He is known for his roles in films like “Bheja Fry”, “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” and “Khosla Ka Ghosla” but Vinay Pathak is not bothered by his image of a funnyman though he thinks filmmakers often feel restricted by it.
“The popular image I carry is of ‘Bheja Fry’, ‘Chalo Dilli’ and ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’. There are very few who would come and say ‘I saw you in ‘Dasvidaniya’ and I loved it’.
“I am aware of my popular image. And I think it doesn’t restrict me but the filmmakers perhaps can’t imagine me in any other role beyond that image,” Pathak told PTI.
The 47-year-old actor is now geared up to surprise everyone with “Gour Hari Dastaan: The Freedom File” in which he is essaying the role of an Odisha freedom fighter, Gour Hari Das, a character which is opposite of his image.
The film revolves around Hari Das’ struggle for 32 years to prove his participation in the freedom movement.
Pathak, whose list of serious movies is not significantly long, hopes the character will finally help him show a different side of his acting.
“Films like ‘Gour Hari Dastaan’ are a reinstatement of faith that now I can tell other stories as well.”
Directed by actor-filmmaker Anand Mahadevan, the film for “Mithya” star was a once-in-a-lifetime project.
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“One day, Anant called me to his house and spoke about this man. I had read about him in paper. Anant said ‘I want to make a film on it’. In my subconscious mind, I was thinking he has called me to offer some role in it. And then much to my surprise he asked, ‘Would you like to play Gour Hari Das?’ and I was like ‘Yes! any day’.
“I was wondering why he chose me for this role, as the popular image I have is different. But he had confidence in me and the next moment we were working on it,” the actor said.
Pathak is recognized for the ease with which he plays his parts and doing a biopic was not difficult for him as he had the support of Hari Das.
“For playing any character, you need to do your homework. In this one, I was blessed with Das ji around us, guiding us with his first hand experience. It was different because most of the time rather than sitting and fictionalising the character, the process was to take real things and fictionalise it on screen,” he said.
The movie has been received well in film festivals and even earned Pathak the best actor award at Paris’ Extravagant India: International Indian Film Festival but for the actor the best reward was Hari Das’ reaction after watching his story unfold on the screen.
“I was out of town when Das ji saw the movie. Anant called me and said ‘Das ji wants to speak to you’. He was so full of joy, warmth and affection. He is very happy.”
Pathak, who is looking forward to the release of the film on August 14, is already through with the shooting of two other movies — “Chidiya” and “Island City”. He will start working on a film titled, “Ticket to Bollywood”, by the end of this month.
“Gour Hari Dastaan” also stars Konkana Sen Sharma, Ranvir Shorey, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Vikram Gokhale and Vipin Sharma in pivotal roles.