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Riteish Deshmukh: ‘Used to rush into comedy, I don’t do that now’

Updated on: 11 July,2024 06:18 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Letty Mariam Abraham |

Trading his funnyman image to front the medical thriller Pill, Riteish says he seeks ‘thehrav’ in his work today as an actor-director

Riteish Deshmukh: ‘Used to rush into comedy, I don’t do that now’


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Riteish Deshmukh: ‘Used to rush into comedy, I don’t do that now’

It’s not easy to shed the image you’ve built over years, but Riteish Deshmukh is steadily doing it. The actor, who shines in comedies, has chosen a hard-hitting thriller, Pill, for his web series debut. Did his desire to steer away from comedies draw him to the JioCinema offering? Not at all. What appealed to him was how director Raj Kumar Gupta trained his lens on the healthcare industry. “People in India see medicine and mandir ka prasad in the same light. We’ve all read about [unethical practices in the pharmaceutical industry], and most companies will pay people to keep it hidden. I’m glad that Raj and Ronnie Screwvala [producer] thought it is important to reflect on this issue,” he says.

Pill is the actor’s maiden web series
Pill is the actor’s maiden web series

Be it No one Killed Jessica (2011) or Raid (2018), Gupta often marries real-life events and fiction. The actor says that here too, the director has blended elements of a thriller and courtroom drama to weave a fictional tale of a deputy medicine controller, who raises his voice against a pharma giant and his seniors for rolling out a drug with grave side-effects.

“Raj [doesn’t just] give you a thriller; he also shows you the process. In Raid, he depicted the entire process of how a raid is conducted. Similarly, here, he shows the way in which my character and his team [expose the nexus]. We are used to exaggerated drama, but we’ve kept it as real as possible.” Working with the director took him back to his school days, he jokes. “The climax was a 10- to 12-page scene. [Prepping for it] reminded me of school days when I’d stay up nights [to study]. In the morning, I gave the shot in one take,” he smiles.

With a 21-year career behind him, Deshmukh is more assured of what he wants as an artiste today. While he ventured into direction with Ved (2022), he maintains that acting is his top priority. He finds joy in exploring different genres and refining his craft. “I want a bit of thehrav in whatever I do. Comedy needs timing, but I want to explore different facets. Earlier, I would rush into comedy, but I don’t do that now. After my directorial venture, I have only worked on two projects.”

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