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Subtlety Wins

There are times when the fate of a film is decided by several elements including the strength of its supporting cast. The recently released October not only boasted critically acclaimed performances from the protagonists but was also backed by some very powerful character actors who provided noteworthy support. And one of them is Sahil Vedoliyaa (Manjeet) who talks to Suranajna Biswas about his role in the film

On The Brief

The brief was very simple: it is an unusual love story. It has four friends. I basically auditioned for the role, and then I got a call from the casting director Mr Jogi’s office, to give one more audition in costume, which was instructed by Shoojit Sircar. Finally, I was selected.

On The Role

I have worked as an anchor before and also in a regional film. I have been a host on Voice Of Punjab. But, I was in touch with Mr Jogi for three or four years and eventually I came on board for this character.

On The Challenges

When I received the call from Shoojit sir’s team, they asked if I was free in the evening because sir wanted to talk to me. I was, like, okay I will be free at 4 pm. He asked me only two questions – how I was doing and if everything was okay in life. I was very excited to be a part of this film. Then, he asked me if I had ever acted in a film. I told him I had worked as an anchor and also worked in a regional film.

He said the one thing you don’t have to do in my film is act. He wanted everything to be natural and not artificial. He was very particular about the scenes, about the character. No drama and everything should be smooth. No hand gestures. Mostly, the actor should be able to speak with their eyes. This was very challenging for me but also a learning experience.

On The Director

He is just amazing as a director and as a mentor. I am really lucky to have entered Bollywood with such a film under Shoojit sir’s banner. He is always very calm on the sets. He is very understanding and has the calibre to understand if the actors have a problem of any sort. If the actors need some time to prepare or rehearse or learn their lines, he is willing to give them time. He was very particular about this. Since he is always very calm, it helps the actors do well on the sets. He is just superb.

On His Co-stars

It was a very nice experience for me to work with all the actors in the film. Varun is a fantastic human being and Banita is so cute, very simple and a loving girl. She is also very nice to people when she speaks to them. Varun is a star in Bollywood but he does not throw starry tantrums. He is a very humble guy and very down-to-earth. He is also very helpful. When we would do a scene together, he was always very encouraging. That was very kind of him.

On The Response

The critics have given the film some really good reviews. From what I understand, the film is not for everyone. It is a very different kind of film. IMDB has also given the film a good rating. I am getting good feedback for my performance on social media, also from the Punjabi audience who has watched me on TV. They all feel that I have a long way to go after my first Bollywood film. People have praised Varun as well, he has done a good job. It just feels great to receive such appreciation. I feel that I have done justice to my character. Now I want to move forward and work harder.

On Future Projects

My focus would be on national channels, now that I have worked in regional channels as a host and anchor. I am not saying I will stop anchoring but, after this, I want to be a part of films as well. I want to play some good characters.

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