Comedy in times of pandemic: Actors Kiku Sharda, Krushna Abhishek, Deven Bhojani among others say it is tough, but show must go on
It’s not easy to make people laugh, perhaps all the more difficult in trying times like these. And actors presently shooting for sitcoms and comedy shows admit that fear of the virus, change in shooting culture, and behaviour on the sets due to safety protocols, collectively affects them.
Shubhangi Atre aka Angoori of Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain! shares that evoking laughter during a crisis isn’t easy.
“Earlier we’d spend time together, improvise and have fun. But now, we just come, get ready and start shooting as we need to create a bank of episodes. There’s no breathing space. There’s a constant thought of not touching anything or going near anyone while performing. But, we also need to deliver well as punch lines, expression and timing in comedy are crucial factors. Thankfully, our script is funny enough that it makes things easier,” she tells us.
Echoing the sentiment is actor-comedian Krushna Abhishek, who recently shot for his show The Kapil Sharma Show, agrees that getting “into the mood of it” is so difficult. “I even fumbled a bit on my first day of shoot but we kind of included it as a joke. This is a tough space for everyone and your mind is not in that state,” he adds.
A performer can’t let any heavy thoughts affect them so much that it show on their face, feels actor-comedian Kiku Sharda adding that “the camera doesn’t miss anything”.
The actor, who plays various characters in The Kapil Sharma Show explains, “Making people smile through this anxious period matters the most. The worry, fear and dealing with the new normal is a little tough but if we don’t enjoy ourselves while performing and feel the negative pressure, that would reflect in our performance. Also, our show have guests, we need to make them feel comfortable as well so that things work well.”
Paresh Ganatra aka Mahendra Thakkar in Bhakharwadi adds in agreement saying, “The moment I start from home till I reach the set, I remain worried. But, once I get into the costume and become my character, that’s when I keep those thoughts at bay and focus on my job. Since I love what I do, I concentrate on my performance.”
While actor unanimously opine that it’s tough to create laughs when everyone outside is dealing with a pandemic, some point out the unique ways in which they tried to lighten up the mood on sets.
Actor Deven Bojhani, who has done several popular sitcoms and now seen as Anna in Bhakharwadi, says the team started off with a mock shoot day so that people starting to work after 100 days feel at ease.
“Nothing can take the performer away from us. I do agree that there’s a sense of fear, everyone wants to finish early and go home. The tension does take away our natural flow. But, to keep worries apart, I plan out my routine in a way that I don’t think about going wrong and catching the infection and can concentrate on my performance,” he shares.
Having lived the character of Anjali in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah since 2008, actor Neha Mehta says that playing the role now comes naturally to her. And such a situation can make things difficult but not impossible.
“There are many risking their life and stepping out every day. If they can, why can’t we? Our efforts are driven towards twisting the sadness into happiness the way we’ve been doing for so long. Bahut siyappe aate rahenge, par hum nahi rukenge,” she sums up the sentiment.
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