Actor Rohit Roy tells Sakshi Sharma that he has done a variety of roles in the past few years of his career as he has become competent to pull off these characters

Picture this. You are sitting in a chair in a theatre which is absolutely silent. Suddenly a doll falls on the stage as the clock strikes midnight and the gong echoes across the place. You start breathing heavily as you stare at the empty stage and feel its void within you and the person sitting beside you lets out a frightened scream while you are still struggling to maintain your calm.

This nerve-racking feeling while reading the script made actor Rohit Roy go for the play Ovee too. He tells us, “I was looking for comedy and romantic roles, completely opposite to what I am doing but the script blew my mind. I wondered how is it even possible to do a horror play on stage in front of a live audience. How will you scare people? Then when I saw it with all the effects, I realised how it will go ahead and that made me go for it.”

The horror play, Ovee, revolves around a teenage girl who having lost her parents during her childhood was sent to an orphanage. She lives as an occupant in a room where a girl was murdered some time ago. During her stay, she starts experiencing certain paranormal activities. Her friend and psychiatrist Nikhil (played by Roy) comes to her help.

Not only a psychiatrist, Roy also plays two other roles — that of a cop and Chacha ji. The latter is very different from what he perceives himself to be in real life but he enjoys it the most as he has a very “different style.” So how challenging it was for him to play three roles in the same play? He says, “It was not easy. I tried to keep the three characters different from each other in terms of their voice and styling so that the audience feels engaged throughout and not get confused between the characters. While rehearsing, I used to remind myself again and again that one role has ended, and now this is the new one.” However, Nikhil is the character which is the closest to his heart. Even though his is the lengthiest part in the play but Roy is glad to play the “most meaty” character.

The actor says that through this play he wanted to challenge himself and come out of his comfort zone. He says, “Everything that I have attempted in the last few years is very different from the roles I have done in my entire career. I have become more responsible after my daughter Kiara was born. I now feel I am competent enough to pull off various roles. I was never this good. I don’t want my child to say, ‘Papa what kind of a role you have done?’ I want her to be proud of me.”

The actor was recently seen playing the role of Amit Shellar, a villain and rapist in Kaabil. And it was another one which was difficult for him to come to terms with as he had to get out of his ‘good boy’ image, “but then when I took it up, I realised, as an actor, it’s very important to spread your wings and try something new.” Roy is currently seen as Dr Vardhan in Sanjivani 2, which he says is probably the “best comeback for an actor” on TV. “Vardhan is a character I would not have done five years back because I always thought that the audience will not accept me as him. It would only accept me in a romantic comedy or the ‘boy next door’ type of roles. But I have realised that if the role is good and I enact it well, people will like it,” adds he. The actor has played a plethora of parts and he feels that striking a balance between them gets easier with experience.

Roy feels that no actor is complete till s/he does theatre as it serves as a real test for them. Therefore, now after working for many years, he feels that he is capable enough to try theatre of different kinds.
Directed by Aniket Patil, the play explores the horror genre as its his “favourite.” He says, “The story of the play has come from my imagination.” To stage this, he even learnt a few magic tricks from YouTube. Through the play, Patil wants to send the message — ‘There is a fear within us everytime but in order to achieve what we desire, we need to break those dreadful walls and come out of it.’

So how is a horror play different from a film or show in the same genre? Says Roy, “I don’t want to compare films and TV with theatre because there we have cuts, retakes, background music and light effects to create horror and a thrilling vibe. But in theatre, it is different.” It demands a more nuanced preparation altogether, he believes and adds, “If an actor gets a wrong cue, the entire lighting scene will go for a toss. Generally, you read your lines and then say it in your own language. But here it has to be the same because the words act as a cue for the crew to give the light effects or to make space for prompts to appear.”

Talking about why horror comedy is not very prevalent when it comes to theatre, Roy says that it’s because it’s very challenging to unfold the horror, sound and special effects here. “So people don’t want to do it. I was also looking for a romantic comedy in the first place (laughs).”

The actor doesn’t take Rohit Roy to the show anymore. He’s evolved manifold. “Once I am ready, I understand my character, which is something I didn’t do earlier. I used to proudly say that every role had a bit of me in it but now things have changed,” says he and adds that it would be evident in Ovee too as the Rohit would “look like an original person and not some Chacha ji.”

Selection of a script for him varies with its medium. He says, “In web, there are finite number of episodes, which focus on every character individually. But I want my character to be strong in all the episodes. In films, I see what it is about. My role comes secondary. On TV, it changes again. As it is a never-ending process, I see my character first.”

The actor believes that every role shapes you into a better person by teaching something. So, he loves to take a bit of every character home with him and learn from it. “In Unfaithfully Yours, I took the comedy home. From Vardhan, I have realised that one must attempt different roles,” says he.

(The play will be staged today and tomorrow at 4pm and 7pm at Kamani Auditorium.)