In the early ’80s, the typical Indian family would often huddle together to watch Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi on TV. Satish Shah, who played a pivotal role in the serial, had become a household name with his famous dialogue, “Mera thirty years ka experience hai!” Incidentally, Shah has just completed 30 years in the industry and proudly looks back on the years that shaped him as an actor.
One of the few actors who balanced comedy on both the big screen as well as the small, Shah believes things have changed over the past few years. “Earlier, there used to be a separate slot for comedians in Hindi films and actors like myself, Johnny Lever and Kader Khan portrayed the humorous roles. But in the past decade or so, we’ve witnessed a growing trend among the leading actors to make the audience laugh,” the 60-year-old notes.
Compared to films where typecasting is prevalent, Shah has been lately more active on TV. He admires the way comedy as a genre has received respect on it, “Stand-up comics are gaining momentum and I really enjoy watching some of them. Also, it’s nice to be part of something I’m truly good at.” But he prefers clean humour and doesn’t advocate below-the-belt jokes that test the audiences’ tolerance.
Averse to controversies, Shah blames “lack of ambition” on his part to secure meatier roles nowadays. “God has been kind to me as I’ve worked with some of the biggest names and I’m still in the business. More importantly, I’m peaceful and jolly as always. There’s no rush anymore and unlike my struggling days, I’m willing to wait for a role with substance,” Shah sums up.