Anup Soni says due to Crime Patrol, people think he knows ‘the entire police department’: ‘I get so many pleas for help’

ByAbhimanyu Mathur
May 30, 2022 06:31 AM IST

Actor Anup Soni talks about his recent work in a podcast, why he is often cast as a an upright, clean person on TV, and the fame Crime Patrol gave him.

In a long career, actor Anup Soni has dabbled in a number of formats. He started with theatre, moved to acting in films and TV, and later found more fame anchoring crime show Crime Patrol. The actor recently found a new challenge when he hosted a podcast, realising that now he only had his voice to work with. In a chat with Hindustan Times, Anup speaks about his experience with the podcast, his acting career, and his association with Crime Patrol. Also read: Anup Soni reveals that he had to leave a few projects in 2021 due to the pandemic

Actor Anup Soni hosted the crime show Crime Patrol from 2010-19.
Actor Anup Soni hosted the crime show Crime Patrol from 2010-19.

Anup’s latest project is a podcast called The Unsung Heroes for Rainshine Entertainment. The actor narrates inspirational journeys of 20 Indians achievers. Talking about what drew him to it, he says, “We say people have become self-centred. They care about them and their loved ones. But that feeling of empathy was going out of fashion. These stories are of people who helped others without any expectation. These stories should reach people.”

While he agrees that doing an audio-only project was unusual, Anup says he drew on his theatre experience there. He says, “In this case, my beginning from theatre was kind of a helping hand for me. I come from National School of Drama so that has been my base. Theatre is different because there are no close-ups. So you are used to a certain level of performance because you need to reach out to the person sitting in the last row. Over the years, you know the medium, you have understood it. You know that in this particular medium, your face is not seen, you have to express everything through your voice.”

Having seen all these various forms and formats of performance, Anup says it is acting that gives him the most joy and creative satisfaction. He shares, “Acting is something that gives me the utmost satisfaction. Today, actors open restaurants, businesses, invest somewhere. I can do all that. I do want to open a café. But if I just open a café, my life is not going to be happy. Acting has to be part of my life. If I don’t act, I’m not happy. If I perform a scene well some day, when I come back home, it is celebration time for me. It gives me utmost happiness.”

But back in the early 90s, Anup was studying to be a lawyer. He even did LLB for a few years before dropping out and joining the National School of Drama. Anup shares that being a part of a reputed ‘government-recognised’ institute made it easier for him to convince his parents. “That way it was easier for me to tell my parents when I was leaving LLB midway. I could easily convince them that it is a graduate course, recognized by the Government of India. And so many NSD graduates went on to work in Doordarshan, the Culture Ministry or state cultural departments. They are on high government posts. I told them even if I flop as an actor, I’ll get a government job.”

Anup's role in the popular TV show Balika Vadhu was appreciated by fans.
Anup's role in the popular TV show Balika Vadhu was appreciated by fans.

Over the years, with films and then the superhit show Balika Vadhu, Anup cultivated an image of an upright person. He got similar roles as well. Talking about his ‘clean’ on-screen image, he says, “That was never a deliberate attempt. I feel you have a personality and some roles suit that. It’s a visual medium. Whenever, casting is done, your physical outlook definitely plays a role. This man looks the part. Of course, when you are an actor, you want to do everything. But it’s not just with me. It’s with every actor. But you can explore more gradually.”

And explore he did. In 2010, he began hosting the true-crime show Crime Patrol, which was to become his identity in a few years as the show became a mega hit. He recalls, “Crime Patrol was an absolutely new platform for me. We never thought it would be a super-duper hit, and neither was that the plan. There was a concept, where Sony should get some credit for agreeing to do a show about gruesome crimes on an entertainment channel.” Today, there are even memes made on his lines from the show. Laughing about the attention, he says, “When we started, the purpose was to spread awareness and not gyaan. And that was my cue too that I shouldn’t come across as a know-it-all. So that was my effort, to be relatable and tell people I am one of you. This can happen to anyone--even you and me.”

However, there is one thing that Crime Patrol has done, which Anup finds amusing. Many people believe that due to his role as a host on a crime show, he must know real cops and can help them with ‘police contacts’. Anup says with a laugh, “People have this misconception that I know the entire police department. I get pleas for help all the time! I get so many emails from people. Now how do I explain to them that I am a common man like you. What I do is I retweet if someone tweets to me so that it reaches out to the right people. As an actor it does happen. When Arun Govil played Lord Ram, people would touch his feet. This is nothing in comparison.”

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    Abhimanyu Mathur is an entertainment journalist with Hindustan Times. He writes about cinema, TV, and OTT, churning out interviews, reviews, and good old news stories.

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