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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

OMG Oh My God the film is spicier than the play: Paresh Rawal

Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Bollywood Hungama   September 27, 2012
First Published: 12:06 IST(27/9/2012) | Last Updated: 13:07 IST(28/9/2012)
It's not easy tracking down Paresh Rawal for an interview. The man doesn't really believe in tom-toming about his work and would rather let his work do all the talking.

However, this Friday (September 28), it's raining Rawal at the B.O. as the veteran actor is seen in not one but two big releases- OMG! Oh My God and Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal. Usually one to shy away from interviews, he is making an exception for his latest film OMG! Oh My God as it's a project very close to his heart. The film not only features him as the main protagonist but he has also co-produced the film with Akshay Kumar. Rawal has already done over 500 shows of the play 'Kanji Viruddh Kanji' (Gujarati) and over 150 shows of 'Kishen vs Kanhaiya' (Hindi) - on which OMG! Oh My God is based and is now confident that like the play, the film too will find an audience. Bollywood Hungama's Nikhil Ramsubramaniam managed to chat up with the supremely talented actor Paresh Rawal on OMG! Oh My God, Kamaal Dhamaal Malaamaal and much more. Read on…

You've been MIA (Missing in Action) for a long time and now have 2 films releasing on the same day OMG! Oh My God and Kamaal Dhamaal Malaamaal …how does it feel?
It's definitely an exciting feeling. I am more excited about OMG! Oh My God because the subject is very close to my heart and moreover it's my first home production.

Speaking of OMG! Oh My God, the film is based on your super-hit play 'Kanji Viruddh Kanji' and 'Kishen Vs Kanhaiya', how much have you changed from the play to film?
A lot of things have been changed from the play to the film keeping the different medium in mind. There have been some changes made in the screenplay. Of course the basic storyline remains the same but the people who have seen the play will find the film different in terms of new characters, new actors, new situations etc Since play is more a medium of words there are some restrictions but when it comes to a film, it's a visual medium, so with the help of camera, you can create a lot of situations. Overall I feel the film has turned out to be spicier than the play.

For the benefit of those who haven't seen the play can you give a brief character sketch of your character Kanjibhai
Kanjibhai is a non-believer in God. His thinking is radically different from the conventional patterns of society. There is a certain kind of pain in his heart because of which he thinks and acts the way he does. He has no basis to believe otherwise but all this is said and depicted in a very humorous and thrilling format.

After having performed the same character countless times on stage without re-takes, was it easier to play it on big screen?
Obviously its easier because you have the option of re-takes in film but what makes it interesting is that we have a different set of actors in the film so it was fun interacting with them. Acting is nothing but reacting, so if your co-stars react in a particular way, it does affect your acting as well. The basic core emotions remain the same but the way you express it is a bit different in a play and on the big screen.

You've worked with Akshay in 34 films but this is probably the first time that you are playing the lead role and Akshay the supporting part.
Actually I don't look at it that way. I don't believe in terminologies like lead role or supporting role or cameo role etc. Every actor who has been cast in the film has a clearly defined and well-etched role. Not just Akshay but even Mithun Chakraborty, Govind Namdeo etc. have superb roles in the film.

You have even co-produced the film with Akshay…how has been that experience?
It's been a very nice experience. Both Akshay and I are transparent people who believe in honest, clear dealings with people. We both didn't really have the time to look into the day to day affairs of production but there was a high level of mutual trust and understanding. I was fortunate to have my business partner of many years- Hemal Thakkar who helped a great deal in production under our banner Playtime Creation. We've produced many TV serials but this is the first film we've produced with Akshay's company Grazing Goat Productions.

Both the play and the film have been written by Bhavesh Mandalia and directed by Umesh Shukla. The play has some really clever and brilliant lines. Tell us more about these two guys Bhavesh and Umesh.
Bhavesh is a 28 year old boy and the way he has written the script is unbelievably powerful for someone of his age. As for Umesh Shukla, I've known him since 1985. He is a well-known name in theatre and has even directed one film for UTV before this called Dhoondte Reh Jaoge with Sonu Sood, Kunal Khemu, Soha Ali Khan and myself.

The film is releasing with the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities at its peak. Seems like a perfect timing for the release of such a film…
It's just a coincidence. I believe that there is no specific day or time or place to pray to God and that is what even the film tries to convey.

Religion is a touchy issue in India, yet the play has been running successfully for so many years without any problem. What do you attribute this to?
That's because the script has been written so cleverly that everything has been taken care of. A lot of religious heads of various religious institutions have seen the play and loved it. It's not hurting the sentiments of anyone or any religion, it just questions whether what we do in the name of God or religion is right or wrong?

As a person in real life, are you a god-loving person or a god-fearing person?
I just believe in goodness yaar. Karam Achche Karo aur Achcha Insaan Bano Bas.

Usually actors start off with theatre and then move on to doing films but you seem to be still very active on the theatre front? Does it give you a bigger high than films?
Yes it does because theatre is an actor's medium. It's very challenging too as there are no re-takes and you are acting in front of a live audience so that's definitely a bigger high.

Coming to your other film Kamaal Dhamaal Malaamaal, you've done some of your best work with Priyadarshan be it Hera Pheri, Hungama, Hulchul, Garam Masala, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Malamaal Weekly etc…what can we expect this time around?
The only reason I did this film was because I was getting to work with Priyadarshan again. We've had a long association and have done over 17 films together. I like working with him but as far as my role is concerned in this film I am not that excited about it. There should be something in the role which challenges me. Doing something which I can easily do doesn't excite me anymore.

How was it working with so many talented actors all of whom are good at comedy?
It was good fun working with Om Puriji, Nana, Shreyas, Neeraj Vora etc. We had quite a blast on the sets. I always enjoy shooting for all my films.

Finally what are your forthcoming projects?
I am currently shooting for Sajid Khan's Himmatwala. I am enjoying working on this film. It's completely slapstick and over-the-top. After all, it's a Sajid Khan film so you know what to expect. To call it hamming would be an understatement but I am enjoying my time on the sets. Sajid is a wonderful person and its also great re-uniting again with Ajay Devgn with whom I've done many films in the past as well.
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