Sumeet Vyas on his new series The Story, future of entertainment in India, and writing TV shows
Before Sumeet Vyas appears on ZEE5's The Story, the actor talks about his career, the future of web-based entertainment, and his love for stories.
Sumeet Vyas has charmed an entire generation not only through the boyish charm in his portrayal of Mikesh in The Viral Fever's Permanent Roommates, but also through his writing, and a knack for recognising good stories. It's this love of stories that made it easy for Sumeet to appear on ZEE5's The Story: a show where popular faces reveal their funniest, most embarrassing incidents.
Sumeet, who recently penned the dialogues for the Vicky Kaushal-Angira Dhar starrer Love Per Square Foot, has had quite the career. One of the most prominent faces to emerge out of the fast-rising web-series craze that has gripped India, Sumeet has made his presence felt. From appearing in 2017's Ribbon opposite Kalki Koechlin to grabbing a role in the Kareena Kapoor starrer Veere Di Wedding, Sumeet's rise as an actor in the mainstream is a testament to the power of the web-based platforms.
In this interview, we talk about the actor's intention behind appearing on ZEE5's The Story, views on the future of web-based entertainment in India, thoughts on success, and his advice for aspiring writers and directors.
What prompted you to appear on ZEE5's The Story?
I love shows where people are telling real stories instead of watching fictional short stories, which we anyway keep watching on and off. On this show, everyone's trying to share their life stories. I am very, very keen on watching and listening to others talk about their life, and I am happy to share some of my embarrassing stories.
You must've had a number of interesting and crazy experiences in your life as you tried to become and actor and a writer. What kind of stories are you going to say on the upcoming episode of ZEE5's The Story?
The one that we are shooting for right now, it's a sort of a fun story, you know? It's not a dark or a sad story that has happened with me. And there are several interesting stories that have happened in my life over the course of time, and I don't think we should think of them as something sad that has happened in your life. When you look back, you always think of your life stories as something funny. At least I do.
Very recently you wrote the dialogues for the movie Love Per Square Foot, which was released on Netflix. And now you're on The Story with ZEE5. With so many of these platforms coming up, what do you think is the future of story-telling; be it short movies, web-series, or a full-length film?
It's great, you know; the web is a fantastic platform because it's so accessible. Everyone can watch the kind of stuff that they want to watch in accordance with their convenient time and place. This is why such platforms have gained so much popularity. I think that every platform has their voice – a kind of narrative that they believe in.
So, I don't think one needs to compete with the other, I think everybody should have their own voice and they should do their own thing. And that's the advantage of the web. In that sense, I can only see it growing; I don't see it stopping anywhere, as long as people are responsible with the freedom that it offers.
What do you personally want platforms, such as ZEE5, to do for the future of movies and TV shows in India? Do you hope such platforms become part of larger innovations, tell new stories, and push out newer talent?
Yes, I hope for these platforms to be brave about producing content. And when I say brave I don't mean bold, you know? I mean that I hope such platforms are able to back what they believe in and don't get bogged down by the pressure of 'oh, this is working so we should do this'.
That's the only thing I would expect – or rather hope – for every platform to do. If they are brave enough to believe in something new, they back it, and they go ahead and make it; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But we should always do it, and this is why we decided to come into this business.
Now that people recognise you, do you think you have made it? Or do you think you still have a long way to go?
(Laughs) No, there's a lot for me to achieve and there's a long way to go. I don't think I have made it yet. I mean, I don't think like that. All these years I have been wanting to do stuff that excites me, and there is a lot more I want to do as an actor, a writer and a director. So, in that sense I won't ever think I have made.
There'll always be a new story that I'd want to tell, and entertainment keeps changing every four years. I don't think anybody can stand on a pedestal and say they've made it because the moment they think they've made it, somebody else has something new which they had no idea about.
You have been involved in writing a web-series earlier. You wrote Bang Baaja Baaraat. What would your advice be to someone who wants to be a writer or a director? For someone who wants to break into the business? Keeping in mind that there are so many platforms coming up in India, like ZEE5.
I would definitely suggest them to study a little bit; to educate themselves a little bit. To do a course in film-writing or direction, or read books. My education has been fairly informal because I have been working for almost seventeen years, so I have learnt through failures. I have also educated myself through various books, and I've met writers to see how they work. You then gradually develop your own timing.
What are some TV shows or movies you have really enjoyed watching recently?
I don't really get the time to watch a lot of shows, honestly. But I really did love This Is Us on Amazon Prime; I think it is terrific writing. I really loved Black Mirror; I think it's the best piece of contemporary writing. And I want to watch more, I hope I find the time.
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