Netflix popular series Squid Game fame Anupam Tripathi who played the role of Ali shares some his journey story before become known actor in South Korea.
33- years-old Anupam Tripathi an Indian actor who relocated to South Korea more than a decade ago filled out a living singing in humble theaters and through minor film gigs in his adopted home country. Now he got success globally after playing Ali Abdul character and he is taking the camera far more seriously.
International fame has made him one of AP’s Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year alongside Rachel Zegler, Adrienne Warren, Damson Idris, Simu Liu, Saweetie and more.
He recently sat for an on-camera interview with The Associated Press where he repeatedly asked his manager about a scarf around his neck “Should I keep this on, or no?”
After massive popularity of Squid Game, which became Netflix’s most watched show, Anupam Tripathi has gained more than 4 million followers on Instagram and kept busy appearing on Korean TV variety shows. He politely declined a wish of his brother to host a Squid Game screening in his relative’s village in India.
In an interview the actor said, "Everyone wants to celebrate this situation, For me, I just want to do my job and get away. This is the way I’ve always kept myself for 11 years in Korea. Do my job. Look for another job."
Anupam Tripathi left India (he was born and raised in Delhi) to study acting on scholarship at the prestigious Korea National University of Arts. He’d done plays in India since 2006 but was hungry for more, though some of his loved ones weren’t so sure acting was the way to go in the early years.
“I was so focused,” he said of that time. “Learning acting professionally was my dream.”
Learning to act professionally was one challenge. Doing it in a new country while learning a new language was another.
“I was crying. There were two things: learn and cry. Those two things I was doing for three and a half months,” Tripathi said.
Homesickness set in, but he persevered as he grew closer to his classmates. After graduation, he did what out-of-work actors often do. He took a restaurant job while looking for acting work. The stage and film jobs became more regular as the years passed.
“I started performing better in Korean,” he said. “Now I can switch to English, I can switch to Korean, I can switch to Hindi.”
When a Squid Game audition for the part of Ali presented itself, he was ready. His mood changed after he got the job.
“Before that, I had done a few lines in every movie,” he said. “I was very, very nervous and at the same time excited and tense. How will I do it because it’s so big?”
It was big in more ways than one. He had to build a bit of physical bulk to meet the expectations of the show’s creators. Once filming began a short time later, Tripathi made some new friends on set, particularly Park Hae-soo, who plays Cho Sang-woo — the character assigned No. 218 and Ali’s ultimate betrayer.
“We can share anything and talk about anything, anytime,” Anupam Tripathi said. “It was the same with the characters. It was about trust until that moment where Ali realizes Sang-woo crossed the line.”
It’s still unclear whether actor will reprise his role if there’s a second season of Squid Game. Netflix hasn’t confirmed one. While Ali’s death wasn’t shown on screen, his body in a casket was. Either way, Anupam Tripathi has other dreams to think about, like working with the directors Martin Scorsese, James Cameron or Terrence Malick.
Anupam Tripathi said of Ali. “It’s one of the beautiful characters I got and it resonated with everybody. It brought up the issue of migrants... or immigrants all over the world. I want to meet characters like that who can at least speak up for something.”