Sudhir Mishra remembers writing the dialogues of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro with Satish Kaushik
Satish Kaushik in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro
I was still in college when Satish (Kaushik) passed out of the National School of Drama (NSD). I arrived in Mumbai in 1982. We got together for the first time for Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, he as an actor and dialogue writer, and me as an assistant director and writer. We were like brothers; he was somewhat older.
His trajectory as a human being and a professional is amazing. The small parts he played prior to Mr India, where he also assisted Shekhar Kapur, turned his life around. He met Javed (Akhtar) saab. Satish and I were like younger brothers around Javed saab for a long time. [Despite] the kind of beginnings Satish had, over the course of his journey until recently, he would laugh at them in a self-deprecating way, with his own sense of humour. He would tell great stories of his past, not only being proud [of his work] as an actor and director but also in theatre.
Satish took life on the chin. If someone cracked a joke on him, he would add another joke at his own expense. He was emotional, but not the blackmailing kind. The most amazing thing about Satish was that he could do anything. He could take on any role, story or genre, and give it his own touch. [He expressed] his understanding of the project in its entirety. Be it Shekhar Kapur’s Mr India, a David Dhawan film, my Calcutta Mail, Dev Benegal’s Road, Movie, or Sarah Gavron’s Brick Lane — he was part of the films not because of his understanding of his character as an actor, but because of the overall medium.
Satish had an amazing sense of reality. Of course, he was a trained actor, having studied at the NSD, and came with a kind of repertoire, not to mention his skill set. You get a different Satish Kaushik with every project. [I will always remember] writing Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro together [with Satish] and creating characters like Taneja and Ahuja. Satish would come up with improvisations, like ‘dum aaloo, bam aaloo’. During the Mahabharat sequence, whenever Om Puri looked at Satish, he couldn’t help breaking into laughter. The sense with which Satish would describe everything, be it in film or general life, was unlike any other.