Chunky Panday has some good films in his kitty. But the actor had a phase in his life when his films weren’t working and he hit rock bottom. However, Chunky managed to bounce back.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Chunky reveals how he survived the rough days with a positive attitude, and how he has been unlearning a lot of things.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
After receiving critical appreciation for your performance in Begum Jaan, people expected you to appear in more films in 2018. That didn’t happen but you have a fantastic line-up of films this year.
Yes. Saaho is releasing on August 15. They are not publicising me much, but I will be deadlier in it than I was in Begum Jaan. After that I have Housefull 4 releasing on Diwali. So, I would say the wait has been worth it. I am also doing a Marathi movie. It is directed by Sameer Patil, the director who made Poshter Boyz (2014). This is being produced by Riteish Deshmukh’s production house. It is called Bhangaar Wala. Then I am doing Prasthanam with Sanjay Dutt and that should be coming in September sometime. So, this year is going to be filled with film releases for me.
You recently appeared in Tap Tap, which is one among the six stories of Shuruaat Ka Twist.
My character in Tap Tap is a has-been. A faded superstar musician who is trying to make a comeback. He is someone who couldn’t get work for some years, and has been living hand-to-mouth. And then suddenly he gets a big opportunity to make a song, and he tries to bounce back.
Did you identify with that character?
Yes, I could identify with this character. This guy was a superstar and then a completely out of work artiste. Even I have done some crazy things to make ends meet. But I have always smiled through everything and got myself going. But I could see shades of myself in him.
How do you see your work today? What are the changes you have introduced to your craft?
When I decided to make a comeback, I thought I will just concentrate on comedy because I wanted to make people laugh. So, I chose those kinds of roles like Apna Sapna Money Money’s Rana, Housefull’s Akhri Pasta. I did some crazy characters and they worked. But the audience today is consuming so much content on so many platforms like digital, TV. They are watching so many Hollywood films that I wanted to do something different. The audience is looking out for performers, and believe me, you don’t have to do an art film to impress them. You can do a very commercial film and perform well. They recognise that. I think I am in an exciting phase of my career. The new generation of stars will be performing stars.
Talking about the next generation of stars, how did you feel about your daughter Ananya Pandey’s debut in Student Of the Year 2?
Before the release of her film, I was very nervous. Not for anything, not even for the fate of her film as I know better that actors have no control over the fate of the film. For me, my main concern was how has she performed as I had not seen any rushes or anything. I had only seen the trailer on YouTube on the day it was launched. I didn’t even go for the trailer launch event.
I know that to be a star in Bollywood, you have to be accepted by the audience. Today’s audience has become very performance-oriented. So, I wanted to see how they would react to her performance. Apne bacche toh sabko acchhe lagte hai (everybody thinks their children have done well), but I kept thinking what will the world think of my girl. When I saw the film on the premiere night, she kind of shocked me. I saw the movie very critically. She really surprised me with Sherya’s character. She is nothing like that in real life. So, I was satisfied that my girl has got her craft, and that she just needs to improve on it as she goes along. Now let’s see what she does further.
How different is it working in films today than it was in the 90s? How much leaning and unlearning did you have to do to adapt with the changing time?
We never had script reading sessions and rehearsals. Everything used to happen on sets. So, we had to prepare ourselves for that. Whatever work happened, happened on the sets. So much of it was in front of the camera. Things have changed now. People have workshops. I think we have evolved a lot, and it is so good.
We also didn’t have sync-sound. We used to dub. While dubbing we used to get a chance to enhance our performance. I am still getting used to it. I find it very uncomfortable when I have to sync-sound even now. I don’t like it at all because I know what I can do in dubbing. But it is okay, you have to sometimes go with the time.
What would you tell stars of your generation who are struggling today?
What can I tell them? I can only learn from them. What I feel is it is very important to trust people at work. We need to trust the director and someone who has come with a good script, and give them your all. If we do that, normally the characters work out quite well.