Dhruv Sehgal co-wrote and acted in the viral sketches, Confusing Things Girlfriends Say, and Annoying Things Boyfriends Do. In person, though, he’s every bit the shy writer.
When we begin the photo shoot with Dhruv Sehgal (26), one thing is instantly clear: he doesn’t like shoots. And there’s good reason why. He struggles with posing for the camera. Our photographer wants him to make a few funny expressions. An awkward Sehgal doesn’t get very far. He makes a monkey face, and even touches his nose with his tongue, but our photographer is not impressed. “I’m a writer,” Sehgal complains.
Indeed, Sehgal is a writer first. He has co-written many comic sketches, including the viral hits — Confusing Things Girlfriends Say, and Annoying Things Boyfriends Do. But he has also acted in them, along with Mithila Palkar.
Now, the two once again play a couple in a new web series, Little Things (launched on October 25). “I think our pair works because there’s such a contrast in our personalities,” Sehgal says. Palkar tends to portray a hyperactive, excited girlfriend, while Sehgal plays the laid-back boyfriend.
Little Things, written by Sehgal, is about the everyday lives of a young urban couple. There are no dramatic or life-changing events. You could call it a light-hearted show about nothing. “As a writer, it’s difficult to avoid having a story. The plot is loose. It was challenging to write an episode about a feeling, and not an event,” he says.
The common thread in Sehgal’s writing is the relatability he brings to the story. “I take real-life situations and add humour to them. I like to maintain realism. Otherwise it’ll seem like a farce,” he says. This line of thought reflects in Sehgal’s stint working on documentaries. He was an associate director on filmmaker Jaideep Varma’s Baawra Mann (2013) and I am Offended (2015). “Comedy doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s something I’ve developed over time,” he admits.
As a media student at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune, acting happened by chance. A batchmate was making a short film, and its lead actor happened to break his leg. “My friend said I looked like him, so he asked me to step in. I played a daily-wage mechanic, and enjoyed portraying someone who was not from my world,” he says.
Last year, Sehgal also made a short film, Kunal, about a stranger who shares his experiences via a home-made radio transmitter. It won the Golden Gateway Dimensions Mumbai Award at the Mumbai Film Festival, 2015. Meant to encourage young filmmakers, the maximum age to participate in the Dimensions Mumbai competition is 25. “I was 25, so it would be the last time I would be able to send an entry. Right from ideation to post-production, Kunal came together in a week. Maybe the film wouldn’t have happened if I was 24,” Sehgal says.