Veteran actor Paresh Rawal, known for his intense performances as well as flawless comedic timing, says his four-decade-long journey in the movies has taught him that it is necessary to be loyal to the character to deliver a good comedy.
Rawal, who has featured in landmark comedies like the 1994’s Andaz Apna Apna, Kamal Haasan-starrer Chachi 420 (1997) and Hera Pheri (2000), said an actor has to shed arrogance to give a convincing performance.
“You have to stay loyal to the character you’re playing. You can’t enter a set saying, ‘Today I’ll be the flag bearer of comedy, I’ll see who dares do it better than me.’ It’s a wrong notion to have, it’s damaging. You simply have to treat it like a character. Your situation, dialogues will do comedy. You don’t have to. Don’t sacrifice your character for the sake of laughter,” Rawal told PTI in an interview.
The 66-year-old actor has also been a part of some of the most memorable comedies in the last two decades, including Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal, Anees Bazmee-directed Welcome (2007) and the 2010 movie, Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? His association, particularly with filmmaker Priyadarshan, led to films like Hungama (2003), Hulchul (2004), Garam Masala (2005), Malamaal Weekly (2006) and Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007).
Rawal believes putting together a genuinely funny film takes the effort of the entire cast and crew.
“Comedy will never work in isolation. If I say in ‘Hera Pheri’ I was the best and Suniel Shetty, Akshay Kumar did nothing then no one is a bigger fool than me. Comedy is made out of everyone’s reactions, not just your actions.”
The actor, however, has his own set of rules while signing a comedy movie.
Rawal champions a certain “innocence in comedy”, which is why anything with sexual innuendos or a film that pulls down others doesn’t work for him.
“I loathe vulgar, double meaning comedies. Comedies which ridicule physical deformities are absolute filth. I stay away from that… But good comedy films are a demand of every era, every time. Whether it’s pre-COVID, during or post, it’s necessary to have good comedies.”
The actor has reunited with Priyadarshan for the upcoming, Hungama 2. The film, a sequel to the director’s 2003 hit comedy of the same name, is scheduled to be released on Disney+ Hotstar on July 23.
After a working relationship of over 20 years, Rawal said the duo has formed an incredible mutual trust. Priyadarshan knows what to extract from him and he is aware of how the filmmaker sees the world, the actor said.
“Filmmaking is a fragile area. Will the actor be able to deliver what the director wants? In this case, both of us know each other at a personal level. I know how he sees the world. We connect a lot. After pack-up, when we sit down to chat, I tell him about the plays I am doing and he shares about the kind of Malayalam films he is making. The evolution is continuous. The more you know a person, the more you respect them and see that the equation is never damaged.”
Most of the time, Rawal said he simply relies on a brief idea by Priyadarshan before doing a film. But sometimes, he said, it’s also about “never” saying no to a loved collaborator.
“Sometimes you don’t say no to some people. Never. Because even they’re putting their career and respect at stake so you (want to) be with them and support them. That’s how it should be.”
In Hungama 2, Rawal joins actors Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Meezaan, and Pranitha Subhash. It is a remake of Priyadarshan’s 1994 film Minnaram, starring Mohanlal.
With Hungama 2, in which Rawal plays an insecure husband opposite Shetty Kundra, the actor found the perfect project. He said he loved the film’s story as much as the thought of reuniting with Priyadarshan, almost a decade after their 2012 comedy, Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal.
“I love to work with good people, those who know how to do their job. Priyadarshan is a fantastic director, Ratan ji a good producer. The film also had a good storyline. If there’s an opportunity to do something new, there’s always that greed and temptation to attempt it. The package deal of all these factors is what makes me do a project,” he added.
A Venus Records and Tapes LLP project, Hungama 2 is also produced by Ganesh Jain, Chetan Jain, and Armaan Ventures. It is scheduled to premiere on July 23 on Disney+ Hotstar.