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Omi Vaidya on Shooting for The Office with Steve Carell

Omi Vaidya on Shooting for The Office with Steve Carell

Omi Vaidya talks about the new season of Metro Park, his experience filming amid the pandemic and his memories of working with Steve Carell in The Office.

In a world of thrillers and crime dramas, Metro Park is a slice-of-life sitcom about first-generation Indian immigrants navigating their lives in the USA. The popular show recently dropped its second season, which dives deeper into the crazy Patel family, and how each character deals with additional responsibilities that come with life and growth.

Actor Omi Vaidya plays Kannan Menon, the South Indian brother-in-law of the Patel family. In a chat with News18, Omi talked about Metro Park season 2, the 'special' experience of filming with the cast amid a pandemic and his memories of the other 'classic' projects that he was a part of.

For Omi, his character of Kannan felt like an extension of his own life. His wife Minal Patel is a Gujarati and he too, is a young parent. He said that the show's authenticity resonated with him. "Kanan is a guy who is a little controlling and tries to do all the new trends. He has got a son and he wants him to do well. So all of the comedy that comes out of the anxiety of being a young parent and not really knowing how to do that well but trying your best. I think it is something that a lot of people can relate to and it’s quite funny. He is a little naive and innocent and that makes him lovable," he said.

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The team of Metro Park season 2 shot in New Jersey in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I was terrified to start working in the middle of a pandemic. My wife is a Public Health Researcher, so she knows how easy it is to get Covid and how vigilant we have to be. So I had a lot of that knowledge going in. When they said they wanted me to come up to New Jersey, I was very reluctant. They told me they had a lot of precautions in place. I drove up there. I didn’t take a plane or a train because I didn’t want to get exposed at all. And when I got there, I just assumed that everyone had the virus for a while. Once I realised they had a person out there taking temperatures and doing tests, I felt better. And on top of that we all were in a bubble. We all lived together, we weren’t allowed to go out and if we wanted to have fun, we had to have fun with each other.”

He added, "It actually reminded me a lot of 3 Idiots. We were stuck in IIM Bangalore. It was just these actors who couldn’t go out. They were isolated so they spent time with each other. It really bonded us. Same goes with Metro Park and people loved it. At the end of the production, we had a big award show at the wrap party. Everybody was given awards like 'Nicest on Set,' 'Biggest Diva on set' etc. And I’ve never had such an experience where we have a conclusion that we’re all celebrating in such a big way. It felt really special. I hope the people watching get even 50% of the enjoyment we got out of shooting Metro Park."

While 3 Idiots launched Omi in a big way, he was already a part of another iconic project. Omi was a guest artist in The Office (US) and appeared in the second and fourth season of the show as Sadiq, the IT guy. "When you shoot something, even 3 Idiots or The Office, you don’t know that it is going to be a classic. You just do it with your hundred percent. Maybe Metro Park too, in five or ten years, will be a classic. But shooting The Office was a very enjoyable experience for me. It was early on in my career, before 3 Idiots and it allowed me to realise that I had something special. I was able to get the role of Sadiq over many other well-known actors in the business. Steve Carell wasn’t a big name back then. When I shot there that was when the ratings of the show were starting to go up. Everyone was actually wondering if they would even get renewed. They thought maybe they would get cancelled. They were just these actors who were hoping to break through.

"I remember Steve Carell was really nice. We didn’t do any rehearsals, we just started shooting. I had no idea what was going on. When we were shooting he would just say random things and I was so focused on the character that it didn’t sound very funny to me. But Steve was just ad-libbing little things here and there. There were some extra scenes that I was in that were edited out for time that you can watch in the DVD version which are really funny. The weirdest part was when you work in an office, everybody looks like they’re working but they’re actually on YouTube or something. That’s what it was like. Everybody in the background was really just fooling around. SO it was like being in a real office. And it was such a subtle show compared to a lot of other comedies. It was really fun to do something like that. And it was one of the first depictions of Sikh people on American television. So every time I remember that, or 3 Idiots, or Metro Park, I know that I have a lot of versatility. I just have to either develop my own projects or wait for new filmmakers with great visions," he signed off.

Metro Park season 2 also stars Ranvir Shorey, Purbi Joshi, Vega Tamotia and Pitobash in lead roles. Sarita Joshi, Milind Soman and Gopal Dutt make extended cameos in season 2. The show streams on Eros Now.

first published:February 01, 2021, 11:51 IST
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