In Gaslight, wheelchair-bound Meesha, played by Sara Ali Khan, returns to her Rajasthani haveli and finds herself terrified there. Her father is AWOL, and everyone around her—including Rukmani, her father’s second wife, played by Chitrangda Singh, and caretaker Kapil—seems to be up to something strange. (Vikrant Massey). The primary trio were intrigued by the mystery thriller. Sara is the first in the genre, whereas Chitrangda and Vikrant are picky about the roles they take on. The performers discussed the film’s production process in an exclusive interview with Filmfare.
What types of experiments in this field were you interested in conducting?
Sara: The fact that I worked in this genre, in my opinion, was an experiment for me. I concur that it was a brand-new planet. It was thrilling to completely give in to Pavan (Kirpalani) sir and act out the part. It’s exhilarating and difficult for me when my loudness and high energy are taken away since I think of myself as that kind of person.
Chitrangda: It’s interesting how plainly suspicious she is. However, if you only play that tier, it gets monotonous after a while. How often can you act untrustworthy? Playing Mini in so many different layers and emotions was therefore a challenge. It’s fantastic if you can play to the grey characters’ strengths and try to humanise them as much as you can. You occasionally have to tinker with that because Pavan (Kirpalani) desired a really restrained performance; even the silences are significant.
It’s not a one-dimensional character, Vikrant. especially at a location like this when a psychological thriller is present. There must be several layers of it. A lot of it is already laid out for us in the writing, but you can improve it by giving the character more depth, as Chitrangda said, to make him more likeable and interesting. Every job has its difficulties, but the suspense in this plot needs to grow. As a result, you can actually try new things.
What factors go into convincing wheelchair acting?
Sara: A significant part of the process, in my opinion, was sitting in the wheelchair and practising whenever I had the chance. I tried to make the most of the short amount of time I had between this movie and Laxman Sir’s next project in order to personalise it as much as possible. It required a lot of manoeuvring. In all honesty, I found it more difficult to deal with the fact that I am unable to react by running, moving, or jumping. When flight is not an option, as is often the case in this genre, it can be difficult to maintain tension.
What factors contribute to creating and keeping a psychological thriller’s suspenseful atmosphere?
I don’t believe there is a secret to it, Chitrangda. Our direction staff deserves a great deal of credit for the environment on site. You can’t let that feeling go since the entire movie is about tension. Additionally, you cannot transition between scenes. As a result, continuity must be maintained. In this sense, he was very aware and ensured that a specific atmosphere was present. On the set, he would play music, and merely for reference, he had a soundtrack for significant scenes. He essentially carried out our wishes.
How do you transition into and out of character?
Sara: With Meesha’s character specifically, I realised that I don’t have that much personal fodder to give her. Somewhere down the line, there’s always a certain strain of Sara that I can connect. Even Rinku in Atrangi Re was very different from who I am but there are still parts of me that I could imagine. Physically, psychologically and emotionally, Meesha is so removed from me that the cultivation of imagination rather than putting yourself in a situation that isn’t conceivable becomes more handy and necessary. That is what attracted me the most. I clearly recall that when I was first starting out in my work and living in Kedarnath, I used to wonder what Sara might do if she were here. It wasn’t all that hard to picture. But in this place, I can’t image living with people I don’t trust while in a wheelchair. However, Meesha already had them all. Therefore, accepting your place in the world as an outsider becomes crucial.
Chitrangda: It overlaps, but I found it to be a touch tiresome in this specific movie. Like when you have to enter the same character again on Day 23. When that happens, you might just want to retreat to your vanity vehicle and crack a joke. It’s a minor but insignificant portion of it.
What have you learned most from working together?
Sara: I find Chitrangda’s performance assurance to be impressive. And I believe Vikrant performs with subtlety.
Chitrangda: Sara has this incredible vitality when she’s on film. I cherished that about Atrangi Re. Even before you engage in conversation, the other person’s presence is important. I adore it. I even appreciate how understated Vikrant is. I enjoy performances most when the work is hidden from view. That is what Vikrant excels at.
Vikrant: Sara has a lot of issues, but I respect her self-assurance. I really want that. I believe I know her personally, and she has a wonderful outlook. And the poise and grace of Chitrangda.
Which whodunnits are some of your favourites?
Sara: How to Get Away with Murder was fantastic. I was watching, and I thought the show was fantastic. It was so good it was addicting.
I adore Dan Brown, says Chitrangda. I adore it when fact and fiction are mingled together. Also excellent was Angels and Demons.
Vikrant: I jump around between a lot of things. I therefore read two mysteries at once to give myself a breather when I’m reading.