In his two-decades-long career, Brijendra Kala has done some phenomenal work with the likes of Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Irrfan Khan, Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. But, working again with Bachchan in Gulabo Sitaabo gave him jitters.
Though the 51-year-old actor has earlier worked with Big B in films like Bunty Aur Babli and Bhootnath Returns, it took him some time to get out of the zone of a fan and consider the actor as his co-star. “Bachchan sahab is someone I have been idolising since childhood. So, I got overwhelmed and it took a while to get out of that fan-zone,” shared Kala who has most of his scenes with Big B in the Shoojit Sircar directorial.
In Gulabo Sitabo, Brijendra Kala plays a lawyer from Lucknow who helps Amitabh Bachchan’s Mirza to get rid of his tenant Banke (Ayushmann Khurrana).
Recalling his first day on the set of Gulabo Sitabo, Kala shared, “On the first day of the shoot, we did a scene in 4-5 takes. Shoojit was satisfied with it and moved on to the next scene. Suddenly, Bachchan sir said, ‘Brijendra why don’t you do this scene in your style?’ The moment he said this, I was on cloud nine and it took me a while to realise what is my style.”
Brijendra Kala has a peculiar style of dialogue delivery where he starts at a normal pace and eventually increases it so much so that it gets difficult to understand what he said. “I was happy to realise that an actor of Amitabh Bachchan’s calibre keeps an eye on the work of other artistes as well,” added Kala. He was also impressed with Big B’s dedication towards his work as he shared, “Even if he doesn’t have a dialogue in a scene, he will be conscious about how he reacts to other characters. He is that sincere. His makeup in the film took a lot of time and it was so hot in Lucknow in June when we shot the film, still, he kept himself calm. I feel there is a lot you can learn from him.”
Kala started his acting career with 2003 film Haasil where he played a newspaper vendor. Later, he went on to work with many renowned filmmakers including Tigmanshu Dhulia, Imtiaz Ali, R.S. Prasanna, Aanand L Rai and Rajkumar Hirani. What he liked about working with Shoojit Sircar was his habit of providing a comfort zone to the actors and the precision in his script.
“Shoojit Sircar is one such director who brings out the character from an actor. I always say that in my films, 50% of my character is written on the page and the rest I bring in to the character. But, in this film, my character was written so well on the paper that I didn’t need to put in much effort. And, whenever I wanted to add some shades to it, Juhi (Chaturvedi) helped me. Last time this happened was in Paan Singh Tomar,” the actor said.
Despite being a part of many films, Brijendra Kala has never played a lead role, and he is content with that reality. “To me, all that matters is my character. It should be the one which the audience remembers for a long time. Whatever character I get to play, I give my 100 per cent to it. No matter how many times I have portrayed the same character on the screen, I will still try to give it a nuanced treatment,” Kala remarked.
Like many other supporting actors who contribute to uplifting a film, Brijendra Kala too has been a scene-stealer in films like Jab We Met (taxi-driver) and PK (idol-seller).
Ask him what has led to this sudden popularity of supporting actors and he says it is only because of the kind of stories that are being written today.
“Today, the stories are being set in small towns of India. Now they are not dependent only on the hero and the heroine. The involvement of a supporting actor has increased. And that is bound to happen if you write realistic stories because then you will have to include all the characters, be it mother, father, brother sister or uncle,” suggested Brijendra Kala.
Gulabo Sitabo is scheduled to release on Amazon Prime Video on June 12.
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