Sunil Grover on Pataakha: Only motive behind working with Vishal Bhardwaj was to be seen as an 'actor'
Sunil Grover talks about working with Vishal Bhardwaj in Pataakha, his popular TV character Dr Mushoor Gulati, and whether he will reunite with Kapil Sharma.
After having made characters like Gutthi and Dr Mashoor Gulati household names through his comedy show, Sunil Grover has finally taken the big leap. Though the comedian has done bit roles in films in past, Vishal Bhardwaj's Pataakha could truly be considered his baptism in Bollywood. “Does that mean all that I have done in the past holds no significance. It’s just a journey and this would not have been possible without the previous one. I had done plays during my school and college days. I also went to a drama school, did voiceover in advertising and finally did television. They all had a role to play in my growth. I would rather say that this is the beginning of a new chapter.”
According to the actor, his selection for the role of Dipper Naradmuni in Pataakha was pretty organic. As per the actor, the entire process was as simple as getting a call from Bhardwaj. It often happens with actors who work in a Vishal Bhardwaj film that they are later rewarded with the tag of an actor. Saif Ali Khan in Omkara in Shahid Kapoor for Kaminey remain some shining examples. “That’s precisely why I was on the lookout for an opportunity to work with him. It was only to be tagged as an actor. I think he knows how to get the maximum out of somebody. He treats his actors just like paintings and pays a great amount of attention on the look of every actor in the film," says Sunil. He adds that the biggest quality of the director is the fact that he often leaves his actor the way they want to be.
Currently, Grover remains arguably the best comedian in the country. But that implies he also runs the risk of being slotted as a comedia, a la Govinda. “Firstly, I don’t even feel like making any effort to come out of this image. If anyone were to see my potential, he will give me work. I feel that I am versatile and can handle things in different ways. I had done a film called Gabbar is Back and it had no scene which required me to do comedy. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who had produced the film, had faith in me. It was me who had asked him thrice if they were sure of my casting," says Sunil. He adds that it is an extremely difficult job to make other laugh. “I really fail to comprehend the fact that why serious roles are considered the real test for someone who is well-versed in comedy.” He admits that initially, he too thought on similar lines but it was only four or five years ago that he started questioning his own thought process. “Making others laugh is no mean task. If you are on stage and no one is laughing on your jokes tab aapki kaan se dhuaan nikaal jaata hai (then you get pissed). This sort of perception building often comes from media. If a serious role comes my way, I will definitely do it because it’s a part of my journey but at the same time, there is no desperation inside me to change my image. I feel thankful to God for giving me the skill to make others laugh.”
Sunil's most recent claim to fame is the character of Dr Mashoor Gulati. “He is more of a person who considers himself superior. He is actually good for nothing and despite being aware of his shortfall, he will never accept his shortcoming. Gulati is someone who has zero credentials and hears conversations of pseudo intellectuals and pass it on to others as if they are his own thoughts,” explains Sunil.
Last year, the comedian was much in news because of the mid-air scuffle with fellow comedian Kapil Sharma while travelling back home after having done a streak of shows in Australia. So has he forgiven Kapil Sharma? The actor takes a long pause before answering the question. “Who am I to forgive him. I don’t have any ill will towards Kapil, and my only wish is that he remains healthy and happy. We have done some great work in the past. I am not some great man to forgive him and I should forgive him for what,” he says. Lastly, if given an opportunity, will he work with Kapil again? His reply is evasive again but not when read between the lines. “Right now, I am busy with my film assignments. I don’t know what’s my plan for future. Only God knows what’s in store in future, I have no clue."
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