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Didn't know Money Heist was so popular: Indian actor Ajay Jethi on Netflix show

Ajay Jethi says his life has taken a complete turn after the fourth season of Netflix show Money Heist dropped on April 4 with people reaching out to him.

PTI PTI
New Delhi Published on: April 23, 2020 16:29 IST
Money Heist

Ajay Jethi started distributing Hindi and Punjabi movies in Spain from 2014.

Barcelona-based Indian actor Ajay Jethi, who played a Pakistan-based hacker in Spanish drama "Money Heist", says he got know about the global popularity of the Netflix show when people started following and messaging him on social media.

Jethi says his life has taken a complete turn after the fourth season of the show dropped on April 4 with people reaching out to him but the most special call was from his father, who was initially against his acting career.

"I didn’t know the series is famous worldwide, I thought it''s popular only in Spain. People were praising the show on social media, I received messages from on Instagram, there was a hashtag about my character Shakir. That’s when I realised the popularity is on different level,” Jethi told PTI in an interview.

Jethi, 39, is not new to acting, having played supportive roles in over 20 Spanish movies and TV shows, besides roles in a few Punjabi movies but this one clicked in a big big way.

"One never knows when you will receive recognition and fame, this is my moment. It is a happy and emotional moment,” he said, adding, "the struggle will continue but I have an added responsibility to do my best. An artiste always works for recognition of his work. This seems like my turning point."

The actor said last year his manager informed him about a casting call for a Spanish crime drama series, "La casa de papel”, popularly known as “Money Heist”.

"I thought it is a big in Spanish only. When I was given the script, I started doing bit of research, I binged watched two seasons of it to get an understanding the world of the series.

"When the local Indian and Pakistani distributor community here came to know that I am working on the show, they told me they want to talk to ''the Professor'' (Alvaro Morte). I realised that there is a craze for this series even among our people. I wasn’t aware that it is coming out as ‘Money Heist’ in dubbed English version."

He said he shot for his portions alone and didn’t get to meet anyone from the cast, not even Morte.

In the fourth season of “Money Heist”, it is Jethi’s character - Shakir, who guides the Professor and his team during their mission inside the Bank of Spain.

Jethi said he was bitten by the acting bug during his graduation as one of his friends introduced him to a theatre group of well-known Hindi and Punjabi playwright Balraj Pandit.

But his father was completely against his acting career and decided to send him to Spain for work. Jethi arrived in Spain in 2005 on a work visa. He worked as a construction labourer for sometime and then shifted to a factory job.

"I had told my father I will not study and do theatre only as that is what I love the most but he was against this and in a way he was correct to show his objection because there wasn’t work for actors in Punjabi cinema that time.

"In 2005 immigration was open in Spain, my father told his friend to take me there and get me some work. Whatever money I earned, I took Spanish language lessons and took acting classes later on.”

But work was hard to come by and he even thought of returning to India but at the suggestion of his partner, he started giving auditions for ads.

"I continued working at factory and going for auditions. I did several ad films, did a mini-series titled ''Alakrana'' (2010), which was my debut. I got a manager, who helped me get acting work. I got convinced that I will get work as an actor. I did several big films here like a Spanish film with Alex Pina (producer and creator of ‘Money Heist’) titled ‘Kamikaze’ (2014).”

Jethi started distributing Hindi and Punjabi movies in Spain from 2014. He has distributed films such as “Kesari”, “Bharat”, “War”, “Dabangg 3” among others.

“I will continue to act in Spanish movies it is because of my work here in Spain that I have got this standing as an actor. I am hungry as an actor I want to do more work. My next goal is acting in Hindi movies,” he said.

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