In an anthology of splendidly layered Vishal Bhadwaj rom-com and an achingly delicate Hansal Mehta story, Dhruv Sehgal made a movie for me. Sehgal makes his directorial debut with I Love Thane, a chapter of Amazon Prime Video’s Modern Love: Mumbai, an adaptation of the favored US collection which presents fictional retellings of actual love tales discovered within the common New York Times Modern Love column. (Also learn: Modern Love Mumbai review: Dhruv Sehgal, Hansal Mehta’s beautiful stories are worth going through anything)
Written by Sehgal and Nupur Pai, I Love Thane follows Saiba (Masaba Gupta) – a 34-year panorama designer on the relationship app circuit, wading via males who vary from uninteresting to demeaning to dominating. That is till she meets Parth (Ritwik Bhomik), the audit officer she’s coordinating with on a brand new undertaking. In one another the 2 discover a snug connection and strike up an escalating situationship.
As Saiba, Masaba Gupta presents up the uncommon, lived in efficiency that requires an actor to not do, however fairly to be, guiding us via a narrative that seeks to seek out the magic inside the everyday-ness of life. Over Zoom, Masaba spoke to me about discovering Saiba, the artwork of crafting compelling chemistry, and the place Parth and Saiba would be at the moment.
I’ve to start out with the apparent query – how did you come to be part of I Love Thane and what was your first response while you learn the script?
When I first learn the script, I did not perceive it. It’s as a result of I do not come from that world, I’ve by no means been on a relationship app. I do know associates who’re on them in fact, however that world was very alien to me. When I learn it I assumed “why are these individuals talking like this? Who’s happening dates like these? Who is that this woman? What’s improper along with her?”
But I liked Modern Love and I actually like Dhruv Sehgal’s work and I used to be dying to do one thing within the fictional house. After I met Dhruv, I understood the world and Saiba much more. The one factor he stated about her that basically drew me to her was that she’s hopeful and that was one thing I may actually relate to.
In phrases of how I used to be solid, apparently Dhruv hadn’t seen Masaba Masaba. He stated he truly approached me as a result of he noticed YouTube interviews of mine, and he stated “individuals similar to you and this character has to be very likeable. You must root for her”.
So, I went for it and via 10 days of taking pictures I actually had no thought the place we had been headed. But I had numerous religion in Dhruv’s capability to inform a narrative for what it’s. And now right here we’re.
It’s fascinating that you simply say you didn’t totally perceive her at first as a result of, from an outsider’s perspective, there are facets of her that felt just like you. The proven fact that she’s additionally this unbiased girl who runs her personal enterprise. In phrases of making her, how a lot of her was already on paper and did something about her evolve after you got here on board?
No truly she was set in stone on paper from the beginning. In phrases of discovering her, I did a workshop with Pooja Swarup, who’s a theatre artist, and what I liked about that was she had me have a look at photos of flowers and colors and she requested me “if Saiba had been a color, which color would she be?”, and I picked a comfortable pink. When I appeared on the flowers I stated I feel she’s this actually stunning lush flower however one which’s additionally a bit unhappy.
And she’s not a bodily individual when it comes to exhibiting how she’s feeling. She’s by no means overdoing it or over-reactive. She’s simply still. Even in that scene with Prateik Babbar’s character the place he’s being nasty, she’s similar to “f*ck you” however she’s by no means screaming.
The phrase I related along with her most was therav (stillness) and that is additionally a phrase I affiliate with myself.
Speaking of being still, yours was additionally a kind of uncommon nice efficiency the place there wasn’t a lot to do. You needed to simply be. There had been no grand dramatic scenes or revelations or a lot exercise as such. It was simply you inhabiting the small nuances and stillness of her life. Was that robust? To simply be?
