Shruti Seth shares her soul-satisfying experience of shooting Kadakh

Mrinil Mathur
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shruti seth

Check out our latest conversation with Shruti Seth as she takes her audience on a comical stride with her latest release, Kadhak streaming on SonyLIV!

Set during the Diwali festival, Kadakh is a murder mystery, when a party hosted for friends goes awry with some uncomfortable revelations. A dark comedy unfolds as the friends, find a dead body cramped in a trunk amidst the Diwali celebration.

Along with her, the movie’s fun cast also includes Mansi Multani, Ranvir Shorey, Cyrus SahukarPalomi GhoshVinay Pathak, Waris Ahmed and others!

Here is what the entertaining conversation we had with her regarding his lockdown routine, shooting the film and decoding her character:

How is Kadhak special for you?

"It’s really really fun, dark, humourous script. It has got a fantastic cast, It has got a really nice bunch of talented people. We all spent almost 30 nights in December 2017 shooting this film. And by the end of it, we had all turned into sleep-deprived zombies but it was the most satisfying and joyful experience. I won't draw any parallels but it is exactly how everyone is feeling right now globally. You kind of know how the other person is feeling by just looking at them. So at the end of those thirty nights where we had stayed awake and shooting night is not fun, it is not fun at all. And I am not a night person. So for me, just agreeing to do a film where I needed to do a film where I have to stay awake for thirty straight night was in itself a big challenge. So we used to look at each other say "How are you still standing?" We were all completely wiped by the end of it but it was a soul-satisfying job. And that is what makes it so special. So it’s a journey of so many people together trying to build a piece or something and everyone gives literally a part of themselves to the content that you're putting together and that is what makes the film special in my opinion."

You have to be serious and comical simultaneously? How did you manage to crack the comic timing? How is Kadhak different from others, considering this is a dark comedy?

"The good job about being an actor and being with other talented actors is that everyone knows when to put on their game face and yet manage to keep even the heaviest of scenes light and easy because sometimes you carry the burden on your heart. If you're doing something which is very dark and serious, you tend to feel it. But the good thing about being with good actors and a good team is that the heaviest scenes are a breeze and the most disturbing scenes are full of joys and when you just hear the word 'CUT' everyone bursts out laughing and it's amazing how you can switch emotions so easily. That is what makes an actor's job fun. You can be so many people at the same time. And you can go through so much all at once. I just think it is an absolute joy to be an actor. There are times when someone gets giggles and you wanted to be supported because someone is doing a heavy scene and you're not feeling like you're there yet, but I think the beauty of being with such a talented cast where everyone has such a strong grip on their craft just becomes really easy. When you do get a chance to watch the film you will see a couple of scenes which you can tell are very heavy and if you end up seeing the outtakes you can see us laughing, making jokes and keeping each other light-hearted. I don't know how we did it but it was a soul-satisfying job for all of us."

How did you prep for the role?

"The thing about Rajat as a director is that I don't think he particularly likes people to rehearse too much. He likes people to be in that moment. So all of our scenes were done mostly on the spot and nobody actually went home and lived with their character. Of course, you do rehearse your lines, try to bring something new. With every shot, you try and change something to enhance the performance but primarily he likes people to be in the moment and that is fun actually. So there was not much rehearse and prep. The only preparation we had to do was to stay awake. That was the most difficult job for me. So by the end of it, we all were living on the melatonin tablets so that we could sleep through the day because our entire sleep cycle was completely reversed. But other than that, most of the scenes that happened, we rehearsed them just before the take and we kept trying to see what new we could do. But I don't think anyone really had to go home and sort of delve deep into their character because if you watch the film, the characters are very real. So we were in the moment and reached out to the experiences we had and used that for our performance."

What are your anticipations from the film? 

"The primary purpose of the movie is to entertain. So, I am hoping we manage to do that. I watched the film a couple of times when they were doing rough cuts and when I watched the final movie last year, we had a cast and crew screening in the theatre and I was very very invested in it and it is a very thrilling film because it is not too long. It's very immersive. It's like you are at the party with everybody. And then you see everyone lose their shit and everyone looks scary in the start of the film but as the film escalates, everybody's real character starts to emerge. And it can be quite a ming boggling thing but in the end, the primary purpose is to entertain and I think they should be able to hit that mark. There are many of us, so even if one of us fails, there are many others to cover up. It's a good thing."

The film was shot in a house with a large cast, with a Diwali setup, such tight setups affect the film drastically? Especially creatively? 

"I think it's a different genre. There are some films with many locations and you see a new location for every single scene but then to suddenly trap everyone together in one space, there are good sides and bad sides to both. You tend to get familiar with space if you're locked into one set. You just become easier with your space as opposed to shooting in a new location and your brain has to calibrate for you to get comfortable in the place. So if you are shooting in one location, that becomes easier. If you are shooting in multiple locations, you take a little longer to warm up and get acquainted. But like I said, it's two different genres of filmmaking. So, I don't know if it really impacts an actor's performance, but not for me. I was happy that we all were in one space. It used to get a little boring to see the same set every day and wearing the same clothes every day but there's a comfort level comes in and sometimes it gets boring and wish that we had another room to shoot in. Because it was a short film, there is not much to complain. There is not even much time. You are just trying to finish the shoot, clock the number of hours you are supposed to do and get through the day. So I don't think we had that much time to think about it. After a point, it felt like everyone is living in a house."

Can you share some inside stories?

"Initially, there were other people going to do this film. Then the cast got shuffled. Everyone tested for various characters but I think at the end of the day, it was about who is meant for which part and they end up playing the part meant for them. A lot of the characters were tested for each other's part but ended up playing something totally different but it is still the same cast, which is nice, But there were a few people who had been confirmed but in the last minute issues, some of the cast members had to be replaced but like I said it's Kismat!"

Something from the film that stayed with you, something you would remember?

"I will remember staying awake for life. I will never forget it. It was really nice because we're all together in one makeup room and it reminded me of my initial days of becoming an actor like how people were put into one makeup room and as years went by, and we became seniors, certain luxuries come into your life and now you have your own room and staff, this was like doing a student film all over again. Everyone sat together. Nobody had their person spot boys but we just lived like how friend go camping, it was literally like that. It was thoroughly enjoyable, we had such a great time. It was so much fun because I play a drunk in the film and Cyrus is my husband and we used to keep making lame jokes about my character and just everyone kept pulling each other's legs, trying to keep the atmosphere light and fun while making a very dark film. That in itself is the best to describe the experience."

Catch the trailer here:


Also Read: Ranvir Shorey gets candid about his experience of shooting Kadakh

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