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Working in a French TV series helped Naveen Polishetty write his first film, Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya

The Chhichhore (2019) actor learnt valuable lessons on professionalism, passion and detailing on the sets of Fais pas ci, Fais pas ça, which helped him in co-writing the Telugu film with Swaroop RSJ.

Shriram Iyengar

Many actors have experienced moments of serendipity that have lead them on to a big break. For Naveen Polishetty, it arrived in the form of an accidental audition for a French television series that eventually led to his first breakthrough in the Telugu film, Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019).

While he is most remembered for his YouTube sketches with All India Bakchod (AIB) and Nitesh Tiwari's Chhichhore (2019), the actor has also played a small part in the final season of the popular French series, Fais pas ci, Fais pas ça (Don't Do This, Don't Do That).

"That was so weird. It was basically France's biggest television show, and they were in their final season. So they wanted to go to a new country for their audience," Polishetty recalled. That country happened to be India, leading to auditions at the Novotel hotel in Juhu by the producers. 

Like many others, Polishetty landed up for the audition and cleared it, aided by some exaggeration. "I did the audition and I lied, saying I can speak French," he said.

To be fair, the actor does have a basic grasp of conversational French. "My brother's wife is French, and I did pick up a little bit of French," he said. "Also, while in London, I used to visit Paris and could get by with a little."

But the experience was to prove more influential than the actor realized. He said, "It was intense, and an amazing experience. The level of professionalism, passion and detailing that they bring into their craft; their shot breakdowns, day-to-day activities and implementation is amazing," he said.

So impressed was he with the work behind the camera that he borrowed some of the tricks to take back home. When the opportunity arrived to co-write Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya with Swaroop RSJ, Polishetty went back to his experience on the French series for help. 

He revealed, "I actually took copies of those [shot breakdowns, scheduling, and implementation] so that I could implement it on my own back home. We are doing good in our own industries, but we can do better. So I borrowed some things from the line producer on the show. For Agent, in fact, the shot breakdown and scheduling, we used the same ideas."

With the lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic likely to be extended till 30 April, it might be interesting to see if the actor-writer finishes another script in this period of enforced isolation.