A few short films old and filled with the desire to make a mark, Hasvanth Vanga shines through the latest ZEE5 Original Series N.E.R.D. – Neither Either Really Dead. The 23-year-old leads the murder mystery and has delivered a convincing performance. As he waits for the next big project and plans his much-deserved vacation, we catch up with him over a phone call. Hasvanth speaks about all things N.E.R.D. and lets us in on many on-set details. Read the edited excerpts from his interview below.
Q. Three words which define your character?
A. Calm. Carefree. Cinephile.
Q. How did you bag the role?
A. After my last short film which released in March 2018, I didn’t know what to do. I was in a dilemma when some producers approached me. They told me that they are looking for new talent, they didn’t have any scripts with them but they asked me to collaborate. They asked me if I knew any aspiring director and Deva Ganesh’s face flashed in my head. I spoke about him and to him. We planned for a feature film. But it turned into a web series. That’s when N.E.R.D started to take shape. I didn’t seek it out but things just went in a flow.
Q. What about the idea for the feature film, now that Ganesh doesn’t plan on directing it?
A. Yes, he told me about it. The script was really awesome. It was a different genre and the way he narrated it to me, I was very thrilled. I am actually looking forward to working with him again. Maybe sometime or the other, I don’t know when but we will do it. It was a good experience. I would want to work with him again. I think he will work on films again. He is so talented, the way he narrates his stories – it has so much detailing. While on the sets, not all directors do what they say. But Ganesh sticks to his words. I think he shouldn’t leave. He is talented, very talented.
Q. How did you prepare for the role?
A. I was really nervous when I heard about the character. So far in all my short films, I have played the good boy. But suddenly I was expected to be a good boy all along and then turn bad towards the climax. I was in a dilemma if I could even do the role. So I discussed the character and the bold scenes with my mother. I asked her if I should do it or not. She told me ‘to what your heart says’, I thought about it over a few hours and decided to go ahead. It’s a new concept, a psychological thriller in the Telugu web space. I didn’t do anything special. I only manipulated myself to believe that I was the guy who has never had a family and cannot have one in the future. I started to live the character’s life. I struggled to do that.
Q. How similar or different are you to your on-screen character?
A. Actually, I looked the way I do in N.E.R.D. when I went to meet Ganesh. In the first half, how the character is innocent, I am also innocent – maybe not that innocent after all. The character is also very calm and nerdy. But I am very jovial in reality, at least around the people I like. But I am extremely different in my approach towards girls. The character spoke to them charmingly, I wouldn’t do that. I think I am an introvert still.
Q. Your most favourite part about playing Hasvanth?
A. I enjoyed every single scene. It’s my first big project, so I enjoyed every bit of it.
Q. The most difficult part about playing Hasvanth?
A. I was terrified of the scene where I had to practice kissing and holding a woman. I was terrified to do that. Even after that shot was done and I had to watch it on the output monitor, I thought to myself what the f*** am I doing.
Q. Your takeaways from N.E.R.D?
A. The memories. Working with the seven leads and working under Ganesh — it is all so memorable. The show has come out well. I come from nowhere and everyone has been so supportive. My producers and ZEE5 especially. I would also like to thank Puri Jagannadh sir’s family. They have been really supportive since my last short film.
Q. Do you have a favourite memory?
A. My favourite memories are with Namrata (Darekar), who plays Rahasya. We had a night shoot — we had to shoot the scene where we were travelling in a car and partying. In a span of three hours, we had so many scenes. It was so much fun, she is a jovial person. Even during the scene where we had to kiss, I was nervous to do that in front of 30 crew members and on camera. But Namrata motivated me to be a sport and she said it’s all acting, don’t be scared. No one else did it.
Q. What’s next?
A. Nothing is on papers yet. I want to take a trip somewhere, maybe Kodaikanal, I don’t know. I have a few narrations and scripts, but nothing is decided.
We’re waiting to see what this young actor brings to the table next. Wishing him the best for the future, we sign off. Stay tuned for more of such exclusive interviews. In the meantime, watch ZEE5 original film Ala.