Arshad Warsi on Fraud Saiyaan, why comedy is tiring and being referred to as an 'underrated' actor
Though Arshad has been part of two extremely successful comedy franchises – Munna Bhai and Golmaal series — he has proved, more than once, that he can hold his own even in the most intense roles.
Arshad Warsi is looking all excited and raring to go. 2019 has begun very well for him. After enjoying the holidays in Paris with his family, he has landed home with a crazy work schedule. Coming up next is Prakash Jha production’s Fraud Saiyaan (18 January), a complete comedy where he plays a trickster who marries many women and lives off them. Known for his great comic timing, Arshad instantly comes up with a 'disclaimer' for the film: “While watching the film please don’t try this stunt at home (laughs out loud). Just get entertained and go home.”
The year looks promising as Arshad will be next seen in the multi-starrer Total Dhamaal (with Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit), the third film in the Dhamaal series, releasing in February. Next he starts shooting for Anees Bazmee’s Pagalpanti with John Abraham and Ileana D'cruz which goes on until April-end, in London. Further, he is headlining an upcoming web series, Asura, which co-stars Barun Sobti and will be released on Voot. “It’s a murder mystery, a psychological thriller. I play a forensic scientist and it also has mythology in it. It’s a great script and I couldn’t say no,” he said.
It’s quite rare to see Arshad in the lead role (in Fraud Saiyaan), but that’s not something that drove him to take the film. “I do films if I like the script. The number of heroes in the film doesn't matter. Secondly, a comedy coming from Prakash Jha is like being in an altogether different space because he usually makes very issue-based films. I was surprised that someone has written a film like this,” said Arshad.
This brings us to the “underrated" tag that follows the talented actor. One has also seen him getting replaced by Akshay Kumar in the sequel to Subhash Kapoor’s 2013 comedy Jolly LLB and post that Arshad starred in several forgettable films, including Welcome 2 Karachi (2015), Guddu Rangeela (2015), The Legend of Michael Mishra (2016), Irada (2017) and most recently, Bhaiaji Superhit (2018). But the description does not bother the 50-year-old actor anymore. “I don’t care [about] being called underrated. I have been the same for so many years, there has been no change in me. I feel life is way bigger and important than success and failure. It’s just a passing phase, they come and go,” said Arshad.
Though Arshad has been part of two extremely successful comedy franchises – Munna Bhai and Golmaal series — he has proved, more than once, that he can hold his own even in the most intense roles. Take, for instance, the crime drama Sehar and Abhishek Chaubey’s black comedy Ishqiya (2010), alongside Naseeruddin Shah and Vidya Balan. He may have gotten boxed into comedy probably because he began his career with one, but Arshad enjoys all genres equally. “Comedy requires lot of energy, it tires you. It is not that I prefer drama but I do so much comedy that when I do little bit of drama I enjoy it. Now it is kind of balanced since I am playing this very serious, mature and an older person in the web series,” he says.
After displaying his flair for comedy in a number of movies in his 22-year-old career, one of the challenges for Arshad has always been to avoid getting repetitive.
“If an actor gets repetitive with comedy then it ceases to look funny. I only do comedy that is required in a film, which is very character based. So Fraud Saiyaan’s ‘Bhola’ will be different from ‘Circuit’ of Munna Bhai films, and there won’t be any hint of 'Madhav' (his character name in Golmaal) in any of my other films,” said Arshad.
Recently, Arshad had commented that it bothers him when big films fail. Considering that some of the big-budget films with huge stars failed at the Box office last year, Arshad, who has shared screen space with almost every A-lister, said, “It is sad because when you are a big star you have the facility to get the best scripts, directors, crew... everything. Even if the film is not very good, it should not be a disaster. It cannot reach that level at all but when it becomes a disaster then there is a problem. So I would like it if big stars are more responsible (in choosing a project) because when a big film flops it affects the entire industry,” he concludes.
Bhediya is presented by Jio Studios and Vijan's Maddock Films.
Produced by Dinesh Vijan, Bhediya will release in cinemas in April 2022
After Shershaah, Sidharth Mahotra and Karan Johar's Dharma Productions to reunite for action film franchise Yodha
The first part of Dharma Productions' first action franchise Yodha will release in cinemas on 11 November, 2022.