Oh my god sure, as a result of I’m a really animated individual. I’ve a mood and I do react and I really feel the necessity to say one thing about all the pieces. I keep in mind there have been many scenes the place we needed to do a number of takes, particularly the robust ones like when Parth and I are sitting by the lake and I say “I like hanging out with you”. It’s as a result of I couldn’t overdo even the smallest factor. You understand how you’ve gotten private trainers who make the smaller muscular tissues of your physique stronger? That’s what Dhruv did for me. He made me use the smaller nuances of emotion and play with that. But it was actually arduous as a result of I used to be anxious I’d come throughout as uninteresting on display screen.
Even when she’s conversing with somebody, it’s inside. All the dialogues within the movie are the characters’ inside dialogue lastly popping out. That’s what we all the time stated – the dialogue is Saiba’s inside dialogue that she’s lastly okay talking out loud. That absolute shedding of her guard and feeling the liberty to talk her thoughts.
Was there a particular second or scene through the shoot the place you felt “I acquired her. I do know who Saiba is now”?
You know, apparently there’s a complete scene that’s been minimize. It was one other one of many dangerous date scenes and it was by far one of many hardest scenes I’ve ever accomplished. It’s simply this man who’s clearly a prick and I’m drained and exhausted and he’s humiliated me and I used to be like ”Dhruv it’s a must to let me scream!” And he was like “you may’t. You’re not going to let him understand how you’re feeling or give him the satisfaction or understanding he’s upset you”. That’s the second I felt i acquired her, and after I felt like I minimize the chord between myself and Saiba and I grew to become her.
Parth and Saiba have such a beautiful, understated connection. It’s simply these few snug conversations with chemistry that’s effervescent beneath the floor. What’s the key of making that straightforward chemistry with a co-star? Can it be manufactured or is it extra – you both have it or you do not?
You know if it wasn’t for Ritwik and who he’s as a performer and individual I don’t know if Saiba would have been capable of be Saiba. My mum as soon as informed me that you could have chemistry with anybody however the different individual ought to be on the identical wavelength while you’re making an attempt to create a scene or emotion. But the chemistry with Parth was fascinating as a result of I did a studying with each actor besides Ritwik earlier than taking pictures. I truly met him for the primary time after we had been taking pictures the lake scene. We had been very nervous as a result of we’re so totally different and we had been still looking for these two individuals.
There’s additionally that scene the place we’re consuming Misal Pav and in my thoughts I used to be considering it’s a date and after we shot it, I grew to become a bit bubbly and excitedly began asking Parth all these questions on himself and Dhruv was like “no this isn’t a date. This isn’t the everyday woman and man making an attempt arduous to impress or appeal one another. You must progressively break it open little by little”. And I feel that’s what you see. With every stroll and interplay we’re breaking one another open a little bit bit extra.
But I feel that chemistry was simply consolation. And usually instances that is what chemistry is – the consolation of understanding that you simply’re with an excellent, variety man. And that’s the factor proper, all of us ladies are in search of that cool dangerous boy that we wish to change (laughs) and we ignore all of the fantastic males who’re wanting to present us precisely what we deserve and I feel the honesty of Parth’s character that appealed to her. That and their stillness. It’s the stillness of Parth and Saiba that introduced them collectively.
Where do you assume Saiba and Parth are at the moment? Are they still collectively?
It’s humorous you ask me that as a result of I used to be serious about it at the moment and actually, I don’t assume they’re collectively anymore. I feel the pressures of the world or the habit of being on an app would triumph. At the chance of sounding like an previous girl, perhaps we’re all hooked on discovering the subsequent neatest thing that offers us consideration. Maybe we’re simply hooked on what’s subsequent and what else may be on the market. I name this era “era undecided”. A era that’s actually unsettled and still discovering its floor. They need dedication but additionally don’t need it.
I feel the joys Saiba will get in search of that new hope day by day on that app, and the concept that perhaps there may be extra – perhaps that causes them to collapse. Or perhaps it’s his have to be precisely who he’s and not wanting to place pointless effort to strive and make one thing work, perhaps that may pull them aside. Because there’s their world and then there’s the actual world, and perhaps the actual world catches as much as them.