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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Sumeet Vyas: ‘Permanent Roommates got me the attention that every actor dreams of’

Sumeet will be seen next in Ken Ghosh’s corporate drama Blind Date, and he will start work on Tripling Season 4

Sameer Salunkhe Calcutta Published 16.05.23, 12:12 PM
Sumeet Vyas in Afwaah

Sumeet Vyas in Afwaah Instagram

He’s known to many as the bumbling Mikesh from TVF’s popular web series Permanent Roommates. But actor Sumeet Vyas has created a space for himself for filmmakers to cast him in roles that are poles apart from what he’s known for. So far this year, he has had five film releases. In a candid conversation, Sumeet talks about his latest outings — Sudhir Mishra’s Afwaah and Anushree Mehta’s Mrs Undercover — and his journey so far.

Since 2020, you have had 13 film releases. How does it feel to be a busy actor?

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Sumeet Vyas: It feels great. I ended up doing quite a few things during the pandemic. I did a bunch of things that were stuck and were not finding a place to release. And those projects were released back-to-back in 2022-23. It feels great to see your hoardings everywhere. Every actor would dream of it. I am grateful for that.

What has working with Sudhir Mishra on Afwaah done for you as an actor?

Sumeet Vyas: Often it happens that the work experience doesn’t stay with you. You do a project and you’re out. It happens with very few projects that the experience of working on them stays with you because it is enriching. Afwaah was one of those.

I have always admired Sudhir bhai’s work. And while filming, he’s open as a director and lets you flourish. He lets you interpret a scene the way you want to. That’s very hard to do for a senior who has the baggage of knowledge. He could have just said, ‘Do as I tell you.’ But he is not at all like that and I appreciate it.

Because that’s how you also grow as an actor – by interpreting a scene and then discussing with the director how to act it out. It also liberates you as an actor. I told Sudhir Bhai, ‘You’ve spoilt me to a certain extent because now I’m looking for a similar experience with other projects where it’s a genuinely collaborative process.’

For the most part of your career, you’ve played a man who’s supportive of women. What was it like playing a man who kills only strong, independent women in Mrs Undercover (streaming on ZEE5)?

Sumeet Vyas: I was first shocked that Anushree Mehta (director) wanted me of all people to do this role. As an actor, I was thinking about doing something outside my comfort zone. It was an extreme thing to do but it was challenging and fun at the same time.

My whole thing was that when people see this film, they should think of me as nothing else but this guy. I should be that convincing. I don’t know how much of that got translated. But whoever saw me, hated me. I met an actress at a screening who said, ‘I saw Mrs Undercover. You’re horrible.’ I was like, okay. Then she came back and said, ‘I meant your character was horrible.’ Then I was like, good.

According to you, which of your projects have shaped your career the way it has turned out to be so far?

Sumeet Vyas: English Vinglish (2012) to a certain extent. I didn’t take films so seriously before that. I was only doing theatre. I thought about cinema and TV only to earn some money and come back to doing theatre. But English Vinglish was the first film experience that I enjoyed. My orientation changed after that. And of course, TVF’s Permanent Roommates, which was an experiment I had done without thinking too much. It got me the attention that every actor aspires for – being loved and accepted.

Tankesh – Tanya and Mikesh from Permanent Roommates – are loved by everyone. What is your favourite thing about them?

Sumeet Vyas: There’s a lot going on in the world, in general, that’s sad. Tankesh is that happy space. As an artist and audience, when I watch them, it makes me happy. Good people and good things exist. There are stories where there are no villains and nobody is killed.

Even in Tripling, somebody asked me, what’s the plot point? I said, ‘There are no bad people in this show. Nobody is going to kill or deceive anyone. I truly believe that such people and stories exist. There’s no unnecessary drama in them. And I love it.’

Throughout your struggle, were there moments when you lost faith in your journey? Or were you always headstrong that you would make it one day?

Sumeet Vyas: I just didn’t know anything else. So, there were moments of complete failure and disaster many times – sometimes organically whereas sometimes I brought it upon myself. But I knew that this is what I was going to do. I’ll either suck at it or be excellent at it. But there’s nothing else that I want to do.

What’s an emotion that you struggle with while acting?

Sumeet Vyas: Contrary to popular belief, I think happiness is the toughest emotion to play. If I have to play happy or excited about something, that’s the toughest thing to achieve. It’s easy to play sad. I have enough sad memories to be sad (chuckles). It’s toughest to be genuinely happy. Because I come from that school of thought that if I’m performing happy, then I have to be happy. I need to feel that happiness for people to believe that I’m truly happy. Laughing is tougher than crying. I struggle with that.

What’s a genre of film that you want to explore soon?

Sumeet Vyas: Action. I had done a bit of it once. But I want to explore it more. Maybe a different kind of action than the regular.

What’s the best thing about being married to a fellow actor?

Sumeet Vyas: There are a lot of things that I don’t have to explain. Ekta (Kaul, wife) understands. Today, I had a day off from my shoot days, so she wanted to take our child out to play and really wanted me to join. But I couldn’t [because of media interactions]. But she understood. It would have been harder to explain this to someone who doesn’t work in my profession. There are times when I don’t have a day off for three months. How does that work? Everyone has a day off in a week. So, that understanding is the best thing about being married to a fellow actor.

What are your upcoming projects?

Sumeet Vyas: I have a show titled Blind Date, directed by Ken Ghosh. It’s a corporate drama that is coming out soon. I’ll start working on Tripling Season 4. Fingers crossed, we crack a good script.

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