Is Squid Game's Anupam Tripathi eyeing K-pop or Bollywood fame next? - Korea Times
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Is Squid Game's Anupam Tripathi eyeing K-pop or Bollywood fame next?

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This undated photo released by Netflix shows South Korean cast members, from left, Park Hae-soo, Lee Jung-jae and Anupam Tripathi in a scene from 'Squid Game.' Netflix via AP-Yonhap
This undated photo released by Netflix shows South Korean cast members, from left, Park Hae-soo, Lee Jung-jae and Anupam Tripathi in a scene from 'Squid Game.' Netflix via AP-Yonhap

Squid Game's soaring popularity has thrust many of its cast members into the spotlight, few more so than Anupam Tripathi. The 32-year-old actor stars as Ali Abdul, or Player Number 199, a Pakistani migrant worker desperately working to support his family in both Seoul and Pakistan. And Tripathi's moving portrayal of the compassionate character in the thrilling series known for its twists and turns that has conquered the world in one rapid wave.

So, what is there to know about this rapidly rising star?

He moved to South Korea in 2010 to pursue acting

Originally from New Delhi, India, Tripathi began singing and acting in 2006, and four years later moved to Korea to attend Korea National University of Arts. According to Variety, he mastered Korean in less than two years, even earning a scholarship for his undergraduate study, and later for his postgraduate study as well.

Though it was his role in Squid Game that catapulted his popularity, Tripathi began his acting career in Korea in his third year of university, with his first credited role being in the 2014 drama film Ode to My Father. Since then he is had other minor roles in films such as Netflix's plot hole-ridden sci-fi sensation Space Sweepers (2021) and in popular television dramas such as Descendants of the Sun (2016) and Hospital Playlist (2020).

Anupam Tripathi in a still from Squid Game / Courtesy of Netflix
Anupam Tripathi in a still from Squid Game / Courtesy of Netflix

He prepared a lot for his role

Tripathi told Variety that he underwent thorough preparation to portray the Pakistani character, watching BBC documentaries and YouTube videos about Pakistani workers in Korea, in addition to spending time with Pakistani friends in Seoul to familiarise himself with the Urdu language.

"I tried to go as close as I could to the character. I kept on thinking it's going to be released in 190 countries, so how can I connect with the audience as a character," he told Variety. He also worked to change his physical appearance to fit his character, whose physical power is a core characteristic, building up his strength and gaining around 5kg.

His goal is to perform in India

Though he is looking for more work in South Korea, Tripathi maintains that his ultimate goal is to perform for an audience from his home. In the same interview, he shared: "I would love to express myself there [India]. That is my ultimate dream - to perform in front of my own home and own audience."

Could he be the next big Bollywood heartthrob?

He's in talks to star in the Korean reality show I Live Alone

MBC's popular reality show I Live Alone showcases the daily lives of celebrities, with current cast members including stars like Henry Lau, Mamamoo's Hwasa and Shinee's Key. Tripathi has reportedly met with the show's staff to discuss his appearance, and so far, things are looking positive, according to AllKpop.

With Squid Game drawing attention to Tripathi's skills as an actor, we're excited about his future endeavors, both in South Korea, and beyond ...




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