Sharman Joshi on his latest film The Least of These, Mission Mangal, and stepping into the digital space

Seema Sinha

Apr 06, 2019 14:00:35 IST

Sharman Joshi has been part of two landmark films of Hindi cinema (both with Aamir Khan) - Rang De Basanti and 3 Idiots. While comedy has been his forte, the actor took everyone by surprise when he shed his funny guy image for erotic thrillers like Hate Story 3, 1920 London and Wajah Tum Ho. He went deeper into the serious space with 3 Storeys and Kaashi in Search of Ganga. His most recent work, The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story, an English language film revisits the life of an Australian missionary, Graham Staines. Staines, with his two sons, was burnt to death by members of the Bajrang Dal in Odisha on 23 January, 1999. Excerpts from a chat with the actor:

What attracted you to The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story?

I remember when the unfortunate incident happened in the 1990s. Everybody was moved with the huge tragedy. I was aware of the incident only through newspaper reports until I read the film’s screenplay. I found the script very compelling. Although the incident happened 30 years ago, unfortunately it is still relevant because extremism still exists. The film is a human drama and anyone can connect to it. I felt it is a story worth being a part of. It was also an exciting role. I play an investigative journalist named Manav Banerjee, and through his eyes, you see the journey of Graham Staines. There is a change of heart in Manav and how he gradually starts respecting Graham’s work. The biggest message the movie is sending out is that of love, forgiveness, tolerance and respect for each other.

Sharman Joshi on his latest film The Least of These, Mission Mangal, and stepping into the digital space

Film poster of The Least Of These. Facebook

What is your character like?

Mine is a fictional character and the facts are played in front of the audience. There are allegations of Graham converting people forcefully to Christianity. That intrigues the journalist and he feels that this is a major breakthrough that could land him a permanent job in the newspaper where he is interning. He follows the story and through his eyes you see what Graham actually did or  didn't do, what happened to him in the end, what judgement was passed by the courts. For me, the most exciting part of this project was collaborating with various talents across the globe in different capacities. We had an American-Indian producer, an Indian director, an Australian writer and some of my co-actors who happen to be from Hollywood. It was a great mix of talent.

You were appreciated for your comic roles but you later dabbled in erotic thrillers and serious dramas. What genre do you enjoy the most?

Actually, now I am bored of all the serious stuff that I have been doing off late. Now I want to do an out-and-out mad comedy. Variety is the spice of life and hence, I pick different genres. I have done all of that and now I would like to do three-to-four comedies and then go back to doing serious stuff.

You were seen only in the first part of the Golmaal series, Golmaal: Fun Unlimited, why not in the rest of the three instalments?

I am hoping to be in the future ones. I would be more than happy. I want to do many more comedies going further.

In Mission Mangal, you will be seen sharing screen space with Akshay Kumar for the first time. How is that going?

Mission Mangal is about India’s mission to Mars and it releases on Independence Day. It has been an honour to work in the film produced by.Akshay Kumar and R Balki. It’s my first with Akshay and it has been an absolute pleasure. The film has got a stellar cast of these talented and gorgeous ladies (Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari). There’s a group of eight scientists and I am also playing one of them. It is too early to say anything more.

You will be soon stepping into the digital space...

Yes, I will be debuting on the digital platform. I have a show with Ekta Kapoor called Baarish and we will start promoting it from the next month. It is a family drama.

What’s happening with the Tom Dick and Harry sequel?

It’s currently stuck due to some financial issues. It is a fine script, a comedy which I haven’t done in a long time now.

It was said that your career hit a roadblock after 3 Idiots?

Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost (laughs). No, I never felt that way. I wanted one film; I got two. I consider myself to be very fortunate. I wanted one more after that and I got five more. I wanted one film that can be called a cult film for which I will be remembered and I got two such films. I couldn’t have asked for more. 3 Idiots was a path-breaking film; the content was so unique. I have had a lovely journey. I started from theatre, found my way and my work spoke for itself with one thing leading to another. Films fell into my lap, I could do the work that I had set out to do.

Coming back to The Least of These, it seems to have got a very limited release. How will it be taken to the audience globally?

It is a limited release across the globe. It was released in the US last month and eventually we will have a bigger release in the US in the next few months. After the India release (on 29 March), we will have the release in South Africa and East Africa, thereafter in Australia in the following month and then in Europe and eventually back in America.

Updated Date: Apr 06, 2019 14:00:35 IST

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