By Rajesh V. Gaur & Suneel V. Gaur
Paresh Rawal, born on May 30, 1950 is one of Bollywood's most versatile actors for whom the shift from villainy to comedy seems to have been a cakewalk. He has played a variety of roles like the villain in ‘Dacait’, the comedian in ‘Hera Pheri’ and the dadaji in ‘Hero No 1’. The versatile actor seems to have found his calling in comedy after having played the comedien with elan in films like ‘Aankhen’, ‘Aawara Pagal Deewana’, ‘Hungama’, ‘Hulchul’, etc. We recently met the much-in-demand actor, Paresh Rawal, for a tete-a-tete…
You are perhaps the best comedian today. How comfortable are you with the label?
Frankly, I consider myself an actor, and don’t like being branded as ‘Paresh Rawal the comedian’ or ‘Paresh Rawal the villain’. If I am doing so many light roles, it’s only because they are all interesting. And as an actor I am comfortable as long as the role is interesting…
Are you tired of shouldering the entire responsibility of films?
I have worked so hard to arrive at this juncture in my career where I can shoulder whole films. But it depends on what you are shouldering. I have been in the industry for so long. Films sometimes don't work even when I am convinced of the storyline. At times I do films because of the set-up or to be part of a good film. I want filmmakers to know that I am open to doing serious, non-comic roles.
Comedy today is vulgar and not as clean as it used to be.
I don't go into vulgar double-meanings at all. Thankfully, they don't come to me. And by chance, if I end up with something vulgar, I modify it to suit my sensitivities. I change the words to take the sting out of the double meaning. There's a serious scarcity of writers in Bollywood, especially comedy writers. I never felt as suffocated doing villainy as I do now in doing comedy.
What are you now looking for as an actor?
I need challenges as an actor. I feel the comic roles in my career has harmed the actor in me. I don't know what to do...Give me just two solid scenes. But give me something to do. Something meaningful.
What is your recent play Krishan vs Kanhaiya about?
You won’t be able to forgive or forget this play. This play will change your perception in many ways. It is a thought provoking play. It is not mindless comedy . It is a hard hitting play.
The actors who have impressed you?
I like Marlon Brando and Naseeruddin Shah - especially in Paar and Sparsh. I like Amitabh's silence. Watch him in any frame when he is just staring at his co-artist. He is incomparable.
In future, would you like to direct a film?
At the moment I have no such ambitions as I am busy and happy acting.
How do you want to be known as?
As a great actor, but a normal human being.