Bhupesh Singh has given us some riveting performances in some of the most well-known films of our times. The singer/songwriter/actor is the master-mind behind those quirky, earthy lyrics in all the songs from Gangs of Wasseypur. He has also performed in films like Masaan, Kadvi Hawaa, and others. But what’s created a buzz for him in the cult industry for this theater personality is his outing as Harimaanji in the Amazon Prime web series, Shaitaan Haveli. Saamri.Com got hold of him and had an exclusive conversation. Here’s the transcript:
How did Shaitaan Haveli happen?
I had earlier worked with Ajay, the director of the show in I Don’t Watch TV. He knows my work. Before this, I have only got roles of a serious nature, at least in films. I had earlier written songs for one of his shows. I worked with Varun Grover, who wrote the songs in Gangs of Wasseypur. I sang the songs too.
Ajay met me for a song. I was offered a role of a director of such films in some other show too. So, Ajay had recommended me for this role. The crew didn’t know me earlier. There were talks of signing up a marketable name for this role. But after they saw my audition clip, they went ahead with me.
How did you prepare for the role?
We had some workshops with Varun and others. I know a lot about these films. I grew up in the 70s and therefore was familiar with the concept. I like films of the 80s, like those starring Mithun Chakraborty. I liked horror too. I used to go to the theaters to get scared.
How was the shooting experience?
The shoot was hectic. We had to shoot eight episodes and for that, you need a minimum of 40 days. But because we had a deadline, we shot this in 21 days. With some patchwork, we completed the entire shoot in 23 to 24 days. The shoot happened in a place called Jowar, in Palghar. It is a beautiful place. We even got a beautiful bungalow. The bungalow has been around since the times of the British.
Did you meet any of the film personalities that were hinted at in the series?
No, I have never met these directors. I was briefed about the characters by both Varun and Ajay. I was close to Ajay as an actor and as a professional. Ajay knows what I can do as an actor. I added some improvisations to the characters on my own. I am very happy and fortunate that Varun and Ajay believed in me and gave me the responsibility of bringing such a great character on screen.
What was in your mind when you portrayed the character?
The idea of the character was that he wanted to make a film in the end – whether he takes investment from the underworld or even must face the supernatural. I thought that would require a certain kind of energy. I tried to infuse such aspects into the character.
Horror Comedy is a new genre in India. Do you think this genre is good for business or not?
If we think about it from the point of entertainment, it’s okay if they want to make a horror comedy. But what we must check out is whether they are able to make a horror comedy. They try, but then it doesn’t work out sometimes. If they are making horror, the comedy isn’t coming out and vice versa.
Sometimes, the horror is over because of the comedy. In our country, there are some aspects added to the concept of horror, like if you are making horror, there needs to be sex. Horror has always been a B grade film in India. People in India want to watch horror, they want to be scared in the theater, but the film-makers here can’t do it.
What’s your favorite scene in the web series?
I have many favorite scenes in the web series. I specifically like the scene where I shoot with Monty for a long time, and even after that, I cannot tell him that he’s doing a bad job. I think that shows how difficult it is for a director to work with actors.
I, for one, would like to go for a second season. I am sure they will add more craziness to the second season. I am eagerly waiting to be part of it if it ever happens.