In the series titled First of Many, the who’s who of the industry will revisit their first acting project. They will reveal how they landed the role and what was their experience on the first day of shoot.
Satish Kaushik is a man of many talents. As good as he is on camera, his direction from behind it has also given us several hit films like Tere Naam, Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai and Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain. And while doing so, he has managed to find time for several onscreen appearances too.
Kaushik was part of recent movies like Bharat, Soorma and Udta Punjab. But if we look back at his filmography, he has given us some highly memorable roles in Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Hadh Kar Di Aapne, Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi, Deewana Mastana, Saajan Chale Sasural, Mr India and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro to name a few. His Calendar and Pappu Pager are still fresh in the minds of cinephiles. He will next be seen in Judgementall Hai Kya.
While many might believe that his first acting project was the 1983 film Masoom, the actor reveals it was 1981 movie Chakra.
But how did Satish Kaushik land a small role in this award-winning film? Here’s what he shared.
1. What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?
My first acting project in Mumbai was a film called Chakra starring Naseeruddin Siddiqui and Smita Patil. It was a very small role and had a very thin and lanky Satish Kaushik. That film had so many people. In its technical department, Kundan Shah was there as chief AD. Rajkumar Santoshi was the first AD. Then Vinod Pradhan was the chief camera assistant. We used to have a set at Chembur. Raj used to live in Thane. We used to come from Dadar to the set.
There’s a classmate of mine, Suhas Khandke, from NSD. He was also assisting in that film. It was produced by Manmohan Shetty and Pradeep Uppoor under a banner Neo Films, and directed by ad filmmaker Rabindra Dharmaraj. So Suhas took me to Neo Films office, and he just introduced me to some random boys in the company. He said, ‘for a particular role I am suggesting Satish. About acting, you don’t worry!’ That’s how I was taken in the film and my remuneration was Rs 500. I got so super excited that day. I went to the station and wanted to take the fast train. So, I jumped the track to go to the other side. Trains came from both the sides and people started shouting ‘marega, kya kar raha hai?’ But they did not know the level of my excitement. After I got off the track, I bought two bottles of cold drink. That’s how the journey of an actor is going to start, or maybe end! (laughs)
2. What do you remember of your first day on set?
Chakra was very interesting work. I went on the set and I was very new. I knew Naseer bhai from before. He saw me and told me, ‘Arey bhai, shooting dekhne aaye ho? I said nahi sir picture mein kaam kar raha hoon’.
I played one of the local rowdy boys. After I gave my first shot, Rajkumar Santoshi came to me and said ‘good actor yaar’. I said thank God at least someone said that!
3. Were you nervous? How many retakes did you take?
We didn’t know what’s nervousness that time. Coming from NSD, we just waited for the camera to start rolling so that we can deliver a great performance and people notice us. We knew if nothing, we will do good work at least. We trusted ourselves but never said this overtly. But we had that much confidence in front of the camera.
4. And who were your co-stars? How was the rapport with them when you got to meet or work with them again later?
Naseer and I later did a film called Aadharshila on which I was an assistant. He has always been a good friend. We even did theatre together. Then we also worked in Masoom. It was always great working with him. Even when we meet, we have a smile on our faces.
5. If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what’s that one thing you’d like to change or do better?
I wish there was more openness. In our times, everybody was slotted as a comedian, hero’s mother, hero’s sister-in-law, hero’s brother. When I came to commercial films, I got caught up in the image of a comedian. But there was so much more to explore inside, which eventually did come out in films like Brick Lane, Road, Udta Punjab, Lakshmi, Soorma. There is more to come.
6. One film or role that inspired you to become an actor?
Mehmood in Padosan. I was lucky enough to recreate that kind of role in Sajan Chale Sasural and I got the Filmfare Award also. That was a vital inspiration for me.