‘Squid Game’: Anupam Tripathi on portraying migrant workers in Korean society

He said that he wanted to portray Ali in the “least cliché manner possible”

Indian actor Anupam Tripathi has opened up about his role as Ali in the hit South Korean Netflix series Squid Game.

In a series of interviews with OSEN, Tripathi discussed the research that went into his portrayal of Squid Game character Ali Abdul. The actor highlighted the importance of Ali being one of the first migrant worker characters that play a major role in a Korean drama.

“In Squid Game, which showcases a variety of types of humans, he is the most good-natured character. I acted with the hope that I’d be able to convey the character of Ali as well as possible to viewers,” he shared, as translated by Soompi.

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In the series, Ali moves from Pakistan to Korea in hopes of building a better future, but ends up being exploited. “I thought about what I could do for all these different people around the globe to accept Ali,” he said. “Detailed context about why this person is in Korea, what kind of problem with his boss is making him hold on, and his family”

“I also looked at texts about migrant workers and labor issues around the world,” said the actor, explaining the research that went into his portrayal. “I looked back on how I acted in similar roles in the past and thought about what I could do to express the character of Ali in the least cliché manner possible.”

Elsewhere in the interview, he opened up about working with veteran actors Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo on the hit series. “Park Hae-soo is very caring and treated me like a friend, so there was never a point where I felt afraid or pressured in any way. Instead, he helped me a lot and drew out parts within me to help me do better,” shared Tripathi.

“I’m also thankful to Lee Jung-jae. Lee Jung-jae is a fun person who makes a lot of jokes. He personally took care of me a lot […] I believe it was thanks to Lee Jung-jae’s help that I was able to act comfortably in this project and show a good performance.”

Earlier this week, Squid Game director Hwang Dong-hyuk said that he would be open to reprising the story for a second season, but with a new focus. “One [idea] would be the story of the Front Man,” Hwang told The Times. The character in question was the elusive boss who ran the deadly tournament in the show in the first season.

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