With filming still not allowed in Maharashtra, television shows have moved out of the city to shoot new episodes. With most states still in lockdown, people are at home and their screens have become the go-to source of entertainment. Sumeet Raghvan, who plays the junior Wagle in Wagle Ki Duniya, thinks the decision to shoot outdoors in a bio bubble is a brilliant decision from creators. The actor gets messages from his fans about how the show has made them laugh during the difficult times. But how hard does it get for actors to laugh when everything around them is gloomy?
Comedy is said to be the hardest genre to crack and for Sumeet, it is the dedication that leads an actor to forget his personal emotions in front of the camera. “The ‘the show must go on’ rule retains a lot of water in such situations. I remember working with an actor many years ago who had just lost his father. He came and performed on stage and when the show was over he just broke. However, it could never be concluded from his performance that he had just cremated his father. We have our personal lives, we worry, but when it comes to work, we live the character’s life.”
The actor added that he is also relieved that the cast is working together and supporting each other. “These are terrible times. As actors we may be able to survive, but my heart breaks when I think about the daily betting on set. No one worked all year round and it was important that shooting resumed to give them a chance to make money. We are stationed here together and take care of each other. We are family in the truest sense of the word.”
Speaking of the shooting experience, the 50-year-old said the writers do a great job of producing stories with limited resources. With only a handful of cast and crew around, they also follow a strict bio-bubble to avoid any mistakes. “JD Majethia and Aatish Kapadia are such great creators and producers. We are tested at intervals and also make sure that everyone is protected. They have created very clever stories and I also have to bow to the audience, who have wholeheartedly accepted the changes in Wagle Ki Duniya.” Sumeet also shared that the team indulges in home sessions and plays games to keep themselves occupied. “One of the mock boys recently won a cash prize. Our producers definitely know how to keep their spirits up.”
The Sarabhai vs Sarabhai actor has been away from family for over a month to film in Silvassa. In such times you find comfort between closed and we wondered if the distance causes any mental anguish. He replied: “I think technology has helped us a lot. It would probably have been difficult 10 years ago. Now you can video call your partner, children and even pets. On the other hand, I feel blessed that we have the opportunity to to work and earn. All we can hope for is that everything will be sorted out soon so we can all be back home. Honestly, we took this on ourselves because people really let their guard down.”
Sumeet Raghvan himself had tested positive for Covid-19 in April. He said that while he was shooting his eyes started to burn and he realized something was wrong with him. “I was shooting for another project and did the test on set itself. When the reports came positive, I knew I wouldn’t be able to work for the next two weeks. Since we are the protagonists, the whole show is affected. However, I recovered well and was able to go back to work.”
The actor concluded that while one can stop going to restaurants, shopping malls or even theater, when cocooned at home, television is the only reprieve. “Entertainment plays a very big role in keeping people happy and I’m grateful that as actors we get the chance to spread some happiness and positivity.”
Wagle Ki Duniya, starring Aanjjan Srivastav, Bharati Achrekar and Pariva Pranati, was launched in February. It is broadcast on Sony SAB.