In conversation with the cast of Yo Ke Hua Bro — a Voot Originals webseries which goes online today.
It is interesting how the web series culture is catching up — with actors and producers using the platform to reach out to a new kind of audience. After the success of the recent It’s Not That Simple, Untag and others, Viacom18’s OTT platform Voot is all geared up to kick off another six-episode original series titled Yo Ke Hua Bro starring Shamita Shetty, Aparshakti Khuranna, Gaurav Pande and Ridhima Pandit.
Set in the hinterland of Haryana (Rohtak), YKHB brings alive the essence of bromance and friendship. The content will be comedy and drama based. Two friends (Aparshakti and Gaurav) get stung by a honey trap and are seeking redemption as they are on the verge of losing everything as victims of a unique ‘Mardon Ka MMS’ stunt. The series is a perfect blend of fun, friendship and thrill.
Looking for something new
Ridhima Pandit, last seen as a robot in Life Ok’s Bahu Hamari Rajni Kant, is all set to woo her fans as Ragini in the webseries. Talking about her experience, the actress says, “It was a lot of fun and I felt like I was shooting for a film. On television, we used to shoot around 15 scenes. This kind of comedy is new and different.”
The actress is currently seen on The Drama Company. She says that she shared great camaraderie with Shamita Shetty and the rest of the cast. “My character is a typical small-town girl who wants to be a city girl. Her manners are citylike but her accent is not. It is a very well-written character full of surprises. You cannot hate her. I had to look very glamorous which is so not me in real life, so I had to work really hard on this and my accent,” she informs.
Ask her about the importance of web platform for an actor, and she promptly replies, “I personally feel that a lot of youngsters — in metro cities and small towns — cannot do without the internet. Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Voot have become a craze. It is really important to be in the web space because it lets you experiment and connect with a larger audience. With TV, if I do a show, I am playing the same character for a year; a web series, on the other hand, is short term. Since censorship hasn’t kicked in yet, there is a lot of freedom on web,” she believes.
Speaking of the ongoing controversy around a TV showing child marriage, she says that an actor shouldn’t be blamed for it as s/he must have perceived the character differently. “Although I haven’t seen the serial, we should give the show some time. They are doing a story and to write it off suddenly will not be the right thing. Even if it has started on a regressive note, I’m sure they have a progressive message to give out,” she signs off.
Playing a grey character
After a long hiatus, Shamita is making her debut on the web platform through the series. The actress, who has been a part of reality shows like Bigg Boss and Jhalak... says she isn’t sure why it took her so long to turn to web. “Honestly when YKHB came to be, I was really excited because I wanted to be a part of the good subject and portray an interesting character. The minute it came to me, I grabbed the opportunity.”
Talking about her character Suman, Shamita says, “She appears to be very simple and sweet but as the story progresses, you see a completely different side to her. You realise that she is a very confident woman, aware of her sexuality and uses it to get what she desires.
The character has given me the opportunity to show various shades of human behaviour. I am a very calm and simple person. So playing Suman was tough. The character needed to be a little rough, even abusive at times. I was given a list of profane words to practise at home,” says the actress who debuted with Mohabbatein.
“Films take a lot of time,” Shamita says, “whereas shooting for the series was done in a short span. This medium gives you a lot more scope to experiment. Obviously there is no censorship, so people take a lot more liberty.”
Web is the present
“Rohtak ki kahani hai yeh. Two friends are striving to woo girls but fail miserably at it. My character is very goofy. The story is somewhat like an Andaaz Apna Apna in Rohtak,” explains Aparshakti Khurana who was seen in films like Dangal and Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya and is hosting You Have Been Warned on Discovery Channel. The former RJ says that he had much fun making it and didn’t realise how quickly they wrapped it up.
His characters in Dangal and Badrinath... had a comic side to them. How different was it playing Piysh? “More than anything else, the set-up is very different in a webseries. Also my character as is completely differently. Piyush is not innocent unlike my other characters but he is naïve. He has big dreams but doesn’t want to study. Both Piyush and Mahendra are stuck in the same college for many years. Since the characters are different, the humour too is very different,” he adds.
The actor, who is also the younger brother of Ayushmann Khurana, says, “The content available on web is easier to consume. People often say that web is the future but both my brother and I feel that it is the present and need of the hour. Good things are happening in the web space and unlike other web series, here you can see all the six episodes one after the other,” concludes Aparshakti.