Nationalism is not all black and white: Sumeet Vyas

Sumeet Vyas, who played the role of Rakesh in the comedy stoner High Jack (2018) is back, now in the role of Officer Ram Kumar in the series 1962: The War In The Hills. The series, streaming on Hotstar is a war-drama of dauntless courage, fought to the last bullet during the 1962 India-China war. Excerpts from the interview with the actor.

Tell us about 1962: The War In The Hills

It is a series about the 1962 Indo-China War and this particular Indian regiment in which around 126 men defended the border while the war broke out. They ended up fighting thousands of Chinese soldiers. The conditions were very bad, and they lacked proper facilities to keep themselves warm during the harsh pangs of winter. All that kept them going just for the sheer love for their country. It was a small victory in a big war!

Do you think that this is an apt time to come out with a series about conflicts with China?

I feel that it is incidental and not intentional. We had shot this in 2019 and there was no real conflict in the borders back then. It is not essentially a pro-war series. It is more about the people who took part in it and what kind of lives they lead. The war is just the mere backdrop of the story.

Don’t you think that portraying ‘nationalism’ in films has been done to death?

No, I don’t think so! I agree that there are a lot of films on the lives of the army-men but it is one sentiment that will always work, as it has instant connect with the audience. Love for one’s country is a universal emotion and one will always connect to it! That is never going to be out of fashion.

Don’t you think that we have seen a lot of over-the-top ‘nationalism’ in films in the last few years?

Yes, of course. It is a sort of raging topic these days. The nation is like one’s own home. The nation is like my home and l love it just like my house and family. However, do I need to reiterate this always? No, that is unnecessary. One need not be screaming from the rooftops about it. Also, if I point out what I don’t like my nation or my family, it does not mean that I love them any less. It cannot be all black and white!

Why are Indian celebs not as vocal about social and political issues as celebs in the West?

We work for a storytelling medium. If we start meddling in politics, our houses are attacked all of a sudden. Our films are barred from releasing, the theatres are attacked by mobs and criminal cases are filed in courts. It’s completely acceptable to not watch our content if one cannot handle what we produce. However, nobody can go about vandalizing our work!

Have you ever been trolled online?

Not really! That’s also because I don’t comment on political issues often. I am not a very opinionated person and I respect other people’s opinions. I don’t think my comments on an issue will help the cause. In fact, sometimes it can have a negative impact instead. Unless you can really do something productive about an issue that will help solve it, simply making a random comment is not going to be helpful!

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