Jaaved Jaffery: The ringmaster

From working in TV and cinema to making ad films,actor Jaaved Jaafery always tries to reinvent himself.

Written by Sankhayan Ghosh | Published:October 4, 2013 12:17 am

Jaaved Jaafery still remembers what Shah Rukh Khan had told him several years ago. “You do things 10 years before they are done by other people,” SRK had said.

It proves to be truer with each passing year in a career of over two decades in the entertainment industry.

Jaafery’s career has seen him doing shows that were about to set trends in the years to follow.

While ‘Boogie Woogie’ — the longest running dance reality show — spawned a similar breed of shows in Indian television,his veejaying in “Hinglish” with Channel V for shows such as Flashback and Timex Timepass gave start to a swish,youthful brand of entertainment — not to mention his incredible voice-over for the dubbed Hindi version of the Japanese game show,Takeshi’s Castle.

“TV was taboo for film stars before. But I jumped into it and it was creatively the most satisfying phase of my career,” says Jaafery,who has straddled different media — television,cinema,writing and directing ad films — with ease.

Jaafery wrote and directed many commercials for Maggi from 1985 till date. It makes him an actor,comedian,dancer and voice artist,all rolled into one.

But it has been a while since he created an impact on the big screen — his last memorable outing being 3 Idiots,playing the “real” Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad.

His last film,’Double Dhamaal’,came and went unnoticed. But now he is back with a meaty role in Abhinav Kashyap’s just released film ‘Besharam,’ which will be quickly followed by ‘War Chod Na Yaar,’ a war satire,and also next year’s Hrithik Roshan-Katrina Kaif starrer ‘Bang Bang.’

While he plays a Pakistani captain in the former,and a negative character in the latter,it’s his role in ‘Besharam’ that he looks forward to the most.

“I play pure evil,there is not even a comic streak. ‘Besharam’ is a big,masala film,and it’s a good way to change the public perception that I do just comedy,” says the 50-year old.

Even though Jaafery has consciously tried to establish himself in character roles — including “serious” ones in Deepa Mehta’s Fire and Samar Khan’s ‘Shaurya’ — it’s his comic turns that have earned him popularity. His performance in Dhamaal towered above the rest of the cast,while his role as a ‘desi crocodile dundee’ in ‘Salaam Namaste’ made him a cult figure for comedy in Hindi cinema.

His irregularity in Hindi films,more so of late,is because of the lack of good roles.

“I didn’t just want to take up anything just to act in films,” says Jaafery,who is currently working on four films including ‘Jo Bhi Karvalo,’ a “whacked-out comedy” with Arshad Warsi and Soha Ali Khan.

Jaafery is in no hurry. There is no new plan or resolution,except that he wants to do good work,as he did 10 years ago.

In the last two years,Jaafery produced two documentaries about contemporary Kashmir — Ashvin Kumar’s Inshallah Kashmir and ‘Inshallah Football.’ “I have never restricted myself to just acting in movies and tried to find different outlets for my creative instincts,” he says.

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