Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha is all set to hit the screens on September 28. The film, which stars TV actor Radhika Madan and Dangal girl Sanya Malhotra in the lead roles, will also see Sunil Grover as Dipper Naradmuni. In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, Sunil gets candid about Pataakha, Vishal Bhardwaj and his stints on television.
Q. We see a different Sunil Grover in the film. Tell us something about the brief given to you by Vishal Bharadwaj.
It is a film. A different medium for me. I haven’t explored much. I feel happy and lucky to have got the chance to work with him. The kind of cinema he has made, the stories he chose and the treatment, its intriguing. Pataakha’s journey was enriching and when you work with a profound director like Vishal Bhardwaj, it’s a pleasure and a great feeling.
Q. I read being this character was not a task for you. Is it true?
My character by nature is naughty, which comes naturally to me. But because the medium was different, how much am I suppose to offer was a constant pressure on my mind. On television, we don’t think much. Here, on the silver screen, you are also telling a story simultaneously. So, there is a pressure to not look like an attention seeker or trying to be over unnecessarily. So, you have to be calculative in your head. It was new for me. A fresh learning. One comfort that I had was, it was Vishal who was directing me. So, I surrendered myself. He would tell me that Sunil do your thing I will tell you if you go overboard or need to go over.
Q. Was the portrayal of women in the film a shocker for you?
I think when two sisters are fighting, swear words are very normal. It wasn’t a shocker but cute in a way. And it’s a Vishal Bharadwaj film, these swear words are nothing. You must have seen Omkara and his other work. This can be watched with family. There is nothing abusive or offensive.
Q. How is Vishal Bharadwaj as a director?
I have always been his fan. I’m lucky to have got to work with him. He knows what he is doing and enjoys it. He’s an artist. He is a poet and whatever he wants to write, it’s his expression. You can be his paper and pen but not his thoughts.
Q. We often see you coming back to television as Dr. Mashoor Gulati, Gutthi and Rinku Bhabhi. So, can we say you do not want to leave them behind?
These characters have made me what I am. People know me because I was Gutthi, Rinku Bhabhi or Mashoor Gulati. People love them, I think. Even now, whenever I am traveling, people call me “oye Gulati saab” or they’d be like “Gutthiji” even if I am wearing normal clothes. I’m not surprised when they do that. These are the characters that are a part of me. I don’t want to leave them.
Q. Do you miss the good old days of your comedy show on Sony? Will there be ever a comedy show as popular as that?
I don’t know. I’m so busy with films. Right now, the focus is to work this out. For me, the energies are focused here. Let’s see what I do next, once this wraps up.
There’s always been a better person. I love the song “Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar Hoon, Pal Do Pal Meri Kahaani Hai, Pal Do Pal Meri Hashti Hai, Pal Do pal me mijaani hai.”
Basically, there will be more who will be better at it. The song very beautifully describes the rule of the nature that change has to come and for good.
Q. You have been a part of the industry since a long time. However, do you think that recognition is coming your way much later in life?
It’s a journey. For me, it’s always been about the experience. I have experienced the journey of longing for this, working towards this, self-doubting, failing and again getting up thinking I should work harder. These things, I think I wouldn’t have been able to experience all these feelings if success came my way much earlier in life. You are incomplete if you haven’t experienced all these emotions. I feel lucky that I’ve felt every emotion.
Q. How do you tackle the love and hatred that comes your way?
I feel both are very basic emotions of being a human. I believe 90% of hatred is out of innocence. People do not even recognise what they are doing. Sometimes we don’t know what we are saying. Maybe after few years, this person will realise what is it. I welcome both the emotions, be it love or hatred. I’m also not a saint. I have mood swings. I have anger too. But I just embrace these feelings and let go.
Q. You are also working with Ali Abbas Zafar. How was it working with Ali?
His take on filmmaking is different. Both (Vishal and Ali) are profound filmmakers. That’s a Salman Khan film. The whole mechanism is different.
Q. Salman Khan’s Bharat is yet another project. What can Sunil Grover fans expect out of it?
A lot of entertainment and a great story. It doesn’t matter if I am a part of it or not, it’s a Salman Khan film. What matters is that I am really enjoying this.
Q. Your photos from the sets made us curious. Would you like to tell the story behind it?
Umm, I would just say the value of diamond is recognised by a jeweller only. So, Salman is that jeweler who saw something in me and wanted to capture it.