Actor-writer Vishwak Sen plays a tough cop in a new thriller HIT

A few days ago, actor Vishwak Sen posted a photograph on Instagram, showing him lounging in a bathtub and stated that it’s an image of him from the future, relaxing with a ‘HIT’ after February 28. HIT is the title of his new film and stands for ‘Homicide Intervention Team’. The action thriller written and directed by debutant Sailesh Kolanu has Vishwak as a cop named Vikram Rudraraju, on the trail of a missing woman.

Vishwak sounds confident about the film produced by actor Nani and stylist Prashanti Tipirneni through their production house Wall Poster Cinema.

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of good stories,” says Vishwak, who starred in and directed Falaknuma Das, the Telugu adaptation of the Malayalam film Angamaly Diaries, last year. He was approached for HIT after the project was green-lit by Nani and Prashanti. It took Vishwak one narration of the story to get on board, “Usually I take two to three days to confirm a new project, but in this case, I said yes immediately,” he says.

His appreciation for the script and Sailesh’s vision of translating it to the large screen comes through when Vishwak says, “It’s a cop thriller presented from a new perspective and Sailesh was absolutely clear how he wanted to make the film. He had a ready-to-shoot script.” Vishwak had signed a couple of other projects but decided to shoot for HIT first, and went ahead with the permission of producers of the other projects.

Vishwak debuted with Vellipomakey, a small film that was applauded but didn’t make noise at the box office. Tharun Bhascker’s buddy comedy Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi where he played an aspiring filmmaker got him noticed. And Falaknuma Das had the street gangster vibe. Playing a cop is a first for Vishwak and the actor says, “I play a sophisticated IPS officer, but the role isn’t simple. There’s something mysterious about him and an incident from the past has affected him. I think this film has managed to bring out the best in me as an actor, among the films I’ve done so far.”

The trailer shows glimpses of him as a cop with a past. Vishwak reveals that he plays a 30-year-old cop and the director wanted him to look slightly unfit and raw, to keep it real. And Vishwak had to understand the character’s backstory to portray him effectively: “Sailesh had met senior police officers and had minutely observed their behaviour, all of which reflects in my character. For each film, I do a workshop so that once we begin to shoot, there’s no confusion on set.”

HIT was filmed over three months and Vishwak shot his portions for 50 days. He had decided to work on one film at a time to give his unwavering attention to a project: “A considerable portion of the film unfolds in rains and we shot in the jungles. I was drenched to the bone. While filming, there would be a 15 to 20-minute break when they change the position of the lights and camera for a shot. Just so that I don’t look dry when the camera rolls again, they would drench me in water all over again,” says Vishwak.

Did all that filming in water take a toll on him? “No, luckily I don’t fall sick easily. But on the last day of shoot I lost my voice. I had to do quite a few screaming scenes and that affected me. We took a break and resumed shooting after I regained my voice,” he says.

The film with background score by Vivek Sagar and cinematography by Manikandan, keeps the narrative as realistic as possible, and has its share of action sequences. Vishwak assures that the fights, too, seem realistic with “due respect to medicine and physics”.

HIT is a film Vishwak enjoyed being just an actor, after Falaknuma Das where he was both directing and acting. “When I am an actor, I don’t interfere with direction. Every film needs to breathe, and if too many people meddle with it, it will be evident on screen,” he adds.

As a child, Vishwak remembers being a fan of thrillers and later warmed up to other genres. Of late he’s been drawn to dramas. “Drama is a tough genre. Imagine creating a tense atmosphere with just two people in a room,” he says. Like Vikram Vedha (the Tamil film starring R Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi)? “Yes, each genre has its own complexities,” says Vishwak.

The actor-writer has two concepts that he intends to flesh out into stories and scripts but admits that at the moment, he’s not in the zone of writing. He’s acting in the entertainer titled Paagal and another new project.


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