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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Rajpal Yadav on his 50th birthday: I don’t know who’s my friend in Bollywood, but I don’t have any enemy

Rajpal Yadav turns 50 today. On the occasion, the actor-comedian looks back at his journey, his inspiration in Charlie Chaplin and things he won't do in the name of entertainment.

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi |
Updated: March 17, 2021 8:24:58 am
rajpal yadav filmsRajpal Yadav turns 50 today. (Photo: Express Archives)

Actor Rajpal Yadav says, “If you manage to joke around and charm people, it means that from inside, you are very serious.” The ace artiste, who turns 50 today, feels he has had a new lease of life in terms of his career. Revealing that he wishes to spend his day completely soaked up in the company of his family, away from networking, Rajpal got candid with indianexpress.com, about his birthday plans and more.

“If people wish to meet you or speak with you, you can say you are still relevant. I’m completing half century of my life in 2021. I faced so many stepping stones. From 2000 to 2010, I got a chance to work in more than a 100 movies. And I’ve learned from my mistakes. Now, I feel I’m reborn and aim at hitting more goals,” Rajpal says, as he reflected on his journey so far.

Rajpal Yadav began his film career with a cameo as a coolie in Manoj Bajpayee starrer Shool (1999). In a career spanning over two decades, Rajpal went on to play memorable characters, mostly comic roles, in movies like Hungama, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Garam Masala, Malamaal Weekly, Dhol, Chup Chup Ke, Bhagam Bhag, Partner, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Judwaa 2 and the recent Coolie No. 1. His work in Jungle, Darna Mana Hai, Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh, Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon and others, was away from comedy, and stood out.

Despite experimenting with his roles, did Rajpal ever feel typecast or categorised in comedy? “I’m a very serious man in real life. I’m an observer. Only the one who’s satisfied in life can be funny. When you get to play 500 characters, you cannot feel categorised. There can only be one Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh or Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon. Just that you need to pick characters that a child will enjoy, as much as an elderly, without making anyone uncomfortable. That’s the control you need to practice in this film industry, to abide by your ideologies. So many people offered me a role similar to Jungle. I told them what’s the point and they can copy paste the same character. Even if I got to do less of such roles, I haven’t retired as yet. I’m still working in three shifts,” Rajpal said.

Sharing how he makes sure to avoid abuses while selecting his roles, the National School of Drama (NSD) pass-out said, “We’ve been born and brought up in hinterland India where people keep abuses handy. But in the last 5-7 years, we see how one can earn money for abusing onscreen. I don’t need to use bad language as a means of earning or for entertainment. Only 3 percent of audience enjoy that, the remaining 97 percent still like Hum Aapke Hain Koun.”

Rajpal agreed that when he started off, there was a demarcation between a lead actor and a comedian. But, the lines have blurred over the years. Today, it is all about the character, and that has created better opportunities for the current crop. “Everything happens at its time. For a true artiste, all that should matter is entertaining the masses. What we do in reel isn’t our real side. So, it doesn’t matter if you play the lead, a supporting role or a comedian. Overall, it is the age of entertainment. Reel is illusion of reality, and this is the right time to live that illusion.”

main madhuri dixit banna chahti hoon antara mali rajpal yadav Rajpal Yadav with Antra Mali in a still from Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon. (Photo: Express Archives)

Rajpal Yadav calls Charlie Chaplin, his inspiration. He, however says he’s never copied him. “Charlie Chaplin is my friend. I can speak to him for hours. There cannot be a bigger friend of creativity. I’ll feel proud if my sorrows can turn into someone’s happiness.”

Crediting the digital medium for opening up newer avenues for creative people, the actor shared how scripts he gets offered today, have changed. “All the films are tailor-made today. With the advent of OTT, we are being offered great roles. If a film like Chup Chup Ke is remembered by people of every generation, with the expansion of web space, I aim at reaching out to a wider audience.”

So what’s been his most favourite character to play till date? “I love all my characters. Some characters have a good length, some have strength. When Hungama 2 will come, I’ll ask you if he’s better or the one you saw in Main Meri Patni Aur Woh was.”

And who are his friends in the industry? “I don’t know who my friend is. But I do know that I don’t have any enemy,” he concluded.

Happy birthday, Rajpal Yadav!

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