Actor Arshad Warsi’s performances in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., Golmaal: Fun Unlimited, Dhamaal and Ishqiya have been loved by audiences and critics alike. He says less visibility does not bother him as an actor as his parameters of choosing a project combine not only a good script but also collaborating with good people.
Even though you have been appreciated consistently over the years, what makes you do so few films?
“Firstly, it feels nice for an actor to gain the confidence of the maker as they believe that I can bring something to the table while playing a character. I can handle a good human being who is an average talent, but cannot handle a great talent who is an as**le as a human being,” Arshad told IANS in an interview.
“Apart from a good script, the cast and crew matter to me. I really can work with an averagely talented crew but cannot work with people who are brilliant at their jobs but bad people to mingle with. That really puts me off… So for me, finding a combination of a good script and good people is a rarity. That is why selective work is happening.”
The actor has managed to make his mark in commercial potboilers as well as content-driven films like “Anthony Kaun Hai?”, “Kabul Express”, “Jolly LLB”, “Hulchul” and “Golmaal 3”.
What makes you so confident about your position in the film industry which is so cut-throat otherwise?
Arshad explained: “I am the last person to be worried about the attention. I strongly believe that if an individual knows his job and is really good at it, the work will always come. One cannot stay jobless if one is sincere. Fear of losing visibility comes when you are faking talent.”
Citing an example, he said: “People like Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor and Naseeruddin Shah will always work no matter how old they become or how few films they are doing… Because they magnify talent.”
Born and brought up in Nasik, Arshad initially struggled to survive; but he was very good at dancing and won several awards and prizes in dance competitions, including at World Dance championship, London.
Before entering Bollywood as an actor, Arshad worked as an assistant director and choreographed a song for the film “Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja”.
How does you look back at his journey — the transformation of a dancer into an actor?
“I really really miss dancing. When I started dancing at a young age, I was so passionate about dance. I knew it is my passion and I wanted to live for it, but (I knew I) would not be able to make my living out of it. Back then, the opportunity was not much for a dancer to make money. I knew I had to do something else to earn money. There came the acting.
“But my friends and family said that my personality did not change much… I’ve only become a little mature with age,” smiled the 50-year-old.
If you had to choose his favourite and most challenging character as an actor, which would it be?
Arshad said: “I enjoyed playing Babban from the film ‘Ishqiya’ because that was a very tricky character to play. He is a grey character with a sense of humour, yet something is very off about him. I liked that. Of course, I loved playing Circuit (from ‘Munnabhai…’).”
However, he said he does not find any of his characters challenging.
“I do not look at any character as challenging. I try to understand the essence of it, and perform. I do not analyse my performance and really do not worry about its future. I do not have any anxiety before a performance. Of course, my heart breaks if my performance is not liked by the audience, because that is all you want as an artiste; but I get up and go again… It is not the end of the world.”
The actor is also gearing up for his digital debut with the show Asura. More than the medium, Arshad is excited about the story because he feels it is very well-written.
“I am not talking much about the medium because for me acting is acting. Whether it is a film or a web show, it is about acting in front of the camera.”