Riteish Deshmukh on Bank Chor, upcoming Shivaji Maharaj biopic and joining politics
Riteish Deshmukh has a mind which is an amalgamation of both creative pursuits and commercial considerations.
When I meet the actor at Yash Raj Studios, its apparent that the only thing currently occupying his mind is the upcoming biopic of Shivaji Maharaj. Riteish is like a child and the excitement is palpable when he shows me a working poster of the upcoming biopic.
There is still time till the biopic goes on floors but it’s his upcoming release Bank Chor that gets him grinning. The promotion pattern adopted by the makers of Bank Chor is refreshing, but an endearing aspect of Deshmukh is his ability to laugh at himself, something not usual for Bollywood stars.
So where does it comes from? “I was born into a family that was already into politics and every time there someone said uncomplimentary things, we were expecting it. You just have to smile and move ahead,” he explains.
The streak of comic hits that Deshmukh has delivered over the years has brought to forefront his comic timing. So has he cracked the formula? “Any good comedy scene will always have two selfless actors and when you think of the other person more than yourself in a comic situation, the scene always turns out to be better. I have observed this and implemented this often,” he says.
Bank Chor marks Riteish Deshmukh’s entry into the YRF fold, albeit his first film with Y-Films, the yuppie and unconventional offshoot of the banner. He plays a bumbling idiot who makes plan of robbing a bank along with his two equally dumb associates. The promotional campaign saw some innovations, which was not seen before.
One such event was a roast where Deshmukh gave his consent to be grilled by scribes. “I personally don’t like abusive jokes. If it's about my ugly look, my terrible acting potential, my monkey like appearance, my career then one is free to go all out about these things, but the roast should stop at people who are dear to me. I am not a fan of such roasts. Try roast people in a way so that even kids are able to hear it and enjoy it.”
He's been part of successful films like Tujhe Meri Kasam, Bluffmaster and Ek Villain in the past, which weren't comedies, but he's most recognised for his comic timing. “You reach a point where you decide to do something different and then you sign Banjo, but it did not work at the box office. Then I thought of doing a different kind of humour with Bangistan in the satire space, but there too we failed. I was part of an extremely serious film called Rann based on journalism and that too was a failure. I really thanked God after Ek Villain worked, as it’s my only serious film that has worked till date," elaborates Deshmukh.
He is gracious enough to admit that he is not known for his action though Lai Bhari proved otherwise. Deshmukh is happy that he is getting such opportunities in Marathi cinema. “As an actor I am not at a loss,” he says, as a mark of consolation.
Talking about Marathi cinema, Riteish is extremely excited about the role of Shivaji he will soon be donning. He was in two minds about going for prosthetics for the role but a conversation with a reigning superstar brought stability to his dual mind. The actor will shoot for the film sans prosthetics now. “I was told by him to be just myself as he was of the opinion that people should feel Shivaji in the eyes of the actor.”
The politics question has been posed to the actor time and again, and this time too there is no exception considering his political lineage. Riteish is someone who loves politics and remains fully aware of all political developments across the country. “It was never a no-no from day one. How can I say no when I love it? Am I pursuing it right now? No,” clarifies Riteish.