is a pretty normal relationship. We all live in urban Mumbai, where there is more focus on literature and theatre and giving kids the freedom to make their own choices.
So it's a very interesting relationship and it's alot of fun to explore because there's also an undertone of humour in their relationship. He's this spoilt kid and I'm there thinking 'What do I do with him?' and he's on some other tangent, so it's fun.
Divyenndu: Exactly. He's exactly right and for me, because I'm sitting on the other side of the table I'm thinking, "Yaar yeh papa samajh kyun nahi rahe hai that I can do this thing he's asked, I am capable'.
But yeah, Munna is a pretty troubled soul. There is no mother in his life, so he doesn't have that love. And being these kind of men they don't express their feelings, so all he gets from his father is that 'Nahi beta tumse nahi ho payega'. It's like what happens in the wild with lions, there's always a constant struggle between a lion and his cub. Munna is continuously going for that validation from his father. Even if he wants to hurt his father, it's only because he wants to get his attention and say 'Just look at me'. I always say that — Munna only wants love.
Munna is a pretty troubled soul. There is no mother in his life, so he doesn't have that love. And being these kind of men they don't express their feelings, so all he gets from his father is that 'nahi beta tumse nahi ho payega'. It's like what happens in the wild with lions, there's always a constant struggle between a lion and his cub.
Shweta, with your character Golu, based on where things ended in the last season, it looks like you will have a much bigger role to play in season two. That was almost like your origin story. I know you can't tell us too much, but are we finally going to get a badass female gangster on Mirzapur?
Shweta: More than badass what season two made me realise is why people do what they do when they're put in an impossible situation. Golu from season 1 would have never imagined that she'd go down this road. But when you take away people who matter the most, with her best friend and sister and her unborn child being killed, then you can't blame her for her actions in season 2.
When we as a society force people in a corner and they revolt, we turn back and say 'What a bad person this is'. That's not how it should be.
So, I just hope that when people watch season two, they realize that of course there is blood and violence, but it's beyond that. For me, Mirzapur is about relationships. It's about a father-son relationship, and this season it's about Guddu and Golu's relationship. Two people who had nothing in common before, but they've both lost so much. So, I think everyone has blossomed in a very different way in season 2, not just Golu.