For someone who's famous for his funny roles in Bollywood, actor Paresh Rawal strikes you as being rather serious. And he takes his job of making people laugh rather seriously too. He believes that humour should evoke a realisation, and not just a giggle. And that's what he seeks to do in all his films at plays. The actor who's returned to Gujarati theatre after a long 16 years talks to CS about being on stage:
Who: Paresh Rawal
What: Talking about the lack of logic in today's entertainment
Where: At his Juhu office
In a mood to inter-act
There comes a point in your career when you want to say something to people and society at large. I do that through my plays, because I'm not otherwise very communicative. Theatre has always been my first love -- a medium that has helped me experiment with different subjects, unlike films. For instance, only theatre can give me a chance to essay an Anton Chekhov character, because such films aren't made in Bollywood. I'm glad that till now I've been able to make time for both cinema and theatre because I know many actors who haven't. Whenever I meet Omji (Om Puri), he tells me that he really wants to do theatre but he just can't make the time for it.
I'm having a good time acting in the play Krishan vs Kanhaiya because it isn't all about mindless comedy. Somewhere, it also evokes a realisation in you. And that's what true humour is -- something that makes you laugh and gets you thinking the next minute. The late film-maker Vijay Anand always managed to strike that balance. His films were entertaining, yet not nonsensical. But there are so many films being made these days that have no element of logic to them. For instance, you don't need to tax your brains at all while watching films like Dabangg and Singham. And we can be in a mood for those kind of films sometimes, like when we're travelling in a video coach. But that doesn't mean that you don't need to make intelligent films.
Time to get thinking
Indians are an intelligent lot; most of us grow up on literature like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Unfortunately, reading has now taken a backseat, and TV, the most regressive source of entertainment, is hogging a lot of our time. Sadly, we actors are not in a position to bring about a wave of change. An actor is nothing - he's just someone who's been hired to perform a particular function and get out. But I find it fulfilling when I'm able to give a new dimension to a character, something that didn't strike the director or the script writer. But, I know that I can't burden the role with what I know about life and philosophy. I just have to understand it and relate to it.