You saw him as the overtly strict and dominating father of Ishaan Awasthi (played by Darsheel Safary) in TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and he will be always remembered for his terrific portrayal of Nandkishore Awasthi yes we are talking about Vipin Sharma who is all set to make his directorial debut with a comic web series ‘Akki Vikki Te Nikki’. The show’s extended promos will be out this Diwali.In an exclusive conversation with Glamsham the director reveals what his upcoming show is all about and why mainstream Bollywood should also give importance to meaningful cinema.
What inspired you to take up direction? Did you always want to be a director?
I seriously never thought about direction as primarily I am a trained actor from NSD. But long ago I assisted Ketan Mehta and I was very fascinated by my first film with him called HERO HIRALAL which was a film within a film and also about films based on filmmaking fraternity. I am also interested in writing so one day I was in office and I saw an actor giving even his plate (name and number) with help of acting. That person when asked about his name and number he replied in manner which was very filmy. I am also fascinated by the fact that so many people daily try and visit Filmcity and other such media offices just to know if there’s any auditions going on. There are many people who feel proud and happy thinking aaj maine teen auditions kar liye as few of them feel that you learn acting through auditions. This whole process of ek chance paane ka ki yaar ek baar parde par ek minute ke liye bhi aa jayein aur main phir Shah Rukh ki bhi chutti kardunga. So I was amazed with what makes people think like that. These people who are called strugglers but I call them dreamers or warriors. So many people come to Mumbai out of which many are poor and haven’t taken any acting training yet they aspire to be one and are desperately waiting for one chance. This obsession fascinates me a lot. So I delve into who are all these people and what all they go through to fulfill their small dreams. Also, what makes them leave everything behind and come to Bombay and live in deplorable condition with no money, no food, no place to stay nothing. This aspect of film industry is unknown so I wanted to explore this aspect. In Bollywood on one side we have glamourous parties, premieres and on other side we have people living in chawls, struggling to find one chance. These underbellies of Bollywood interest me a lot and that’s how I thought of making this web series ‘Akki Vikki Te Nikki’ which is based on this obsession.
Is this show based on real life incidents?
It’s a mix of both facts and fiction. I did a workshop with 60 of these warriors (actors) and I wanted to know more about their life their stories. With them I didn’t do typical acting exercises, I just talked to them to know who these people are. And then I added my own imagination and fictionalized it a bit. So yeah it’s a combination of both- fiction and reality.
Why such a quirky title ‘Akki Vikki Te Nikki’? Any specific reason?
See all these people who I was talking about have very interesting nick names and that interested me a lot. Yeh aapas me jab sath rehte hai na they all have nick names for each other. It inspired me and also I find ‘Akki Vikki Te Nikki’ rhyming so that’s how the show got this title.
Is it true that this series was actually supposed to be a feature film?
Yeah it was a feature film we had shot it as a feature film. But then I realized that there is so much material that in a film we won’t be able to justify it and also considering the digital reach. I think a subject like this and Bollywood is known all over the globe, everybody knows about it so it will be interesting to reach a global audience. A viral video can reach the world within a minute while a film might take a long time to release, so we wanted to reach as many people as possible and give the world an insight into Bollywood.
Now that you have become a director so tell us what is more satisfying- directing or acting?
Both have their own charm. I feel every part of filmmaking has its own value and charm. So it’s different for every role. When you are directing you don’t have to care about how you are looking or whether you have had a bath or not (laughs) but when you are acting you have to be presentable. Also when you are directing you have to take care of everybody but when you are acting then everyone takes care of you. As a director you have to work with everyone and hence co-ordination is very important. You have to keep everybody motivated. Also you have to take quick decisions as time is very important and you cannot let anything disturb your schedule. On the spot trouble shooting is also another challenging part of being a director and how you convert your ideas with whatever is available to you. Acting has its own charm, when you are acting you are focusing on your character-dialogues. So yeah everything has its own beauty.
There are around 150 actors working in this series apart from some terrific actors like Zeishan, Manu. So how did you manage to bring everyone on board?
There have been times when I have chatted with all of them separately so you deal with it as it comes. When you talk to actors as human beings it becomes much easier to know them genuinely. I never ask my actors ‘you do this or that or act like this’ I try to know all my actors personally first so that helps a lot and makes the process easy.
What are your expectations from this series?
My expectation is that people watches and understands it and have a smile on their face after watching it. And eventually love these people who have gone through lot of humiliation and rejection and understands actors and filmmakers a little more. It will give you an insight into how are films made and also it’s a comedy so I hope people like it a lot. There are no inside jokes of the industry in this series we haven’t imitated anyone or used mimicry or even made joke of anyone from the industry. I am very respectful of everybody and that’s how I kept this show as well. We have kept it very universal and humane. You know it’s such an innocent desire, we are not attacking anybody or any country we are not killing any people we are not pick-pocketing all we are trying to do is make a film and everybody watches that film so that’s the only expectation we have. I wished the whole world was like that no wars no hate.
If given a chance what would be the one thing that you would like to change about Bollywood?
I would like that all big production houses also simultaneously start making films which not only entertain people but also enlighten them. People should walk out of a movie and think about what they just saw and what needs to change in our society. They should get something out of the movie. So we should also make smaller films but with great messages and stories. Also lot of writers, actors doesn’t get chance so something should be done for them as well. The mainstream Bollywood has a responsibility to also support small and good cinema. I really want something like this happens.
What is your opinion regarding Digital media?
It is the future you know. It has a very easy accessibility too and more and more people are drawn to it, lots of big productions are drawn to it. So in order to stay with time you need to adapt accordingly. Also it gives opportunity to lot of people who otherwise may not be able to get a chance so this digital media is good for them. It’s cost-effective and also give chance to lot of new talent.
What’s next in pipeline?
My new film is releasing SHAADI MEIN ZAROOR AANA on November 10. I also have a very important role in BAAGHI 2. I am also working on a couple of scripts.
Any plans of making a feature film?
Yes definitely I am working on few very exciting ideas. So let’s see hopefully I will be able to announce something soon.