Squid Game actor Anupam Tripathi on the show’s immense popularity: ‘I was not prepared’

While speaking to Variety, Anupam Tripathi, who grew up in New Delhi, said, "We felt that it will be received well, but when it became a phenomenon and sensation, it was not expected – I was not prepared."

Indian-origin South Korea-based actor Anupam Tripathi, who has become a world-famous name thanks to Netflix’s survival drama Squid Game has said that he was taken aback by the immense popularity of the show. Tripathi plays Ali on the Netflix series.

The show, which has become a global phenomenon, is a Hwang Dong-hyuk creation and is about a Hunger Games-like competition that lures in common people who are in debt and promises them loads of money upon winning. But the consequences of losing are deadly — literally. Anyone who does not progress to the next round ends up dead.

While speaking to Variety, the actor, who grew up in New Delhi, said, “We felt that it will be received well, but when it became a phenomenon and sensation, it was not expected – I was not prepared.”

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A post shared by Anupam Tripathi (@sangipaiya)

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A post shared by Anupam Tripathi (@sangipaiya)

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A post shared by Anupam Tripathi (@sangipaiya)

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A post shared by Anupam Tripathi (@sangipaiya)

Anupam further added that his popularity skyrocketed after the show premiered. “I still remember, September 17, 2021, 4 p.m., my life was OK, but after 5 p.m., it became huge, humongous — suddenly everyone was messaging me and it was ‘Ali,’ ‘Ali’,” he said.

Anupam’s character Ali is a poor immigrant from Pakistan who enters the contest to provide for his family after his employer refuses him payment for his services. The actor also revealed how he prepared for the role. He said that when he was cast he did not have the correct body shape and had to put on weight as Ali is known in the show for his strength. “I gained 5 or 6 kilograms and at least looked like somebody who has some power,” he revealed.

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Anupam’s “ultimate dream” is to perform in India as he told the publication, “I’ve done theater only in India, but I want to see and explore how I will do in my own language. I would love to express myself there. That is my ultimate dream – to perform in front of my own home and own audience.”

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