Actor Sumeet Vyas is a busy man despite the lockdown. While his peers are trying to stay creative at home, Sumeet is back as Dilawar Rana aka D-Sir in web series Official Bhootiyagiri Season 3.
The Arre Original and MX Exclusive series takes the story of Dilawar forward, as he walks out of jail with the responsibility of turning his family hotel into a profitable venture. The catch is, the hotel is haunted. Thus, begins Dilawar’s tryst with ghosts who might not seem as funny, or are they? The horror comedy also stars Eisha Chopra, Mohan Kapoor, Pranay Manchanda, Naveen Prabhakar, Sujata Segal, Udita Bhalla and Ajay Kapoor. The Vishwajoy Mukherjee directorial is streaming on MX Player.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Sumeet got candid about returning to the series, creating a balance between horror and comedy, and how he is preparing for the real-life role of a father soon.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
On maintaining a thin line between horror and comedy
That’s the USP of the show. The horror element is used beautifully. Yes, balancing that thin line between horror and comedy was the biggest fear when we started. One of my concerns was, what if it goes wrong? We spent some time going back and forth on the script, but the writers have done a fantastic job.
It’s a very well-rounded season, I would say. It’s got everything…a bit of the adrenaline rush of a corporate drama as well as an emotional angle. The horror triggers a lot of emotional memories, which helps Dilawar Rana finally focus on his personal issues.
On giving inputs on writing the script
I’ve been personally involved, not just as a writer but being someone who’s done this show for two seasons. So there’s that much attachment to the show. None of us wanted to do it just for the heck of it. Yeah, I wanted to create a nicer story for the third season.
On shooting horror scenes
There are so many elements that you have to create through light, camera, trick photography, sometimes using old theatrics. It’s a lot of technical stuff that goes into shooting horror. It’s not about being in a dark room and someone scaring you.
On giving a comic touch to characters
So, in this one, I’m not doing any comedy. The comedy is happening with me. I am actually very straight and focused. My younger brother (played by Pranay) is doing most of the comedy in the show and others as well.
On elements required to create horror
Do not make it spoofy. When you’re performing a scene where you are scared, you need to be scared, you can’t pretend to be scared, because then it looks spoofy. So if the fear is not real, then the comedy will not be real. In your head, you can’t think it’s a comedy, you have to perform it like serious drama. The comedy will happen.
On your favourite horror films
Actually, I haven’t seen much of horror, to be honest. Basically, if there’s a ghost, the horror for me stops right there. I don’t find it scary anymore. The scariest films are the ones where you don’t really see the ghost. Blair Witch Project was very scary, that fear of the unknown. You just sense a presence, which is scary, rather than just seeing a ghost with long hair and all of that.
On the growth of the digital medium over the years
The web is the future and the coronavirus pandemic has helped it. Many people were looking at it as an inferior platform, which is an approach I don’t understand. Just because it’s easily available does not mean that people don’t work hard or are any less capable. As long as your story is good, it’ll work on any medium.
On Bollywood films having a direct OTT release after Gulabo Sitabo
I don’t think it’s a step down. It might be a good thing, in fact, because a lot of good films are not considered good because they didn’t get the box office numbers. I thought Rocket Singh was a great film. But it didn’t get the numbers, so people felt it’s not a decent film. If it had released directly on digital, it could’ve been a huge hit.
On preparing for the new role of a father
I have no idea because this is one role I cannot prepare for! Every experience is very different and personal. So, it’ll hit me once the baby arrives. We are very happy.
On changes in work culture post-lockdown
Not just in our industry, but in every stream, there will be a huge change in approach and the way people work. And having 200-300 people in a crew is going to be difficult. I’m hoping people will start shooting in a few months and with a much smaller and efficient crew.
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