Shashie Vermaa is one of those figures from the Hindi film industry who works on screen as well as off-screen. By now he has become a familiar face after appearing in films such as Shorgul, Bala, Panchayat, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, Flesh. At present, he is seen in Amazon Prime’s Chacha Humare Vidhayak Hai season 2, where he had grabbed a pivotal role.
He works as a writer, director of the series, thereby working with the likes of Pankaj Tripathi, Zakir Khan and other well-known faces from the web domain. He will soon be seen in Imtiaz Ali’s Maazi and Hotstar’s Those Pricey Thakur Girls. During an exclusive chat with International Business Times India, he shared inside details of what takes place behind the scenes.
Tell us how you got into this field of acting. Was it always your plan?
No, it was not my first plan. I started my career as an anchor because I was good at hosting and mimicking. Then I came to Delhi for further education in theatre and joined the Shri Ram Centre of Performing Arts. I gave an audition for their courses for which I had been selected. When I was in theatre too, acting was never my plan. I was more into direction and scriptwriting. I used to assist people in media and have assisted quite a few well-known documentary filmmakers in Delhi.
Later, I came to Mumbai when I got the opportunity to make my first film. Call it fortunate or unfortunate circumstances, but that is how I got a chance to act. Many actors had backed out. And from that film, my acting career also got boosted. But still, I’m pursuing my direction and in a way, I’m doing that. So acting was by God’s choice, not mine.
When did you have your breakthrough moment?
My breakthrough moment…I feel is yet to come. There were moments in life that gave me the break because of which I’m here but as an artist, I feel my hunger isn’t satisfied yet and that’s why my breakthrough moment is yet to come.
How did you get your first project?
My first break…it happened to me and all my actor friends….so here’s what happened, we used to go to production houses to get work. I used to go for scriptwriting and direction purpose and my friends for acting. In those times CID was one of the popular shows and one of my friends said that I can’t do acting. But I went for an audition for CID anyway with them. All of them were left out but I got selected. So that was my first project. I did few episodes of CID.
At present with the advent of web content do you think there has been an increase in opportunities?
I feel now the stories are coming from the small town. They are coming from places where nobody can think of. Nowadays scripts which are written are very character-oriented not hero oriented. Hence new talents are getting opportunities and besides that those who haven’t got their due is getting it now with the advent of OTT platforms. So that way OTT is playing the vital role for actors.
Do you think the star focus factor is changing in the Hindi film industry?
Now the star focus factor is challenging in the industry because people have become character-focused, script focused and not star focused that yeh honge toh hi film banauga. Now people are looking for a good actor and not a star. That way you can see actors like Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal, Rajkummar Rao — they all became stars because of good content. That content is what made them the star. So yes, that way the whole entertainment industry and the world of OTT are changing and they are not star-oriented.