He is India’s finest comedian today, an actor who has revolutionized Versatility to the tee. With some serious roles and mostly comic capers played aptly by this 62 year old veteran Bollywood actor, he has finally jumped onto the producer’s seat for the first time in a career that spanned over the last three decades. Popularly called Baburao Ganpatrao Apte, a character that took his comedy to an ultimate crescendo, Paresh Rawal is back with two films that clash at the box office this Friday. While Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal has Paresh donning only his acting genes, OMG Oh My God! has more to it. Joint producer to OMG Oh My God! along with Khiladi Kumar, Paresh is very excited about his maiden production venture as he clearly states that OMG Oh My God! is no slapstick humour but a film with a strong message.
In conversation with us, in spite of having a bit of cough and cold, Paresh reveals the minutest details about his life, his cinema and beyond!
You are one actor who has brilliantly pulled off lead roles, comic roles and even negative roles with effortless ease. For the world, you are a legendary veteran. How does it feel to be appreciated and being called India’s one of the most versatile actors?
I would like to thank all my fans for pouring in all their adulations for me always. I feel great about it. But I would like to have some more challenges also in my Life. So this is a very exciting film that is very close to my heart. I have been in the play also (OMG Oh My God!)
Off late, most of the films we see you in have been comic capers. Don’t you think you are limiting yourself while people expect so much from you?
No, I would not agree on that because in these years, I have also done unconventional roles in ‘Road To Sangam’ and ‘Sardar Patel’, so I have tried doing everything. Then, Oye! Lucky Lucky Oye! Was a comedy film but extremely different from other stereotypical comic capers. Coming to OMG Oh My God!, I would say it’s completely a new genre of films. The character, Kanji is not just a comic character. He does not believe in God and then situation arises and he gets to meet God. That’s how we have built the story.
You are turning producer with ‘Oh My God’. But what made you choose OMG as the plot narrative for your maiden production venture?
Well, I always had it in mind that if I ever produce a film, it will have to be a very meaningful film. So I chose this subject, jo meaningful ho, thought provoking ho and at the same time entertains the audiences too. This film has got all the ingredients that a film requires to taste success. You know film makers who make comedy films here always say, ‘Dimaag ghar pe rakhke aao. Tabhi humari film achhi laagegi’. I always used to think why the situation is like this. I would ask everyone ki ‘aap log dimaag leke hi aaiye meri film dekhne ko’ because OMG is not a mindless comedy! This is afilm with a strong message, a film that can change your mindset about the subject towards the end.
Being your maiden venture, what are you expecting out of OMG Oh My God?
Today everyone wants their film to hit the ‘sau crore’ (100 crore) mark. I honestly don’t believe in that, at all. I want this film to touch more and more hearts rather than counting on the cash pouring in for the film. That is my motive for making films. And honestly, this is one film that caters to all ages. Even youngsters, parents, grandparents everyone will enjoy this film and I can assure you that. This film will at least show one thing for real, that whatever our grandparents and parents teach us about God and the way of worshipping Him, which is all wrong and futile. These rituals make us God fearing and not God loving! We have worked on most of the misconceptions of God that we have in our minds. I watched the trailer recently and I am quite happy with the film.
Kanjibhai your character is an atheist. But you worship God in real life. How difficult was it to play a character who has completely different ideologies from the real you?
Yes, Kanji and Paresh can never be the same, because I do believe in god. But with the subject, I learnt a lot of things. The way we worship God is certainly not the way one should pray to God, that is what the movie taught me. I am against the rituals not against our worships to God. It was not really difficult, because I had rehearsed for one and half months for the play, getting into the skin of the subject very nicely. So I would consider Kanjibhai a very challenging role but not a difficult one for sure!
So, even Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal is releasing on the same day. Is there Anything that you want to share about that film?
You know Priyam (Priyadarshan) has his own style of film making. There is no connection between the first part and the second part. It is a different story altogether. Even the characterizations are very differently portrayed here. Technically speaking colour wise it is different but the type of comedy is the same. Both of them (Malamaal Weekly and Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal) are slapstick humour.
You are the first choice for any film maker when they decide to make a funny rib tickling humorous film. Have you ever taken that into notice?
It is not at all about what I want to do, actually! Mujhe sirf comedy hi nahi karma hai. It is a different thing that people are calling me for these roles. And here what happens is when they get someone fitting the role, they try and churn out as much humour possible from that person thereafter. As an actor, we do all that is required. Bas usse zyada mujhe nahi pasand!
Both your films, ‘Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal’ and ‘OMG Oh My God!’ clash at the box office this Friday. Which one are you catching first?
For me, I would be loyal to OMG Oh My God! because this is my first production. Both the films are good and there can be no comparison between the two. OMG is a different genre altogether. Malamaal is a typical comedy film but Oh My God is a completely different film that leaves a strong message behind. OMG is not another slapstick humour!
After OMG Oh My God!, what are your upcoming projects?
Well, I am reading two scripts right now. As soon as things get finalized, I will let you know!