Mumbai boy Lavrenti Lopes,opens up about making his acting debut in American indie film,Love,Lies And Seeta.
I play Bhavuk. He is a simpleton but quite a conniving guy. He dresses like a hipster and is madly in love with a girl called Seeta. To prepare for my character,I discussed the role with my director,Chandra Pemmaraju. I also took notes from him on the description of the other two characters,Tom and Rahul,to make sure that our characters didnt overlap. My director gave me all the liberty to make the character my own. Bhavuk is silly,goofy and nerdy and quite frankly,I didnt have to put in a lot of effort to get into the skin of my character.
My director and I had worked on a short film together. He had told me about Love,Lies And Seeta when it was still an idea; even when there was no script written. Honestly,I was sold right from the onset. I fell in love with my character. Melanie Kannokada,who plays Seeta,is a close friend. It was an added incentive for me to do the film,when my director told me that he was considering her for the role.
My parents are Goan but I grew up in Mumbai. I was always a dreamer. As a kid,my mom would get angry with me,because I was always lost in my own world. So,to avoid being caught by her, I would go to the restroom and sit there dreaming of winning an award for my acting.
To fulfil that dream,I moved to New York to do a two-year programme at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. After I completed the programme,I continued to enrol for classes conducted by different coaches. Acting to me is like going to the gym. The more you train,the better shape youre in!
The first scene was quite easy. It was a group shot with all the main characters hanging out on the streets of Brooklyn. Love,Lies and Seeta is about a group of friends with the underlying theme being love. It was very important that the cast come across as friends,even at times when we hated each other. The first scene though,as simple as it may seem,was actually very helpful for all of us. It helped break the ice.
Love,Lies And Seeta was shot primarily in New York. We wanted to show New York in its true character and not just the tourist locations that are usually shown in films. During one of my scenes,a trouble-maker security guard interrupted the filming. We had a blanket permit to film but he refused to listen. We were already behind schedule and after arguing for a while,we decided to film the scene at a different location,instead of delaying it any further. However,the security guard followed us over there as well. With the clock ticking,the director whispered in my ear that I should go ahead and enact the scene.
The cameras started rolling and we had already been miked for sound. So,my co-actors and I enacted the scene while everyone else was arguing with the security guard. That was a real challenge,because I had to act without being aware of the security guard,who was right there,while the rest of the crew had to pretend that they were not filming.
Also,when we started filming Love,Lies And Seeta,it was summer. There was a fun pool scene that we were supposed to shoot in the Hamptons. It was the last scene for us to film. However,the location fell through and after that our dates didnt match. Most of us were onto other projects that we had already committed to. We finally got to filming the scene months later. It was fall by then,and freezing. We had to pretend that the weather was greatbut actually it was freezing and we were all shivering! The scene was however canned beautifully.
I learnt the art of power-napping. It comes handy when you have to shoot for long hours. While filming Love,Lies And Seeta,we worked around-the-clock. There were days when we had to be back on the sets in less than six hours. Of course,thats the only time you get to memorise your lines,shower and do all the other fancy stuff. So,I used to take a power-nap everytime they were setting up lights on the sets.
I think filmmaking is a collaborative process. You have to have a vision but youve also got to respect everyone else who is part of the project.
I would love to work with Hollywood actors including Meryl Streep,Dustin Hoffman and Tina Fey. In Bollywood,I have great respect for Nandita Das and Shabhana Azmi. Aamir Khan is someone I really look up to as well.
Desperate Endeavours. I am presently reading a few scripts,though I havent committed to anything right now. l