‘Kadakh’, a film which started streaming on Sony LIV a couple of weeks back, featured Cyrus Sahukar in a prominent role of a motivational speaker. Cyrus was also a part of the writing team of the film. The film was received well by the audience and Cyrus Sahukar could not have been happier. Anchor, TV presenter, actor, writer – he does a variety of things and does them very well. In this interview, he talks about the process of being a part of the writing team and acting in the film, shooting for it over thirty nights, the urge to write more, utilising the ‘lockdown time’ well, bringing the popular characters he played on television back and more.
‘Kadakh’ was a special project as it marked your debut as a film writer.
Yes, I was a part of the writing team of the film. My credit has that been of an additional dialogue writer. Actually, this film was special for me as it had so many people I wanted to work with for a while. I remember having this particular conversation with Rajat (Kapoor) before we started shooting the film. He said he wanted the film to have diverse sounds and voices. He wanted to cast actors who belonged to different states and regions across the country.
You shot the film over a period of thirty nights. Was that tough?
I shot over twelve nights for ‘Delhi 6’ and that nearly killed me (laughs). It gets difficult to shoot after doing that for a couple of nights. But, after working on this film, I realised shooting during nights could be very relaxing as well. An individual is mostly busy during the day. That is when you get so many phone calls and have meetings to attend. You are mostly free at night after a certain time. On the sets, everybody was very relaxed. The theme of the movie also helped the cause. It was almost like being a part of a theatre troupe. Every night, somebody would bring food. Most of my co-actors were my friends. They were people whom I had known for years. There is a lot of respect there as you have seen them performing over several years.
You played a motivational speaker in the film. From doing motivational podcasts to encouraging contestants on reality shows you have anchored, you have played that part quite well in real life too.
I do not even know if I have motivated anyone. I know a lot of people whom I have demotivated though (laughs). It was a very interesting character to play. His job as a motivational speaker makes him a very over-bearing person. He is not necessarily the most likeable person in the room. There are certain people I call ‘no-no uncle’. These are people who raise an objection to everything you do and say things like “This is not how it is done. Let me show you”. This character had that problem. It was fun playing a character who has an opinion on everything and gives advice to everybody around him but cannot fix his own life.
In the past, you have written the script of shows you have anchored. Would you like to write more often for films or fiction shows?
I would love to write more. I have been offered to write a series. I would definitely want to put out a writing project once in every two years.
You made good use of your time during the lockdown. You learnt to cook a variety of Rajasthani dishes. You also spent a lot of time with the 200 plants you own.
I have also created two characters named Moti The Dog and Karma The Cat on Instagram (laughs). I have also shot for two shows. One is called ‘Atrangi Fireside Chat’ in which I speak to with the cast and crew of shows on Zee5. The second is a cookery show. It is a show for people who do not know how to cook well. I have also spent a lot of days just lying on the bed and staring at the fan. I actually enjoyed the isolation and quiet. I have also spent a lot of time playing video games. Recently, I started shooting for a non-fiction show with Mini Mathur.
Can we expect to see you bring back some of the popular characters you have played on television like Simi Girebaal and Piddu The Great?
I would love to bring them back. Semi Girebaal and Piddu The Great are two of the most favourite characters I have played. I have often wished to be like Semi Girebaal – wealthy and powerful.
Several years back, you won a VJ talent hunt competition and that gave a start to your career as a VJ. Did you have any other plans in life before this happened?
I come across people who say they have a ten year long plan. I was trying to chalk out a plan to survive. My parents got separated when I was three years old. My mom used to work as a school teacher. I come from a middle class family and adhered to the typical middle class thinking. Yes, there was a part of me that was ambitious and dreamt about certain things that seemed impossible to achieve. I wished to become a documentary filmmaker and wanted to get into Jamia Milia University. The only thing I was doing is that I was auditioning for everything. I used to do a couple of projects as a voice-over artist and the money that I used to make out of it was enough to sustain myself. I would not get selected for 99% of the things I used to audition for. Then, I participated in this talent hunt competition and things fell into place. It is important to stay curious. One should be interested in a lot of things. We should also be happy about wasting time, relaxing and doing nothing.