Cyrus Sahukar's character 'Yogesh' in Kadakh has received warm reviews. The film has also been given a thumbs up by critics and audiences alike. International Business Times, India, got in touch with the actor to talk about his journey and the process.
Tell us about your experience of writing for Kadakh. How were you brought on board?
For a feature film, yes. It is the first time I have written. It started with Mr. Rajat Kapoor, who I'd worked with him in theatre, who came up with the idea of this film set in a party on Diwali. He wanted some quirky, weird characters and asked me if I would like to jam with him over this. We would just jam on ideas, human lives, and our lives in many ways living in the city. For me, the structure and screenplay are all a haze and he is a master at that.
But, for me it was something really interesting; putting in dynamics, colours, discussing all the strange and absurd people I have met in my life and discussing whether we can see a glimpse of them in the film. The process of jamming with him was beautiful. It was a huge learning experience and a great experience to be a part of a group of people so talented.
Give us a sense of your writing process and method
It was more on a jam process where Mr. Rajat Kapoor and I would jam on ideas. He is somebody who is very open to improvisations by actors and what we would do is, we would pick up a scene and look at it from different vantage points, look at the motivation behind each human being and character in that scene. Not just in reel life, in real life too we all are covered up with a lot of layers, which get revealed the more we interact and be with someone. In the film also, my character Yogesh keeps telling everyone how to be and what to do, but underneath there is so much insecurity, worry and desperation to be recognized as somebody in public. We wanted to bring forth such aspects of people. I was more involved in the dialogues process.
The film has received warm reviews. What drew you to the character of Yogesh? Did you audition?
So for the audition for the part of Yogesh, there were some 20-25 people. And we were not given any dialogues. I had never given an audition before and found this one to be quite fascinating. We were just told about the situation and the scene and we were told to improvise. And a lot of what came out of it actually made its way to the film as well. One scene between Mr. Kapoor and me, where I say 'I will sue you' and 'are you oil?' was actually a part of the audition improvisation. I always wanted to play a motivational speaker as they are so fascinating and bizarre. We thought it would be so interesting to have a character that's a self-help guru who needs help himself. And that's what drew me to it.
Tell us about the experience of working in the film
There was nothing like an early pack-up. We used to shoot from 6 pm to 7 am for over thirty nights. What a beautiful bunch of people to work with! There was something about the night that I can't explain, nobody calls you. There is a silence to it. As we were shooting about an incident that happens one particular night, no matter how many days we shot, the atmosphere remained unchanged. It's just one night of constant partying. And through it, we had some of the most philosophical conversations. There is no one to disturb you, everyone is in one room. We found great joy in discussing the lives of the characters we played. In each of the scenes in the film, we were all required to perform throughout because the camera could go anywhere. I feel films like these get made on love and there was a lot of that in the film.
Do you think the perception people have of you has always directed the kind of roles you get offered?
All the time. I feel, maybe we have also set that perception for them. Eventually, people don't have the time to sit and wonder what all you can be in front of the camera. There are very few casting directors who want to cast people out of the realm that they have created. I have had a successful career but I have never been offered anything fascinating beyond what I got. And I have understood that that's the way it works. And these days with the OTT platforms, so many more interesting things are coming about, which makes me happy. But, yes, the number of times I have been offered the sweet, bumbling guy is .. I mean, I could write a book about it. A sweet, harmless, bumbling guy; I should get a t-shirt with that on.
After being here for so long, would you consider yourself an insider or an outsider?
I don't even know what an insider means, quite frankly. I think, people just decide that we are the industry, but it belongs to everyone. And, social media, media, streaming channels, interactive platforms; they all are a part of it. And I have felt that I a part of that world in my own little corner, contributing in my small way. But will I ever be a part of some mega groups? I don't think so. I don't think I want to be invited to that party either. My intention has never been to own a massive hotel, I want to have a boutique hotel with a few rooms and a few loyal guests. I am grateful for the journey I have had. From there onwards, whatever happens, happens.