Actor Shreya Dhanwanthary has turned director and writer for the Eros Now mini-series A Viral Wedding. The show, which has been made during the lockdown, revolves around a couple Nisha (Shreya Dhanwanthary) and Rishabh (Amol Parashar) who have an online wedding amid the nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic.
How did the show happen? Was it difficult to shoot?
This show was completely created during the lockdown. I wrote the script after two days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the lockdown. I had an idea for the outline of the story and the next day, I ended up writing the whole show. Later, I called up some of my friends and asked them if they will be interested to be a part of it. I showed (the script) to Raj and DK and that’s how we got the show rolling.
This is the first show/series scripted and released during the lockdown. The way we shot it was not easy. I spoke to my cast. We prepped in advance before the shoot. We would discuss the costume and the angles of the house. That is how we have shot it.
How was it to write, direct and act?
Like how you use different variety of moisturisers for different body parts, it is kind of like that. I have acted the longest and been writing for quite some time but this is my second time directing. And I must say, during the lockdown, it was not easy to do any of these roles.
Directing has turned out to be intensely mental. Every time I see a director now I am like – how is he healthy and how is his hair still black? It is so difficult to do that. I have huge respect for anyone who creates anything.
Was it creatively satisfying to write and direct your own series?
Yes, I admit it was because I got a chance to do something which has not been done in India before. If I did not have the show, I would have been going crazy. Plus, the show kept me completely occupied.
Who inspired you to take this plunge?
Lots of people. I love the idea of creating your own opportunities. Like Konkona Sen, Radhika Apte, Farhan Akhtar and many here. And abroad, it is Phoebe-Waller Bridge, Matt Damon, Sylvester Stallone, Olivia Wilde and so many more.
Was there a difficulty in the post-production of the show?
The post-production took a lot of time because there is a lot of process involved in it. People were not living in the same city. Sometimes we had internet issues or someone’s building got sealed, so we did have our struggles. To go along with all that and have the shoot completed was a bit of stress. We are grateful to Eros Now for giving our crazy effort a home.
Do you think the way of shooting will change post the lockdown? Going forward, will films be made with smaller crews?
I think it depends on how the industry moves forward. Yes, smaller crews are easier to work with but we have to see how things will change. At present, we are not sure when theaters will open and when people will start going to theaters. Meanwhile, OTT will see a big boom because people are consuming online content.
Would you have an online wedding?
I don’t even think I want a wedding at this point (giggles).
What sort of projects do you want to do?
Anything which keeps me on my toes. Anything that challenges me will be interesting to do.
What is next for you?
I have Scam 92 directed by Hansal Mehta and Nikkhil Advani’s Mumbai Diaries.
In the interview scene with the pandit, was it difficult to strike a comic timing with everyone acting separately? How did that particular scene happen?
That is one of my favourite episodes. It was difficult because Sharib Hashmi has the tendency to not give us time to speak (laughs) but we ended up coordinating pretty well.
What was Raj and DK’s reaction to the series? How are they as directors?
They liked it from the script and that is why they supported me. I worked with them in The Family Man and they guided me on A Viral Wedding too. Their set is incredibly fun. You have full freedom to be yourself and to explore where your character can go and discuss the scenes and how you want to play it out. They are pretty awesome.
Also read | A Viral Wedding review
Any plans for the second season of the series?
Depends on the love the show receives from the audience. That will decide if there will be a second season.
The first episode of A Viral Wedding, which also stars Sharib Hashmi and Amol Parashar, is on YouTube and the rest of the episodes are streaming on Eros Now.
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