Ashutosh Rana feels the lull period in an artiste’s career doesn’t mean ones lacks talent. The ace actor, who has carved a niche for himself in the Hindi film industry, believes that what used to be “off-beat cinema” has become mainstream today.
Rana, whose performance in recent films like Mulk, Dhadak, Simmba, Sonchiriya and Milan Talkies, received much applause, is happy Bollywood is offering him varied roles. His latest film Chicken Curry Law, co-starring Makrand Deshpande, Zakir Hussain and Nivedita Bhattacharya, hit the screens on August 9.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Ashutosh Rana opened up about the changing content in Bollywood, dealing with a low phase in his career and how he approaches his roles.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. After doing films like Mulk, Dhadak and Sonchiriya, you think things are looking brighter for you?
Let’s looks at it from this perspective – in the beginning of my career, I did films like Dushman and Sangharsh which were considered to be ‘off-beat’ films at that time. But luckily those off-beat films are now considered to be mainstream cinema. And that ensures actors like me are busy and get more work. And the result is movies like Dhadak, Mulk, Simmba etc and people are making such films and they remember us for roles in these movies.
Q. Chicken Curry Law is a courtroom drama. But that is also something you have done before. What’s different this time?
As an actor I like taking challenges. In Mulk, I played Santosh Anand who was also wearing a black coat. In Chicken Curry Law, my character is called Sitapati Shukla who is also a lawyer. But both the characters are completely different from each other and as an audience when you see them, you will find the difference. The philosophies of both of them are very different. Santosh believed that what he is saying is the truth. But Sitapati believes in speaking only the truth. So, one character is trying to prove a lie as truth, and the other one is fighting to prove the truth as truth. One is not ready to compromise on his ideologies and the other has made compromising his ideology. When you are in the court, you will see 100 lawyers and all of them are different. As an actor, I want to play different type of lawyers.
Q. Also the victim here is not an Indian. Is the film trying to give a message?
Yes! India is considered a powerful nation. As Indians, we also believe in the philosophy of “atithi devo bhavah”, where we treat our guests as gods. India is considered to be the epicenter of culture and spiritualism. In a country, where women are revered and treated as goddesses, a woman who is travelling alone is facing that kind of crime, then it raises a big question on our philosophy. Some commit such crimes and it raises a question mark on the entire philosophy of our nation. This film is trying to highlight that.
Q. Despite having a great start in the industry, you had a lull phase too. What did that teach you? You think the roles you got did justice to your talent?
See these lull moments in a career happen in every field. And these moments don’t have any relation to the talent of that person. We consider Sachin Tendulkar as the greatest batsman, but when he used to be out of form that was his lull period. It does not mean he forgot how to bat. These ups and downs of life are just rules of life. If you are going up, then you have to come down as well. And when you are going down, you will come up as well. The heart monitor in a hospital is the best example for this. When the heart is functioning, the line is going up and down showing life. But when the line is flat that means life has stopped.
If you also see that in India, films are made in 10 to 12 languages and I have done movies in 6 to 7 languages. People are now giving me different roles. My character is different in Sonchiriya and my character in Simmba is completely different. Even though I played a policeman in both movies, there is immense difference. I consider myself to be blessed. And I believe an actor should be prepared and when you get an opportunity for any character, you should be able to play them.
Q. Do you and Renuka Shahane talk films at the dining table?
We talk anything apart from films when we are together. Sometimes we do talk, but at a very miniscule level. Since it is a big world and Renuka is a very intelligent and aware woman, during our exchange on films, somewhere education also happens.
Q. What kind of cinema would you now personally want to be a part of?
I haven’t done anything as yet. It was just the beginning. The real journey has just begun. I want to explore my best as an actor.