Gaurav Gera has become a recognised face in the comedy field with his work in TV, films, and even social media. He is now bringing a new genre of comedy to screen with Bhalla Calling Bhalla. This series is unique because it was made entirely during the lockdown. Gaurav Gera talks about the challenges in shooting an entire series on his phone and how he is dealing with the lockdown.
Watch a trailer for Bhalla Calling Bhalla here.
How did you happen to come on board for Bhalla Calling Bhalla?
The producer Nitin Shukla called me about it and he told me what they were planning. I shoot a lot at home but I thought it was a big challenge. They sounded confident and the story was in place so I was quite sure about doing this project. It’s a lot of hard work for the writer and director to put this together.
You shoot a lot of videos at home too. So how much of a challenge was this or did it feel perfectly normal?
The videos I shoot are a lot in portrait mode or selfie mode. I can close my eyes and know where I am on the camera. But in this series I shot most of the scenes in landscape mode. Also, I have a lot of tricky shots, the director has made sure of that. I didn’t put the camera on a tripod and it was all handheld close-ups because I didn’t have any wide shots. My friend Rohit Gujjar who is living with me was giving me cues.
How did you bond with your co-actors without being on set together?
I have worked with Rajesh (Kumar) before, so I knew him well. I didn’t know the others but over time we have gotten to know each other. Also we have Zoom meetings every night discussing the next day’s shoot. So that way we got to know each other and they are all such sweet people.
How have you been dealing with the lockdown personally?
Personally, nothing much has changed for me. I was always a private and homely person. The only things I miss are meeting my friends and going out for walks. I am a freelancer so I think we are used to this kind of life. For someone who used to go to a job every day, I can imagine what a tough time this must be for them.
How did you prepare for your character of Yogi in Bhalla Calling Bhalla?
I am a very detached guy. The director (Deven Munjal) told me about the character of Yogi, who is a free bird, doesn’t believe in relationships, likes to do his own thing. It was very close to who I am so it came easily to me.
What is the best and most irritating thing of being a part of a show like this?
The best thing is to be a part of the project that seems impossible. I had only seen my shots and didn’t know what the show would look like. When I saw the edited version, I was surprised at how good it looked. I felt proud of being a part of a group that achieved that. The irritating part is the number of retakes. You have to hold the camera, do your make-up, organise the set. Sometimes a crow will interrupt, even if your hand moves for any action the camera shakes. So then you have to adjust to that.
Did you find any similarities between the situations you were reading in the scripts, and in real life?
Yeah definitely! We don’t do joint video calls because my parents are in the USA. But do speak to them every single day. I talk to my nieces and I am sure everyone is getting close to their families. Even with families that are living together, Indian families are really big, there’s always some relatives to catch up with.
Do you think this show will inspire other shows with a similar concept or style?
I definitely think so. I think this show will inspire other makers who feel like life is over and there’s nothing to create. I would want to thank ZEE5 for giving us this chance to stay busy during the lockdown too.
Was it a struggle to find comedy in such a dark time?
I think the more you watch the news, the world will look darker to you. It is not a pretty situation outside. I know a lot of people suffering from anxiety attacks. Everyone needs a way to feel lighter and smile a little more. I feel this show will help bring joy to people’s lives because there are enough people telling you about the sad affairs outside.
Five reasons people should watch Bhalla Calling Bhalla?
Firstly, the series is highly relatable to our current situation around the world. Secondly, there are things you can do, like Sahil on the show does Instagram live videos on exercising, and Liza is shown feeding stray dogs with proper protection. Thirdly, it will inspire people to create more content. I feel there should be a behind the scenes of how this whole series was made. Another thing is that this show is interesting. And lastly, watch the show because we have all put in serious hard work and would appreciate some love for our efforts.
Watch the first four episodes of Bhalla Calling Bhalla, streaming on ZEE5 and watch out for the next four dropping on 25th May and the last four on 30th May.