Vineet Kumar plays captain Vikram Sirohi in the upcoming Netflix Original Horror webseries Betaal. Kumar has wowed audiences with his unique characters in movies like Ganges of Wasseypur and Mukkabaaz. When I saw Vineet’s name in the cast, I knew that there was another interesting character in the series. I caught up with Vineet and had a quick chat with him about Betaal. Here’s the transcript of my conversation with Vineet Kumar.
How did Betaal happen for Vineet Kumar?
I did Bard of Blood with Netflix and Red Chillies. I had experience working with them. Red Chillies called me when I was shooting out of Mumbai. As soon as I completed the shoot, I met Gaurav and Patrick. Patrick gave me an outline of my character. That excited me. After that, I read the script. Once I read the script, I was clear that I was going to do this.
What made you agree to do Betaal?
This was something new for me. As an actor, I have never done horror before. I never wore a army uniform before. Vikram Sirohi’s character is a well-written one, its quite layered. I was excited about doing this project, and that’s how it all happened.
I liked the character of Vikram Sirohi because of the writing. Most characters have a backstory that doesn’t reveal itself in one go. The audience gets to see it in bits and pieces. Over here, the backstory is going on parallely.
And the backstory has such an impact, it stands in the middle of the external battle that he’s having with the zombies. He wants to run away from the past. He wants to make sure that he doesn’t repeat it. So, I needed to train my inside out. I needed to understand my character’s rhythm.
How did you prepare for the role?
We learnt a lot of things for Betaal. For example, the physical training. We learnt army formations, various aspects of army training, how to escape from an ambush, how you are going to attack. When you are under attack, you can’t escape alone. You need to take everyone with you. So, how that movement will happen. We underwent training to use big guns, small guns and knives.
Do you think Betaal is similar to the old Indian horror tropes like witches and daayans and purani havelis?
No, not at all. I thought that this was new and has a global appeal. I also though that the origins of this series is quite Indian but has a global appeal. We have never seen anything coming out of India that has a battle between the living and the dead.
The villains are the redcoats of the East India Company, they are centuries old, and they are back. This angle is really interesting and is something that at least the Indians will relate with very easily.
People will also relate to the living beings, the mercernaries from CIPD. That’s because we have concepts like seniors, juniors, teamwork, etc. There’s greed, honesty, sudden situations that we don’t know have to handle. There are a lot of layers to the series, which will unfold as the series moves ahead.
The VFX and the technical aspects are worldclass. The sound is Dolby Atmos. For a horror series, sound creates a deeper impact. The action is natural and doesn’t look unbelievable. The action is at a human level. We have worked a lot on the series, and makes every second very interesting.
Tell us something about your relation with Aahana Kumra’s character in Betaal
Aahana’s character, Alu is someone who understand Sirohi. She is is guide towards good. She is like my best friend and we might have done several missions together. Her backstory doesn’t come on screen. But you can see that something has happened with her.
After Betaal, would you like to do a typical Bollywood horror movie?
Not at all. I did Betaal because it wasn’t just horror. It had so many things, a good script, great characters and this series is not just about horror. As long as there’s a good character written for me, I will do it. If something attracts me, if something good comes along, I will do it.
What are the horror movies that you like?
I liked Evil Dead and the Conjuring series. There are a lot of Horror movies coming out of the West. They experiment with their movies. Over here, Ram Gopal Varma’s Bhoot was a very good movie.
Betaal, starring Vineet Kumar, Aahana Kumra, Jitendra Joshi, Suchitra Pillai and others hits the streaming screens on 24th May, 2020.
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