Indian rom-coms have more romance than comedy, says Vir Das, who hopes to up the latter through ‘Amit Sahni ki List’
Vir Das can talk at length about his comedy-rock band Alien Chutney and the music he and his friends believe in. But he concedes he never wanted to sing for a film. Referring to his playback singing for his forthcoming Amit Sahni ki List, he says, “Most often I’ve felt that actors singing for a film have done disservice to the song; it ends up looking force fit, with a mediocre voice thrust upon a character,” he says. What made him relent was that the situation didn’t require his singing to be at its best. “My character has a fear of heights. Two years after a fight with his girlfriend, he is about to jump off a plane for love. The situation was weird and apt for a song,” he says.
Amit Sahni ki List is a romantic comedy with Vir Das in the lead. “In five years, I’ve moved from being one of the guys to a supporting and now a lead actor. The time is right for a rom-com,” he says. Ajay Bhuyyan approached him for Amit Sahni… and Vir wanted to co-write the script. “Most Indian rom-coms have more romance than comedy and tend to get sappy. I wanted to up the comedy quotient,” he says.
Vir co-wrote the script, digging into experiences of his friends looking for love and the traits they wanted in their life partners. In the film, he is a youngster of today with a near-impossible list of things he expects from his woman. “I am an investment banker from South Mumbai; we shot in marine drive, Colaba causeway and Leopold café among other places. Mumbai plays a part in this story,” says Vir, who also cut the trailer of the film.
The actor has been doing all this in between his stand-up comedy acts, performing all over the country. His show ‘History of India – VIRitten’, a fun take on history, is being lapped up with much laughter. Vir works on a contract system to find enough time for shows. “When I take up a film, I make it clear that I want my Saturday evenings and Sundays off for my shows,” he says.
He doesn’t need time to rehearse, he says, since all his shows are written by him. “I never do a show written by someone else. I write thematic shows and have moved beyond the stage of making a living out of writing airline comedies,” he says.
Vir retreats to a cottage in Dehradun when he wants to write. A history buff, he owns at least 200 DVDs on history. During one such visit to his favourite cottage, he chanced upon Khushwant Singh’s books on history in the library. “I was intrigued to learn that Arabs traded dates and figs in return for women. I took that thread and started writing VIRitten,” he says.
Up next are shows ‘Battle of da sexes’ and ‘History of the world’, amidst a handful of films that include Jaane Kyun, a film on the 1984 riots with Soha Ali Khan, Saxx ki Dukaan, a romantic comedy called Khanna Patel and Santa Banta among others.