Sumeet Vyas hung out with Haryanavi friends to learn their accent for his Jugaadistan character : 'They didn't know'
Actors Sumeet Vyas and Arjun Mathur, who star in the new campus drama-thriller Jugaadistan, talk about their roles in the show and how they prepared for them.
Actor Sumeet Vyas is a veteran on the OTT medium. He has been around doing web shows since before there were dedicated platforms for it in India. But even then, the actor says he finds himself facing new challenges every now and then. His latest series Jugaadistan sees him play a student politician and Sumeet says he was stumped by the character's Haryanavi accent, which he found scary. In an interaction with Hindustan Times, the actor reveals how he clandestinely used his friends to solve his problem. (Also read: Jugaadistan Review: Scam 1992 meets Dil Dosti Etc in this entertaining but flawed campus thriller-drama)
Jugaadistan, which is streaming on Lionsgate Play, is set in a fictitious campus called City University and deals with the various issues in the campus, ranging from an exam scam to student politics. Sumeet's character Gaurav Bhati is a student politician. Talking about it, he tells us, "I was very scared of the accent bit. They didn't want me to go all out and speak Haryanavi. They wanted me to speak it in a way that it is understandable by most people. Luckily, I had a few friends who are from that region, who have a very heavy Haryanavi accent. I was hanging out with them but I don't think they were aware of it."
The show also stars Arjun Mathur as a journalist working to uncover the education scam shown in the series. The actor tells us he went full Marvel films in his preparation for the show and didn't even read the full script. "In the beginning, (director Akarsh Khurana) only sent me this character's scenes. I read that part and I loved what this character represented. Then I told him, I don't want to read the rest of it. Since my character is playing a journalist, he is uncovering the story as he goes, I thought it would help me as an actor also to not actually know what is happening but to uncover it as I go," says Arjun. In fact, the actor adds that he saw the full show only after it began streaming, "I thought I'll watch it like an audience member," he says.
Arjun says that while he did not base his character on any real person, he felt several journalists were the inspiration of how the character was written. He says, "I like to bring my own understanding and flavour into it. I think the character himself is inspired my journalists we have seen and known. We have known enough of those from Gauri Lankesh to Rana Ayyub. Those are the inspirations. People who have faced consequences. I feel Tarun Tejpal was an inspiration for this character. But I didn't try to copy mannerisms of anyone."
Jugaadistan is an unusual show in that it jumps between genres. It is as much a campus drama as it is a political drama or a thriller. Sumeet says the change of having serious themes in a show about teenagers is welcome. He elaborates, "Most shows and films round teenagers have dumbed down content, which I don't understand. They are smarter than us. I don't understand why makers think we have to talk about silly and stupid things. I feel this is one audience where you can experiment and they will get it. That's why I was thrilled when I got to know they are making a campus show that's not just about Valentine's Day and heart-shaped balloons."
Directed by Akarsh Khurana and Adhaar Khurana, Jugaadistan also stars Ahsaas Channa, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rukshar Dhillon, Taaruk Raina, and Gopal Datt, among others. The show is streaming on Lionsgate Play from March 4 onwards.