Tusshar Kapoor on the Golmaal franchise, his character getting a voice, and being in adult comedies
Tusshar Kapoor kicked off his acting career in 2001 with the box-office hit Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai, where he starred opposite Kareena Kapoor. This was followed by a string of forgettable films barring a few multi-starrers and adult comedies. His career received a new lease of life with Golmaal — one of the highest grossing film franchises with its first installment releasing in 2006. In his unconventional role of a mute character, Tusshar managed to tickle the funny bone of many viewers and went on to build a large fan base for himself over the years. In this conversation, the actor talks about the stress involved in making his character work, the frustration of doing adult comedies, and finally, finding his voice in Golmaal Again.
You must be happy to finally get lines to deliver in Golmaal Again.
I always had the lines, I finally found the words! (laughs).
How did it happen?
It was Sajid-Farhad (the film's writers) and director Rohit Shetty’s idea. Together, they decided what and when my character will say and whether he loses his voice again. It goes with the story; the incident leading up to it unfolds in the film. I was stressed and wondering how this scene would pan out because my character Lucky has to be provoked enough and has to go a little crazy to get his voice back. I was pretty nervous while doing the scene.
But it was a good idea to bring in this new element because we have to keep re-inventing, and that is what makes the character and franchise memorable. In the first part, I played mute for the first time; I become a protective brother in the second; a rowdy, emotional character in the third part. And now, in the fourth one, I still have that mischievous streak along with the ability to speak. It was very stressful to match it up with what I did before and then add more to it. The third part was at another level, with the energy of all the actors and the performances, and I had to live up to the expectations. But that nervous energy is important, as it keeps you on your toes, keeps you challenged throughout, to make the character work.
Your co-star Arshad (Warsi) said he was always confident that your character will work.
Yes, he said this right at the beginning when we started the franchise over a decade ago. Arshad said, "Mark my words, this character will be a surprise packet." People like this character because of the space he gets to show his craziness, and that’s only because of my co-stars. They have never had an issue with letting my character steal the limelight in certain places. Ajay Devgn is the biggest star, but he is such a secure person. He gives freedom to every actor and lets their characters flourish. It also goes on to show how generous Arshad is. He is such a talented and comic hero on his own.
While some cast members changed, you have been a constant in the Golmaal series. Is it easy to slip back into the character of Lucky when you are doing a new film in the franchise?
The atmosphere is quite the same every time, so it’s not difficult slipping back into character. But every time we do Golmaal, Rohit (Shetty) gives us a new challenge. That is when it gets tough, because we have to better the previous performances we have given. But at the same time, some of the co-stars, the director and a lot of technicians are the same. The flavour and the culture of Golmaal remains the same, so that brings a lot of familiarity.
Some people associate you with adult comedies. You were an important part of the Kyaa Kool Hain Hum franchise and recently, an audience member at the Mumbai Film Festival mistakenly thought you were part of Great Grand Masti. Will you be attempting more adult comedies in the future?
I have never been embarrassed about being part of adult comedies, and some of those have really worked. Though I wasn’t part of the Masti franchise, I have done Kyaa Kool Hain Hum. Now is not the right time to make adult comedies despite there being huge audience for this genre, because of the stringent laws of the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification). Its mindset is debatable, but right now, there is lot of confusion which needs to be cleared.
But I am associated more often with Golmaal. Comedy is my forte, and if people like me doing these comedies, then I am fine if I get typecast or branded in that genre. But people do get confused and mix up me and Riteish because of Kya Kool Hai Hum.
I won’t be doing any more adult comedies till the laws permit us to. You put in lot of money, but the producer loses his investment, actors get frustrated whilst waiting for the release... Filmmakers do have a voice when they approach the FCAT (Film Certification Appellate Tribunal) but it is a long-drawn process. So it is better to do films like Golmaal where there is no stress and the full family can come and watch, even though Kyaa Kool Hain Hum is a very dear franchise to me. I hope it is rebooted and it comes alive again few years later.
Your debut film with Kareena Kapoor – Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai – was a big hit with you playing the male lead, but after that, your career slowed down. What you could have done differently to sustain your career as a lead hero?
I don’t know. After my debut film, I did make some mistakes. I didn’t live up to expectations and the performance I gave in my first film, which was a very sincere one. People probably felt that my performances weren't as intense and as well-enacted in the later films like Kyaa Dil Ne Kahaa. But Gaayab did open well and from Khakee onwards, I was back on track. I did few solo films and put in my best effort, but somehow things didn’t work out. I can’t analyse this, I can’t tell what went wrong. Shor in the City was an off-beat film and it was very close to my heart, but it didn’t get marketed well. Then, I expected a lot from Chaar Din Ki Chandni... But Golmaal has given me a lot of appreciation, which probably even a solo film wouldn’t have given me.