Sajid Khan's "Heyy Babyy" has reestablished Riteish Deshmukh as an actor with fine comic timing. The actor speaks about "Dhamaal", how he has handled criticism, and his journey in the industry so far.
A: I made my debut with "Tujhe Meri Kasam". I must admit that I never wanted to get into acting in the first place. I dropped in on the sets of Subhash Ghai's "Yaadein" and one of the directors there offered me a role. In fact, I was still a newcomer when Vashu Bhagnani offered me "Out Of Control". So, many of my initial films came my way before I had established myself as an actor. Then Inder Kumarji offered me "Masti". He was quite sure that I will make a good comedian. But on the first two days of the shoot, he was at his wit's end not knowing how to make me deliver. But from the third day he was very happy with me. The movie was liked by everyone, especially by children. So I thought why not go with comedy if it suits me well. And here I am……
Q: What if the trend changes from comedy to action?
A: You cannot run away from trends. But I think comedy is everlasting, as people want to laugh all the time. But an actor should try everything and should be comfortable in every role he does. I don't believe in being addressed just as a good comedian. An actor should give outstanding performance in everything he does.
Q: Who are your favourite actors?
A: I have been fortunate enough to work with some very good actors. Look at Akshay Kumar, he is fantastic in whatever he does. He bisects the scene according to his needs and gives an excellent performance, be it in comedy or action. I need to rehearse the lines, while Akshay makes his own lines, if needed, and that too, in a fantastic manner. I also like Arshad Warsi, and believe me, he never practices or rehearses his dialogues. He just goes through them once and that is enough for him. Everything comes to him naturally, be it comedy or emotion. I also like Boman Irani. He is fantastic.
A: It is one of the liveliest and most successful movies of mine. I loved it and I have spoken a few lines of Marathi in that film. Actually, Sajid wanted a Marathi dialogue in the movie, he really liked it when I helped.
Q: Tell us about "Cash".
A: "Cash" failed and it should be a lesson for everyone. It happens and one learns from such things in life. I take negative things very seriously and try not to repeat my mistakes. There may be things which the audience did not like about the movie and hence it failed.
Q: What would you say about yourself as an actor?
A: I am very critical about myself as an actor. When I was new in this industry I used to get affected whenever the camera would turn on me. Not anymore. I learn from my mistakes and take negative remarks more seriously.
Q: Do you think belonging to Maharashtra helps you in this industry?
A: No, you can come from any place and you can be famous and reach the top. I feel the film industry is the most secular industry in our country. Here your talent is what counts and not anything else. Madhuri Dixit, Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini are from different places but are at the top now.
A: What is life without a risk? In fact, I had thought that people would rebuke me for that role, instead they are all praise. Those three months were the toughest of my life and I was so much into the character that I used to speak in the same manner when I was not shooting. Many times, I used to end up walking like a girl, and talking like a man. It was the funniest thing that ever happened to me.
Q: How did your parents and relatives react to your performance?
A: Whether they like it or not, my parents always appreciate my performance. But I must say that my best critic is my brother. He is the one who compliments me when I am good and tells me straight in my face when I am not. I like it because it helps me improve. Very few people know that my father was in love with movies. He was a huge fan of Dev Anandsaab and Dilipsaab.
Q: Would you like to work in Marathi movies?
A: Yes, of course. But I don't know why people are not giving that much importance to Marathi movies these days. There are Marathi audiences who prefer Hindi movies in the same multiplex where a good Marathi film is running. There were a few offers of Marathi movies which I did not accept as the scripts were not up to the mark. But as soon as something good comes my way, I would love to do it.
Q: What about your profession as an architect?
A: Yes, I go to office occasionally and I have a very efficient team that takes care of everything. I need not worry about anything. I just go to check what material they are using and on which project they are working on. My father wanted me to pursue education first so that if I were unsuccessful in one thing, I would have another option to fall back on. My brother is into politics, but he is a chemical engineer by qualification.
Q: Tell us about your future plans?
A: I don't want to become Number One in the industry. But yes, I want to make a mark for myself. I just want to become a decent actor and that is enough for me.
-Anju Gupta (SAMPURN)