Riteish Deshmukh’s remarkable portrayal of a dark character in Ek Villain has been lauded by the audience. His debut as an actor in the Marathi flick, Lai Bhari is also bringing in accolades. As far as his career is concerned, the actor is in a fine space. And, in his personal life, the actor is thrilled about becoming a dad soon
Humshakals, Ek Villain and now Lai Bhari in which you make your acting debut in Marathi cinema. Three films within a span of a month. Would you call that destiny?
Destiny is timing. And the only thing that can get you there is hard work. Ideally, I wanted a gap of one month between Humshakals and Ek Villain, but that couldn’t happen and the films released within a month. All three have a different feel and look. As an actor I am really excited.
After Housefull2, Grand Masti and now it’s Ek Villain that has touched the Rs. 100 crore mark.
It’s always a great feeling when your film touches that Rs.100 crore mark. I am absolutely thrilled that people have reacted so well to all these films and gone in large numbers to the theatres.
You are extremely adept at comedy. How was it switching over to play a dark character like Rakesh Mahadkar in Ek Villain?
Switching from comedy to playing an evil character was not easy especially since it was the first time I was attempting such a part. What was exciting was that the writers of the film and director Mohit Suri felt that I could carry off this role. It is a different character and they wanted some odd casting. The publicity was done smartly and the responses I have got for the film have been extremely encouraging, especially since the comic caper Humshakals released almost simultaneously. That the two characters did not clash was a huge battle for me as an actor.
As an actor which was easier to pull off?
Nothing was easy. Pulling off Humshakals was more difficult than Ek Villain because it was physically very challenging, especially when I had to play a feminine character. There are two ways for a male actor to act as a female. One, where the audience can make out that a male is doing the role of a female and the other— the way I approach it; I should look like a female. This means physically toning down the negatives like broad shoulders and muscles. I achieved this in my earlier film, Apna Sapna Money Money where most of the time I was covered. But in Humshakals I had to get into a bikini and I had to hide so many things (laughs). It was a very brave thing to do.
On the other hand, Ek Villain was mentally stressful and hard, because there were a lot of sub-texts and layers.
How did your wife, Genelia react to your character in Ek Villain?
I remember when I saw Mohit’s Murder 2, I told Genelia that if I had been offered the role of a villain in the film, I would have done it. She would also often tell me that if I ever get a negative role I should do it.
Did playing such a part have any kind of impact on you?
I thought I could never kill anyone. But when I started getting more involved with the character, I thought I could! Now, I think every person is capable of killing someone. But your niceness and logic tells you what is right. In some people that logic breaks, and they behave illogically and do crazy things. It’s scary when you face such reality.
Now that you have played a dark character, is there any actor whose dark deeds in a Hindi film has left an impact on you?
Shah Rukh Khan in Darr. His character made a great impact on me as a person.
Which actors do you look up to when it comes to comedy?
Govinda! I have worked with him and he’s brilliant. Saif was the only actor I had not worked with, though I knew he had an amazing comic timing. He has his own style — urban, poker-faced humour and he doesn’t have to do much to make people laugh. On the other hand, the films I have done are all very massy and over-the-top like slipping on a banana skin. The only straight- faced humour I have done was in Bluffmaster with Abhishek Bachchan which was just dialogue based. Instead of me going into Saif’s zone, it was him coming into our zone in Humshakals, so that was exciting.
You have become a successful producer with Balak Palak, Yellow and now Lai Bhari. Is turning director next on your list?
Film-making is a great process. Acting is wonderful, but as an actor you are only part of a film. I am enjoying production because as a producer you own the entire film, which is a great feeling. I have thought about direction, but I still have a lot to learn before I become one. And when I do, it will be a small film and I will do it on the sly.
You seem to be exceptionally excited about your Marathi film Lai Bhari.
That’s true. Lai Bhari is something new for the Marathi industry because the action drama genre has not been explored in Marathi cinema. Hindi films are star driven where the stars are responsible for the Friday opening. Marathi cinema is content driven and the films are not dependent on Fridays, but how they fare over the weekdays. So I attempted a new genre, and if I am successful, more people will attempt to make commercial Marathi films.
How did Lai Bhari come about?
Actually, the film was first offered to me as an actor and I liked the subject and decided to co-produce it as well.The major thing that has given Marathi films a boost is that the youth who watched Hindi films have also started enjoying Marathi films. They have seen Timepass, Balak Palak, Duniyadaari. To attract the youth you need subjects that will attract them.
All your Marathi films come with subtitles.
That’s because I want to cater to even that one non- Marathi person in the audience who comes to watch the film.
Is it true that you would like Genelia to work in a Marathi film as well?
I was asked what kind of film I would like to do with Genelia and I said I would be excited to do a Marathi film with her because she has acted in five films in different languages, since she knows Marathi, it will be her debut in another language. That’s the only language film I can act with her apart from Hindi.
What kind of films are you looking at now?
It depends what is offered to me. After doing several comedies, I am interested in taking up different kind of roles. Between a good multi-starrer and a solo that is not so good, I would prefer to be a part of a multi-starrer that works, whether it is a Humshakals, Grand Masti or Ek Villain.
What about adult comedies?
An adult comedy should have something new to offer me with another take and should be different from Grand Masti. A film in the same zone becomes difficult. It may be successful, but you are churning out the same thing.
Your brother Amit is into politics. What about you, have you ever given it a thought?
I am interested in politics, but as a citizen who wants to know about his country and city. Being aware and having an opinion is very important. But that does not necessarily mean that I want to become a politician. Anyway, I don’t think too much about the future.
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