Mikesh would be the right word to introduce Sumeet Vyas. Yes, the same Mikesh who has been tickling you ribs with his spectacular comic timing in Permanent Roommates. The actor-writer started off with a small role in Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish (Yes, you could not recognize him) but rose to fame with the web series Permanent Roommates.
Did you always want to be an actor?
I never thought of becoming an actor. In my childhood, I wanted to become a pilot and after some years, I wanted to be a computer engineer. (Laughs) So it kept on changing with time. I was terrible at studies and after completing 12th, I did not continue it. Then, I started working in an editing studio as an assistant editor in Mumbai. I used to edit countdown shows. One day I went to watch one of my father’s plays. After watching him act, I felt that is what I want to do. I felt so happy watching people act, dance, sing over there. I came back and told my father that I want to start doing theatre. My father said you don’t need to as you are doing a good job in the editing studio. He was happy that I was earning my own money. But I stuck to my aim. It’s been 15 years and running.
Which was your first film and how did you get it?
My first film was English Vinglish. It was a small role of a Pakistani. Before getting that role, I was busy doing theatre only. There is a funny story to how I got the role. I was getting drunk at a party and somebody called and told me that there is an audition happening for a role. I was not in a state to go to the audition but I took a break from the party and went for the audition. After a month, they called and informed me that I was doing a role in the film.
Did that role help you build your path into other films as well?
The funny thing is that nobody recognized me after English Vinglish. I had a beard in the film and I had to tell people that it was me in the film (Laughs). I used to a daily soap and continued with that only.
How much did theatre helped to polish you as an actor and what all plays did you act in?
I started doing theatre with Nadira Babbar’s group. I used to do a job over there. In those days, some of the popular actors were busy in television too, so they sometimes could not make it to the rehearsals. I used to do the proxy for them. I had learnt all their dialogues and took part in the rehearsal so that others could practice. I managed to get some roles by doing that. That’s how I began acting on the stage. I acted in many of Nadira Ji’s play for 6 years. I used to be there for almost the whole day. I was doing whatever was told to do. On some days, I was doing lighting and on other days, I was playing Dholak. After 6 years, I moved out and got in connection with Manav Kaul, Atul Kumar, and other big names in theatre and acted in their plays.
A lot has changed. People have begun to recognize me in the streets. The best thing that happened with this web series is that one got the opportunity to show our work to the young audience which lies in between the age group of 25 years to 35 years. The youth, today, is seeing the world cinema, the foreign TV shows, and other stuff, so you cannot take them for granted. You need to be absolutely ready to impress them.
The success made us feel that we are doing a good and relevant job. As far as the fame is concerned, you enjoy it but at the same time, you know that it is not going to last forever. Fame comes and goes. And this I learnt while doing theatre where audience used to stand and appreciate your work, come backstage for a photograph. But after they left, I used to catch a bus or a train and come back to my room. The fame lasted for just those hours. This is the reason why one should not take fame to our heart. One should just chase good work but not fame.
Your chemistry with Nidhi Singh has been really well taken..what is it that it makes you guys click?
There are some actors with whom you meet and click instantly. We don’t do anything special for that chemistry to happen on the screen. She has a really good sense of humour. She is a very receptive actor. We are good friends. We have been working now for the past two years. That helped a lot.
I don’t think it would be able to replace cinema. It has opened a new place, a new market for us. It has made a place for its own. The market for the web series is increasing by the day. One thing that it has replaced, I believe, are those short-budget films. Those people who earlier used to make short-budget films are now thinking of making a web series because it has got higher reach. They don’t have to deal with problems related to distributing, public relation and other related problems. In coming days, there will be two kinds of cinema.
One will be the cinema on the big screen which will become larger than life. People will expect to see cars flying, superheroes, fantastic visual effects because they are paying 1000 or 2000 rupees. The other will be our version where four people are talking in a room.
You wrote Bang Baaja Baraat but there is not any news about your next writing venture. Any update on that?
I am writing one series for The Viral Fever only. I cannot reveal much about it right now. It is a very interesting and unique story. I will start writing the second season of Bang Baaja Baarat later this year.
Asrani Ji is a wonderful human being. He is one of the most professional actors I have worked with. You expect actors like Asran Ji to be funny in life as well. You expect them do come and do something funny and hilarious as the image is such. But when you meet Asrani ji you will get to know that he is really an intelligent man, very sincere and serious person. As soon as the camera is on, he transforms.
He takes the script and then writes all his dialogues in Dev Nagri to prepare. He is enjoying the character very much. Bissu (Biswapati Sarkar) had told me that he had imagined Asrani Ji while writing that character and wanted him only to play that role which eventually happened.
What is the most precious thing you have earned in this short journey of yours?
I really don’t know (After thinking hard for long). I think I have learned not to take anything for permanent. And I am saying this while I am working in Permanent Roommates (Smiles).I believe in sticking to my work. Fame and success will follow.
Interview By: Shubham Pandey
Image Courtesy: Sumeet’s Facebook