In Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s web series The Gone Game, actor Shweta Tripathi Sharma plays a sister who, while handling the anxiety of being stuck indoors due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, hears of her brother’s mysterious death. She wants to find out the truth but cannot step out. In Shweta’s words, her character Amara Gujral has been outlined carefully and “there are various layers” to it.
Excited about the release of this one of its kind web series which has been shot at the homes of the actors, Shweta is grateful that “in times when people don’t have a job, I got to do what I like.” Also, after shooting at home with her husband Chaitanya Sharma as the cameraman, the 35-year-old actor feels a sense of gratitude towards every department present on the sets of a film or a web series which allow her “to focus on the performance and takes care of everything else.”
In this interview, Shweta Tripathi Sharma talks about her experience of shooting at home. The actor also reveals why she is ‘choosy’ about her projects.
What were your first thoughts when you read the script of The Gone Game?
Whenever I get a script, I do not keep high expectations to avoid feeling let down. Thankfully, the moment I got The Gone Game, I knew I have to be a part of this, because lockdown or no lockdown, the script was very strong. And, then it was to be shot at home, which means a new challenge and I find it interesting to dabble in new things. Like for example, a few years back I did a film called Zoo which was shot entirely on an iPhone. Then also my main reason to do that was I wanted to experience how is it to shoot on a phone. This time too, it was interesting to shoot at home with the director and DOP being there on a video call.
While shooting from home, how did you manage to focus on your work since there are many distractions when you are at home?
There are thoughts like what do we have to eat for dinner. But when you are in a performance mode, you cannot think this. Thankfully what helped us was the two days of mock shoot. So, everybody at home also understood how is it going to happen and how do we have to do this. I live with four other people who cooperated with me when I told them to lower the sound of the TV or blocked the kitchen for shoot.
Such things do not happen on the sets. There are so many other people, head of departments to help you. But because we were shooting at home, everything was our responsibility, from costumes to makeup. My husband Cheetah (Chaitanya Sharma) shot my scenes. It was exciting. And, it also increased our respect for every department so much so that I want to go on the sets and thank every one of them for helping us.
Was it a challenge to not have your co-actors in front of you physically during a scene?
Absolutely. Acting is a lot about feeling and reacting. It was more challenging for Nikhil (director) since he had to give cues for all the actors and give it in such a way that we can react to it properly. So, I think he had the toughest job. However, everyone involved in this project has given their 100 per cent. But now that we have experienced this, we want to go back on the sets. If season two is to happen, we will say let’s shoot at some isolated bungalow but no more shooting at home.
Your choice of roles has been quite unconventional. Is that a deliberate choice?
When I was a kid, I always wanted to dance around in the fields wearing a yellow salwar suit. Since I love dancing, I always thought I will dance in the award shows. But when I started my career with films like Masaan, Haramkhor, that’s when I realised this is what I want to do. Before becoming an actor, I wanted to be a lawyer because I wanted to bring about changes in society. So, I think that somehow has seeped into my acting and my choices, even if that means one episode of Made In Heaven or even one impactful scene in a film. Screen time does not matter. I’m so happy when I look back at my work, and now I’m super choosy with the work I do because I feel you give a part of you to the character you play and you take a part of it with you. So, the choice of character is very important.
Do you think the web platform has given you an opportunity to play a variety of roles?
Not only actors, writers, directors, musicians, so many people have got a chance to showcase their talent. Also, people are taking risks, and I am all about the risks. I want to take as many risks, and I want my every character to be different not only from each other but also to be different from me.
What do you feel about the digital medium?
I would like to believe that buying a ticket or giving that one view is like voting. You are seeing the people you want to see. There is no pressure. It’s not like you are bound to watch something just because you have paid for the popcorns or have paid for the parking. If you don’t like something, you just move on to the next episode or maybe the next show. The audience has more choice. This is not a trend that you’re seeing only in the country, internationally also, the stakes are way higher because the quality of the content has gone up. Today, a show is not fighting with another Indian show, it is fighting for the audience’s time.
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