April 14, 2024

Vinay Pathak: I feel embarrassed to be compared with Farooq Sheikh and Amol Palekar, their prowess is unmatched – Exclusive | Hindi Movie News


Vinay Pathak has carved a special place in the hearts of his fans with his closer-to-life portrayals in the movies. Over the years, he has delivered some exceptional performances as an actor in films like ‘Dasvidaniya’, ‘Bheja Fry’, ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’, ‘Johnny Gaddaar’, ‘Manorama Six Feet Under’ and so many more. He is now one of the narrators of Zee Theatre’s curated collection of dramatic readings, ‘Koi Baat Chale’ that presents Munshi Premchand’s classic tales ‘Idgah’ and ‘Gulli Danda’.
In an exclusive interview with ETimes, Vinay spoke about his special connection to ‘Idgah’, what connects his audience to him, being compared to icons like Farooq Sheikh and Amol Palekar, and more. Excerpts…

You will be bringing Munshi Premchand’s classic tales to life. How does it feel?

I have grown up reading ‘Idgah’ and this is a story that reminds me of my own childhood and the many different stages of my life. I always recited and narrated stories in school and at home as well, so to do so professionally was very exciting. Reading it for Zee Theatre’s ‘Koi Baat Chale’ was both nostalgic and a very fulfilling experience.

Vinay Pathak (2)

You must have a special connection with Idgah…

Yes, as I said, I have grown up with this story and read it in school and college, and it has always touched me on a deep, emotional level because of its innocence and the values of love, empathy, and generosity. It speaks without really moralising. The story also has a very special place in my heart, as just like Hamid, I was very close to my grandmother.

On the one hand, we are making films high on technology and VFX, while on the other, we are trying to hold on to our roots through these classic tales. How do you look at the Indian entertainment industry as an actor today?

I think of it as a very versatile, diverse, exciting, and thrilling creative world where there are limitless ways to tell a good story.

You have very successfully created a niche for yourself with closer-to-life portrayals in movies. What is it that really connects you to the audience?

I guess the stories I select are part of this journey and of the connection I seem to have forged with the audience. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of some very exciting stories on screen, and on stage. A good story, I believe, has no weak characters, so when you get that bit right, the process of etching a memorable character becomes very organic.

Bollywood (2)

You have often been compared to actors such as Farooq Sheikh and Amol Palekar. How do you react to these compliments?

I feel embarrassed, to be honest. The two stalwarts you’ve mentioned are the giants of their crafts, and their prowess is unmatched. Being compared to them does not make sense to me at all, but I do feel privileged and happy, to say the least.

You have given some outstanding performances in films such as ‘Dasvidaniya’, ‘Bheja Fry’, ‘Chalo Dilli’, and many others. Which is the one film that is closest to your heart, and why?

There are so many, and it’s really difficult and unfair to name just one! I try to make the story of each character come alive, and when, as an actor, you succeed in bringing relatability to a role and it works in the larger scheme of things, it’s very gratifying. My roles in films like ‘Dasvidania’, ‘Bheja Fry’, ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’, ‘Johnny Gaddar’, ‘Chalo Dilli’, ‘Chintu Ka Birthday’, and ‘Gour Hari Dastan’ have given me immense satisfaction. On stage as well, I have loved working in Rajat Kapoor’s many directorials, including C for Clown, Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth.

After spending more than two decades in this industry, is there anything you still wish to achieve as an actor?

Yes, I would like to keep learning the art of being relevant in stories of every kind and genre and the craft of telling stories for as long as I can.

You have not been game for commercial cinema in your career. Why is that?

How do I answer that? However, would you say that ‘Aaja Nach Le’, ‘Johnny Gaddar’ , ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ and ‘Badlapur’ were not mainstream films? But yes, I have worked more extensively in theatre and middle of the road films. For me, a good film is a good film beyond the labels we impose upon it and if it has a substantial role for me, I am more than happy to work in it.

Out of all the actors you have worked with so far, who has been an absolute delight?

Once again, there are so many names. I’ve enjoyed working with all my co-actors and have learned so much from all of them. But I must reserve a special mention for Shri Om Puri. My first ever acting job on camera was with him, and he was beyond wonderful. And he taught me so many things, including how to make delicious ‘aloo-baingan’. He was the best teacher of the craft without deliberately teaching it. I spent many months with him on my first project and imbibed so much about so many things because that’s how he was. He was generous, kind, brave, and lionhearted in everything he did. I miss him dearly.

The Telugu industry recently made us immensely proud by bagging honours on a global stage. What are your thoughts on it, and how inspirational do you find it as an actor?

It’s a great feat. We should always strive to do work that’s challenging and breaks new ground. My best wishes to the makers of ‘RRR’.

What does 2023 have in store for Vinay Pathak?

Theatre, cinema, new shows, and lots of travel. What more could one ask for?

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