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One on One with Ashish R. Shukla

By Armin S. Monday, Jul 27, 2020 10:38: AM

Undekhi is directed by Ashish R. Shukla and frankly, his direction receives an abundance of praise given the kind of response the series has received. Here's my chat with him: 


1. UNDEKHI's trailer caught my attention right away. Tell me a little bit about what the development of the series and trailer, specifically the visual treatment?

The series came to me from the creators Siddharth Sengupta who's also written the screenplay. The writing was so unbashed and crisp that it demanded a lot of sincerity and justice in its making or it would have turned into a failed opportunity. Visually we wanted to show Manali in contrast of its image of beauty and picturesque calmness. We made it colder and dry. The shots were deadpanned to show looming threats and ruthlessness in the air.


2. Shooting for a series can be challenging for actors as the character develops over time. How did you assist your actors in getting into the head space of their characters?

We had a very fresh cast and for some actors, it was their first show of their careers. We had long workshops and group readings as our shoot was being pushed due to weather. So for almost 3 months we kept doing the scenes with each one of them. I mostly kept telling our actors to become the characters rather than try to act like them, because that's imitating the character rather than becoming one. And another thing that I tell most of my actors is to know the bank balance of your characters. It's to understand the phase of life they are in.



3. Was there a scene or a sequence in the film that took an emotional toll on you personally? If so, which one and why?

I'm mostly very detached emotionally when I direct, just to be in control of any situation or scene, unless there is some physical trauma that involves kids as I have my own nine year old son and have child abuse victim history myself. So whenever the show has some of such moments, it becomes very personal and discomforting to explain to the child artists.


4. During this time of quarantine and various restrictions, how are you keeping sane? 

Two of my projects including Undekhi and the other one, a feature film named "Bahut hua Sammaan" were done before the lockdown and I was awaiting their release. It was patience testing so I kept myself busy in writing and preparing for another shoot that's starting this month. I had some hope that "Der aayenge par durust aayenge". The challenge is way forward, because the shoot scenario is changing with all the restrictions and precautions. So any scene involving physical contact or intimacy or action or crowd gathering has become very challenging. Let's hope this too shall pass soon.

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