Exclusive…Sumeet Vyas: Writing is like whiskey …

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Sumeet Vyas was among the first actors who brought Indian web series into the spotlight with shows like Permanent Roommates, TVF Tripling, Official Chukyagiri and others becoming hits. The actor speaks to mid-day.com about the OTT boom, his upcoming projects and being a new dad to son Ved.

You have been shooting a couple of interesting projects recently…
Currently I’m shooting for a series for Hotstar by Siddharth Sengupta. It’s a thriller where I play a cop and it`s one of the most interesting scripts I’ve come across in the last couple of years. So I’m looking forward to it. Lionsgate Play’s series directed by Akarsh Khurana has me playing a rustic character from Haryana, so I had to keep the dialect in mind. The character was interesting because I had to be funny but unpredictable. He’s one character where you can’t be sure. You should laugh at all the things, he says, because suddenly he will do something scary. It’s an interestingly written grey part. In the beginning of the year, I shot Mrs Undercover with Radhika Apte, that’s an out an out negative part. The idea was to have a variety of roles rather than what I’ve already done.

You were among the first few who started the web series trend in India that has now become huge. How does that feel?
I don’t think I can take the entire credit but I feel privileged that I was part of the first web series made in India. The only credit I can take is, I put my time and energy into something I believed in. That time the medium didn’t pay us anything and there was no hope of it becoming so big, it was an experiment. It taught me the most valuable lesson – you have to keep experimenting only then you can grow and extraordinary things can happen.
Do people still talk to you about Permanent Roommates and Tripling?
Yes and it makes me happy and sad at the same time. Happy that they love the characters, and sad that I haven’t managed to do something as great and magnanimous (laughs). The idea is to create something that will last for decades and people will talk about.

Any web series that you have been hooked on to recently?
I’m also a writer, so I look for inspiration from other people’s style of narrative. Borrowing a story doesn’t excite me, but how they approach a scene is something one can learn from. I watched The Family Man, Scam 1992, Panchayat among others. Right now I’m watching Scenes From A Marriage. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain – extraordinary work and great performances.

Do you feel writers don’t get enough credit and exposure?
Writers need more exposure and time. In the effort to compete with other networks or cash in on what is popular you don’t give writers enough time. Writing isn’t something you can cook up instantly. Any decent film that you see had decent time for writing and research. Writing is like whiskey – you can’t prepare a 12-year-old scotch in 6 months, it won’t taste like that.

Being a new dad, how do you manage your work and family time?
I was recently shooting for a film where I had to be abroad for a month. Now that Ved is a year old he’s growing up really fast. Every 10-15 day he learns something new and it`s like meeting a new child. That is the price you pay in our profession. When I’m in town I try to devote a lot of time to the baby and people at home ask me, ‘Why are you at home all day?’ I’m trying to make up for all the time I lose when working, so I try to manage as much work from home as possible.

Any advice for actors just getting on to the OTT bandwagon?
Start enjoying the craft instead of focusing on the fruits. There are more number of disappointments people face rather than successes, so if your focus is on that then you will be disheartened. If you are more involved in the work you are doing it’s a nicer distraction to have.

Also Read: Sumeet Vyas: My dear employess in uniform, don`t cross the line


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