Ashish R Shukla recounts preparing actors, challenges on ‘Undekhi 2’ shoot

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‘Undekhi 2’ director Ashish R. Shukla opens up about his web series and how he prepared to get into the detailing and nuances of every character and story.

He says: “I depend a lot on writing and performances, so that I can follow the drama and use the nuances for the novelty of the show. Thus we do a lot of workshops and readings before going on the floor. And because I improvise a lot during performances it’s very important for me that my actors have absolute clarity of their characters.”

“So, even the smallest of the characters from the secondary cast are very important for me to perform, otherwise their scene with the lead cast or the protagonist will have the possibility of getting compromised.”

Ashish is best known for his direction in films like ‘Prague’, ‘Undekhi’, ‘Bahut Hua Samman’, ‘Bichoo Ka Khel’ and ‘Candy’. Now his directorial web series ‘Undekhi 2’ is a crime thriller. It features Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Harsh Chhaya, Anchal Singh, Apeksha Porwal, Nandish Sandhu and others.

Talking about the challenges of shooting in Manali he says: “When we shot the first season, there was no Covid, lockdown or restrictions. We had to face all this during Season 2. Our shoot started right after the second Covid wave. So, we had to make sure that every crew member including actors were double vaccinated.”

“Also total hygiene was taken care of throughout the time. Few locations in Manali were demolished completely or turned into vaccination centres, so we had to build some artificial structures to match them with Season 1. I myself got my second dose of vaccination in Manali right before the shoot started.”

Sharing his overall working experience he says: “I along with all our actors have this culture of reading scenes together and crack them with each other right before we hit the set. So even in this season though we could prepare only for a month, we made sure all the actors read the new season together or with their co-actors in the scene.”

“I was fortunate that like the 1st season even in this season all my actors including the new entrants, Nandish and Chang submitted themselves to this process. I think that’s the reason all their performances get appreciated. There is an energy, sincerity and passion by which all our actors follow throughout our schedule.”

Revealing about his inclination towards thriller and dark comedy he states: “I somehow enjoy both these genres which are two extremes and somehow one gives me break from another. But I have fun in both. In fact, if you look closely, most of my thrillers are dark comedies for me. Because to me thrillers happen when things go goofy or imperfect.”

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