‘Hasmukh’: Vir Das, Ranvir Shorey and Nikhil Gonsalves on their new Netflix show

Vir Das in ‘Hasmukh’   | Photo Credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX

What made Ranvir Shorey opt to be in the new Netflix web series, Hasmukh? Pat comes the answer: teeth of gold. In what he describes as a “ride” of a show, Shorey plays Jimmy, “a scumbag manager with the heart and teeth of gold”. The artiste he is handling is a standup comedian from small town Saharanpur: Hasmukh played by Vir Das.

Jimmy is all the way through with Hasmukh in his entire journey into the crazy world of entertainment in Mumbai. It’s an eco-system and business that Shorey is himself part of, for real. However, the reel take on artiste management in the show gets dark: “It’s all about the extent to which you would go to get what you want,” he says.

Das, who plays the eponymous character, says that its a love-hate relationship that exists between Hasmukh and Jimmy. He found Hasmukh to be diametrically opposite to the kind of person he himself is: Hasmukh is not a good comedian. He knows how to write, but has confidence issues when it comes to getting on stage, and finds that the solution to that lies in committing murders.

The ten-episode series may belong to the comic universe but, as Das puts it, “it is outrageous, ridiculous, kitschy”, a heightened take of sorts on the nightly comedies on the GECs (general entertainment channels), be it Movers and Shakers from yore or the more recent The Kapil Sharma Show.

A stil from ‘Hasmukh’

A stil from ‘Hasmukh’   | Photo Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

Das feels that his partnership with co-producer Nikhil Advani worked for the better for the show. His own original idea was centred on the ridiculous but got a darker touch through Advani and the team of writers. “It’s a great coming together of comedians and filmmakers,” says Das. He loved heading the writers’ room where opposing creative views came together through many constructive arguments. “Comedy is centred on conflict,” says Das. And there’s a good amount of it in series.

It was as a writer that director Nikhil Gonsalves came on board Hasmukh initially and then went on to helm it. Gonsalves, who has P.O.W Bandi Yuddh Ke behind him and has assisted Advani and Vikramaditya Motwane, confesses being skeptical about the project initially. “I had a lot of apprehensions. Vir and Ranvir have their own take on comedy,” he says. And he himself had his own perspective on Hasmukh. He wondered if they would be reluctant in understanding that but eventually there was a sharing of ideas in the true spirit of collaboration. He calls them, and Ravi Kisan, another significant part of the cast, as “firecrackers, amazing to work with”.

For Gonsalves the show is a “dark comic thriller” about a person’s dreams and aspirations and what all he can do for it. The pivot is the complex central character and the changing graph of his life: the initial timidness and reluctance and then the recognition he gets overnight after not having been valued at all. According to Shorey, the key thing it the combination of standup comedy and murder and satire. “It’s a difficult line to walk,” he says. Das describes it as, “equal parts happy, dark but most parts ridiculous”.

Most of all, for Gonsalves, it’s been a case of sweet revenge for a series, long in the making, to find a lockdown release with the assurance of a captive audience. Says he: “After being on a rollercoaster and called unlucky, now everything seems to be falling in place.”

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 1:30:39 PM |

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