Writer and actor Sumeet Vyas has only one rule for picking a role: “Have I seen or been this character before?”
The answer to this question has determined the choice of characters played by the actor and writer in the several web series he has headlined, including Permanent Roommates and TVF Tripling, and the films English Vinglish and Ribbon. When Vyas was offered the part of a deejay who gets stoned on an airplane without realising that it is in danger of being hijacked in the movie High Jack, he knew that this was one of the roles that answered his lifelong quest. Akarsh Khurana’s stoner comedy will be released over the next few weeks.
“I read the script and remember sitting in my room and laughing out loud,” Vyas said. “I told Akarsh that he must make the film, and I eventually became part of the film. Also, I play a DJ who is trying to find his foothold in the industry. This was the biggest draw for me, because I could not imagine myself as a DJ. I wanted to break away from the kind of stuff I have been doing.”
High Jack is a situational comedy that also stars Mantra, Sonnalli Seygall and Kumud Mishra. “You can expect absolute madness from the film,” Vyas said. “The kind of humour we are endorsing is very different from the other comedies today.”
Apart from acting in television shows, films and web series, Vyas has also been involved in creating his own material. He has writing credits on Bang Baaja Baraat (2015) and TVF Tripling (2016) as well as the direct-to-Netflix movie Love Per Square Feet (2018). Writing is an organic process that helps Vyas unwind after acting, he said.
“Now it has become fairly tough to take out the time for writing,” Vyas said. “Earlier it was slightly easier, but this year, I have been busy with acting. I hope I can balance this better. In an ideal scenario, I would take a month off and finish off a script and then go on to act. But acting is so tempting that it is very hard to say no to the work that comes your way.”
Among Vyas’s other significant releases in the year is Shashanka Ghosh’s Veerey Di Wedding, in which he has been cast with Kareena Kapoor. “I am a fairly spontaneous actor and I prepare much before I come on set,” Vyas said. “The idea is to meet more interesting people and to travel more and store character traits in my mind. So when I read a script as an actor, I am essentially questioning myself as to whether I can pick out somebody from my bag of characters. In that sense, the preparation comes way before I come on to the project.”
Vyas will continue to be involved with the digital space that has given him his following. He is working on the second season of Tripling along with Akarsh Khurana. “Writing a web series is exciting because you get more time to establish your characters, and it is a far more fulfilling experience that lets you spend some more time with your plots,” Vyas said. “Film has its own charm, but it is very limited. Over the course of time, it will find its balance, where people will want to do films and then come back and do a series. None of them has to be smaller or bigger than the other.”