Interview

Chutzpah shoot was toughest I've done, says Manjot Singh


Produced by Dinesh Vijan, the SonyLIV show also stars Varun Sharma, Elnaaz Norouzi, Tanya Maniktala, Gautam Mehra and Kshitij Chauhan. 

Keyur Seta

The title of SonyLIV’s upcoming web-series Chutzpah makes your head turn. Asked what the show is about, Manjot Singh, one of its main actors, told Cinestaan, "The show has a very different concept but it’s very relatable."

The artiste said the series is about today’s youth and times where everything happens online. "It’s about how people connect through the internet and its consequences. It’s about how much confidence and audacity you have to show your true self. This is the meaning of Chutzpah,” he said.

Chutzpah also stars Varun Shrama, Elnaaz Norouzi, Tanya Maniktala, Gautam Mehra and Kshitij Chauhan. Singh said the show also has another pivotal character, which is not visible. “The internet is an important character here. Everything revolves around it. All that’s happening is because of it. The youth is going to love it,” he said. 

Singh plays Rishi, a naïve youngster. Speaking about the character, Singh said, “He trusts people easily. He feels others are nice people. But he slowly realizes that people are out there to just use you and nobody is your real friend, especially on the internet. He is in search of love. But he doesn’t have the chutzpah or confidence to express his feelings.”

The actor’s subplot in the show involves Elnaaz Nourozi. “She plays a cam girl. She guides my character through which I acquire chutzpah and how things start changing with me,” said Singh.

The artiste said that the series also shows how people have different personalities online and in the real world. “For example, looking at someone’s picture you might feel that the person is having fun and enjoying life. But we don’t know what that person is actually facing. People have different personalities with their family, friends, lover and on the internet,” he said. 

Due to the nature of the show, Singh and other actors were required to shoot their scenes in front of their laptops. This proved to be quite challenging for Singh. “To tell you honestly, this has been the toughest shoot of my life. I spent the first day just trying to understand how the whole thing works. There is no co-actor in front of you, so you won’t get any reaction. Hence, you can’t improvise. You need to imagine and give a reaction,” he said.

He added, “The camera is fixed on your face, so you shouldn’t even move your eyeballs much. You have to use the internet on the blank screen on the laptop. Even here, one is required to imagine. It was challenging and that’s why I enjoyed it.” 

Singh, however, had one thing working in his favour. He had already shot for two seasons of the web show College Romance, which was helmed by Chutzpah director Simarpreet Singh. “I was so happy when I came to know that he was directing it since I had already shot for a show with him. He has shot it in a beautiful manner and I love his vision. He doesn’t keep things simple. There is creativity in every frame and every shot of his is fancy. Just like each frame in Karan Johar and Yash Raj Films movies,” he said. 

Chutzpah sees Singh’s reunification with his Fukrey co-actor Varun Sharma and the director Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, who is the creator here. He said he would always want to re-unite with the Fukrey gang. 

“It feels good when you get to work with your people,” he said. “Mrighdeep sir is my mentor. I have learnt a lot from him. You develop a kind of love through which you know you will put it off. Varun and I haven’t shared the screen this time. He has a different track. But the show is interconnected. One story is getting connected to another one.” 

Manjot Singh in Fukrey Returns

Singh entered the industry playing the younger version of Abhay Deol in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008). Looking back, the actor feels he now has more knowledge. “I consider the script, director, producer and the platform on which it will be played while signing a project. You start learning about these things slowly as you mature. I also go with my heart. I have been very lucky by the grace of God that I have had a good experience working with different people,” he said. 

A couple of years ago, Singh had said in an interview that Sikh actors are typecast as comic characters. He now feels things have changed for the better. “Things are definitely becoming better day by day. I am very happy and content that Sikh actors are being taken seriously now. Roles are being written for them. They are now no longer getting only comedic roles. I am also getting good characters to play and I hope this continues,” he said. 

Asked about his upcoming projects, Singh said that he has Fukrey 3, which will go on the floors soon, in the pipeline.

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