Interview By: HASTI DOSHI
Shreyas has always made us laugh with his funny roles and has stunned us with is extraordinary acting skills. This time it is no different as he is back with very unusual story of ‘Poster Boys’ which also marks his directorial debut. We wish him good luck for his debut and chat about few more things regarding his film and forthcoming projects. Excerpts:
Firstly, you have debuted as a director with ‘Poster Boys’, so how has this role treated you?
I initially felt it will be very stressful but the amount of fun I had directing was a lot. Also for number of years you are acting and then if you get something new to do, it brings happiness, same happened with me. It was actually a stress buster for me and I started loving it, I was working with Sunny paji, Bobby and I have worked with them earlier in a space as an actor. Actually there wasn’t any plan of directing and we went to couple of other directors but everyone was busy at that point of time, so that’s when my team and everyone said, why don’t you do it? As I was part of the Marathi version of the film, also a part of Hindi story writing team and I knew the dialogues which made me decide to direct the film.
You always have been a versatile actor, what made you try directing?
It was there on my mind, I wouldn’t say no, but I wasn’t sure that it will happen so fast and for this film, as I was waiting for the right script. The time has changed and also the things, there are new young breed of directors coming in with new story ideas and concepts, so as an actor you keep on evolving and after a point of time you have done all kinds of roles still I want to keep exploring and doing new things. This has happened completely by a chance as I always wanted be part of ‘Poster Boys’ as an actor. Parag is a good friend of mine who handles the film too, once bounced the idea of the film to Sunny sir and he wanted to know about it, so I narrated the story to him. After the narration he asked about the director who was not decided, he told me to direct it and that’s when I started thinking about it. That gave me little more confidence to jump into it.
You have also been acting in the film along with direction, how did you balance both at the same time?
Yes, that is the difficult part. As an actor you are clear in your mind about what are you supposed to do but, when you are doing both the things it gets a little difficult as you have to shift your focus from acing to directing where even other people are acting and also the scenes need to be perfect. While doing the directing part, you suddenly have to jump in to the scene and start acting and I myself used to fumble or laugh on jokes. That was a little stressful part when I had to act and direct at same time. When I was in scene I used to look at the camera which is shooting from right angle, then is everyone saying dialogues properly and then I myself used to forget the dialogues, then I realised this can’t happen and I had to trust my team in such scenarios.
Comedy is a difficult genre in context to make people laugh, and now a days everyone is trying to do same, what do you think of that as a film maker?
You cannot cheat when you are doing comedy, people will laugh genuinely only if they feel like. I guess you have to be careful with your punch lines and reactions. Comedy is more of reaction than action. My focus was to make sure that these things are kept in mind and my technical team made sure how it can look blissful and funny. I have been doing comedy since theatre so I know few things and some things I learn from people who are experienced. When we used to tell Sunny paji about the scene he has his own inputs about how that can be funnier and real. I guess as a director I wanted to be receptive, so I had told everyone to give their ideas and whichever I liked I could use those. That is how we work even in theatres and here, we give our own ideas and inputs to make it livelier.
As the story is based on a true event and is quite funny, how did you react when you first heard the story?
This is the real story of 3 coolies from some village in Maharashtra. Then it was reported in news that how without their permissions these posters were printed which got them into trouble in their personal lives. Then it was thought of creating into a film in a humorous way and only the one line of the story appealed me and made me do the film. That was the driving force for me to do the film in Marathi originally in 2014 and now in Hindi. It has appealed me as well as audiences which made the film run good in cinemas as the story is very unique. It is that one line which makes or breaks the story, so if you understand that then you enjoy it. Simple stories are better as they don’t complicate things and make audience understand easily.
Also Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol are part of film which takes it to some other level, how was the feel on the set?
It was damn good and we completed film on record time. This could happen because both of them were extremely charged, and interested in the film and their characters. They wanted to give their best shot and Sunny sir is a veteran actor and Bobby is like a friend but due to them the film gets a weightage. Infact I needed someone who has a personality of a gentleman and never expected to do something notorius or cheap even if the situation is such. I found that kind of image in Sunny Deol and that really helps us in the film and also to reach out to family audiences. Also Bobby has done various films but we didn’t wanted him to do something very different as he was also ready for various options and we just wanted him to give a simple character for which we had workshops for 10 to 12 days. Sunny and Bobby added value to the film and it was great fun.
“Comedy is more of reaction than action”
The film is already released in Marathi cinemas, don’t you think that can be a drawback for the number of audiences?
Actually I don’t think so, because only Maharashtra has seen the film and that too only Maharashtrians I feel. So, I feel this would be a wider reach and also there would be people who haven’t seen the film in Maharashtra itself and even if they choose to watch on YouTube that still won’t affect much. Even though the Maharashtrians have seen it they will go to see how we three are portraying the characters so we hope more people come and watch the film.
‘Poster Boys’ is already a hit for Marathi cinema, what are your expectations here?
Honestly, every filmmaker wants his film to do well at cinemas and I don’t have any different wish from that. It was an honest attempt for me and i enjoyed directing the film. I hope people like the film so that I can do more such films. So, yes there are goosebumps, nervous jitters, butterflies in stomach and we are taking small steps towards it and I want to make sure that this positivity stays constant for the film.
It’s been decade you have been in this industry, how have you evolved as an actor and what changes you see in the industry?
Directing and producing has immensely help to improve the actor Shreyas. Independently I became producer with this film but earlier Subhashji forced me to get into it which was different experience and then I got into direction which made me learn lot of things. Now when I enter the studio my perspective has changed, I think from director’s point of view or a producer’s view. With time you tend to learn things and there are situation and experiences which teach you things. Also, the flop movies teach you something so you need to keep going and there is no end to learning new everytime. So I make sure what ever experience I had I use it in developing my skills as an actor and implement them in my performance.
Also its ‘Golmaal 4’ on your list now, so how is that going? As it’s a Rohit Shetty film so what’s different this time?
It’s going to be massive, huge and extremely funny. All of us are going to work together after seven years, I remember when we met on the first day everyone was happy and started to shoot. But, Rohit was taking too many retakes which made us ask him why is he doing that and the film is not new to us we have done this earlier, then he showed us few scenes from ‘Golmaal 3’ and then we realise that we aren’t even giving our 10 Percent to it and then we were nervous and we rehearsed. We are having a lot of fun and there are few more additions of Parineeti, Tabu ma’am, Neel, Prakash Raj sir and the story is very interesting. I hope this Diwali people have a great time with ‘Golmaal 4.’
Any other projects you are working on?
There is one more film which is untitled which will be in floors immediately after ‘Golmaal 4’ releases. Infact I am tied up with ‘Poster Boys’ then ‘Golmaal 4’ post production and then that other film where tentatively Sharman and I are working. There are couple of scripts I am working on to direct.