Gyanendra Tripathi Says Playing Death Photographer In Barah By Barah Was A ‘Spiritual Experience’ | EXCLUSIVE

Benaras, nestled by the Ganga, embodies spirituality and pilgrimage for generations of Indians. Gaurav Madan's Barah by Barah follows a death photographer amidst the city's alleys, capturing souls bound for moksha. Gyanendra Tripathi, portraying the photographer, reflects on his role and the spiritual impact of Benaras in an interview with Zoom.
Gyanendra Tripathi Says Playing Death Photographer In Barah By Barah Was A ‘Spiritual Experience’ | EXCLUSIVE

Gyanendra Tripathi Says Playing Death Photographer In Barah By Barah Was A ‘Spiritual Experience’ | EXCLUSIVE

Nestled on the banks of Ganga, Benaras has since long been a seat of spirituality. A destination for pilgrimage for generations of Indians, whose lives are steeped in the lores of the Gods and Goddesses they follow, Benaras’ Manikarnika also doubles as one of the holiest cremation grounds in India. Gaurav Madan’蝉 Barah by Barah follows a humble death photographer, perhaps the last of his kind, in these alleyways of Benaras as he navigates through his life and the myriad bodies he photography before they are engulfed in flames on their way towards moksha. The extremely talented Gyanendra Tripathi essays the role of the death photographer in this slice of life drama.
In an exclusive interaction with Zoom, Gyanendra opened up on playing a death photographer and if being in Benaras had any profound spiritual effect on him.
Gyanendra Tripathi in Barah By Barah
Gyanendra Tripathi in Barah By Barah
"The challenge in portraying a death photographer lay in the portrayal or understanding the flavour and the pitch of the performance,” the actor revealed, adding, “As trained actors, we develop a kind of craft and give an impression of a particular emotion through art. What happens is that there is sense of predictability seeping in.”
According to Gyanendra, an experienced actor who has been working for long knows the tricks as to which body language will explain and portray a certain emotion. However, what he loved during the process of filming Barah by Barah was how the directed Gaurav Madan saw drama, in a certain way.
“He sees the drama in stillness,” Gyanendra explained, “So there were many dramatic moment where I approached the scene in a conventional, popular sense of dialogue and body language. He was the one who kind of curtailed me and said ‘Don't do this, let's try and trust the audience.’ He was the person who was constantly insisting on trusting the audience and deliberately try to express feelings.”
According to Gyanendra, the director believed that if one felt it, the camera will capture it. "It was so satisfying to be on a set where the director is asking you to behave rather than to portray or try to reach out to the audience.”
Being a part of such a profound drama based out of a spiritual city, did Gyanendra ever feel an otherworldliness seeping in?
"I did,” the actor confessed.
“In life we are not subjected to these many conditions. In fact, we are protected from the very start, from all these atmospheres, as long as possible,” he explained, adding, “But when I was watching these cremations so closely - one after the other - this thought occurred to me - ‘Why have people started this ritual? Why do relatives have to come with the dead body and burn it with their own and then see it turn into ashes?”
“I came up with my own idea or answer,” Gyanendra said, “I thought maybe because it's a way of telling alive people that they should not latch onto this false hope that this person is going to come back and accept it as a reality.”
"All you have is memories and preserve memories. So that way I started seeing the rituals and all these concepts in a different light. Otherwise, I wouldn't have thought about it. Why do people burn dead bodies or in different areas of community? Why do families have to see it?” he revealed.
“Probably they need to see it so that they can accept the fact that it is reality, participate in it and move on.”
The actor said he believes there's a spiritual experience to be able to delve into all these questions and also not take oneself, life, success and all these things so seriously.
End of Article
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